When Radha Bhatia sat down to write a book on lassis in India, she wanted to reach out to the younger generation that raves about smoothies and detests Indian drinks. Little did she know that the book, Lassis of India — Smoothies With a Twist, would win an award for non-alcoholic drinks at the 25th Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2020, bringing the world’s gaze to this side of Indian cuisine.
The book is a compilation of 74 recipes curated by Bhatia, which include traditional recipes from different states of India to modern-day smoothies. Bhatia says the book is not just a compilation of recipes, but more a grandmother’s labour of love. It includes five generations of stories, wisdom and kitchen secrets. The book is an amalgamation of recipes and stories, and she has undergone extensive research that explores Indian cultural roots, local customs, climate, and cuisines, featuring a compilation of 17 traditional recipes from various states, blending local food with climate. The traditional recipes comprise the ever-popular Punjabi ‘meethi lassi’ to the ‘talicha more’ of Tamil Nadu, each having unique taste and health benefits.
Bhatia says the idea about compiling a book on lassis in India came to her one Sunday afternoon while sitting with her grandchildren. “When I asked them about lassi, they were not very enthusiastic. But when I told them that they were no different from smoothies, they were immediately interested. I thought it was time to introduce them to our heritage and traditions, through the medium of our healthy beverages, and at the same time revive our legacy, by writing this book and introducing the healthy food of herbs, vegetables and fruits.”
She says the award would make people the world over aware of India’s food culture. “Our cuisine is an integral part of our rich and diverse heritage. However, people’s exposure to Indian cuisine is restricted to a few dishes made popular by Indian restaurants overseas. They are not aware of the plethora of different cuisines that are actually integral to the different parts of the sub-continent, each based on the climatic conditions and ingredients readily available there. A global award is a step towards global recognition of the taste and diversity of Indian cuisine,” she says, hoping that the book will be her legacy for the new generation. — TNS
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