Arabs call it ‘Laban’, Indians call it ‘Lassi’, Persians call it ‘Doogh’, and Turks call it ‘Ayran’; either way, its a cool refreshing yoghurt drink to replenish all the water and salt the body needs in the usually hot weather in such countries. Although the cold weather in the UK seems to be lingering for far too long at the moment.
If you’re used to the sweet Indian drink ‘lassi’ then laban will be different, which is only flavoured by the slight addition of salt and mint if desired. Laban usually complements kebabs very well, providing a cool refreshing satiating drink, balancing the heat and the smokiness of the barbecue goods. It may take some getting used to if you try it for the first time, but for me it’s been a great satisfying companion since childhood. This drink certainly reminds me of those days, especially when we had to endure temperatures as high as 45°C in a class full of 40 students with no electricity! When you get salt marks on your clothes that’s a good indication that you need lots of salt and water, hence laban. Oh, I would almost finish a whole jug in one ago after coming back from school. Good old days!
No extreme heat here in the UK, but still I crave laban every now and then, even if we didn’t have a barbecue. My doctor has even told me to consume more fluid and salt, due to my low blood pressure, so what better excuse to have a glass of laban.
Laban – Yoghurt drink – Makes 1 litre
- 1 cup, 250 ml, thick yoghurt (you can use low fat too)
- 3 cups, 750 ml, water (or carbonated water)
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint, optional
- OR 1 teaspoon dried mint, optional
- Ice cubes, to serve.
Add the yoghurt to a large bowl and slowly add some of the water, whisking to loosen the yoghurt. Add the remaining water, salt and mint (if using) and blend thoroughly until there are no apparent lumps. Pour into a jug, add ice cubes and serve.
Notes: The ratio of yoghurt to water in entirely optional. For a low-fat thin yoghurt you can use one part water to yoghurt. You can also do the same with a thicker type of yoghurt to get a creamier drink. The choice and preference is all yours. Enjoy!