Nostalgia is the driving force behind so many recipes. It’s a powerful emotion that runs deep within all of us, connecting us to long-ago memories and letting us relive moments of the past that would otherwise be forgotten. For me, there’s no better way to experience nostalgia than through food. And that’s exactly how this mango lassi popsicle recipe came into my life.
There’s a part of Houston that is home to all my favorite Indian shops—it covers clothing, jewelry, specialty grocery stores, and restaurants. Every few weeks, my mom would drive my brother and I there to pick up the essentials. Bulk spices, rice and flours in bags that were almost as big as we were, her favorite vegetables from India, and cartons of Indian desserts for my dad to snack on after dinner. Our reward for being somewhat patient while my mom shopped? A tall glass of mango lassi when we stopped for lunch.
My love for mangoes runs deep. Everyone on Team Camille Styles knows my obsession for the fruit is basically a personality trait. When summer rolls around, I’m trying to eat as many mangoes as I can in as many ways as possible. While I love blending up mangoes and yogurt to make mango lassis, sometimes for summer, I like to mix things up a bit. And what screams summer more than popsicles? Enter: this mango lassi popsicle recipe.
What goes into a mango lassi?
First, a few important logistics. When my mom made mango lassis for us growing up, she just tossed mangos, yogurt, a little milk, and some spices into a blender. Sometimes, if it was an extra hot Texas summer day, she would throw in a little ice. But other than that, the ingredients stay pretty simple. And y’all know my philosophy when it comes to recipes with very few ingredients: quality matters!
If you can find them, ripe and juicy Alphonso mangos work best. Otherwise, whatever mango variety you can get at the store will work. You can absolutely use frozen mangos, just thaw them and drain any extra liquid for this specific recipe.
Do I need to use yogurt in this mango lassi popsicle recipe?
Yes, you do. Lassi on its own is actually a yogurt-based drink, and we get mango lassi by simply adding, you guessed it, mangoes! As a note, if you wanted to get creative, you can make any flavor lassi you like—this strawberry lassi is a fave. I personally use a whole milk plain yogurt as I sometimes find the tang of Greek yogurt to be a little overwhelming. But you can use any kind of yogurt you have on hand, even a dairy-free yogurt if you need.
And when it comes to spices, y’all already know what I’m going to say. Fresh grind ’em! The cardamom adds a really lovely floral sweetness to these popsicles and it’s always better fresh. My mom added saffron to our lassis growing up, so I always incorporate a pinch in mine, but you can skip it if you prefer.
Milk vs. Milk Powder in This Mango Lassi Popsicle Recipe
Here’s where the trail diverges when it comes to turning mango lassi into popsicles.
I tested two different versions side by side, because one issue I have with a lot of fruit popsicles that are somewhat “healthy” is that they often turn icy. I love a popsicle that reminds me of the creamy coolness of a mango lassi. There are a few reasons a popsicle can turn icy: not enough sugar, not enough cream, and/or too much water. Fruits on their own are already chock-full of water, and when you add milk, you’re upping the water content. To solve for the extra liquid, I turned to an ingredient I happen to always have on hand for Indian desserts: milk powder.
You can find milk powder at the grocery store. I use the one that sits on the bottom shelf of the baking aisle at Whole Foods. Milk powder gives this recipe a creamy milkiness that’s reminiscent of an actual mango lassi. (Bonus: It does this without adding additional liquid to the popsicles.) Testing these against a coconut milk version, the milk powder take had a much creamier texture. The coconut milk version was also very good, but I highly recommend trying with milk powder if you can!
Assembling and Storing Your Popsicles
When it comes to summer popsicles, I use a silicone popsicle mold. It makes it so much easier to remove your frozen pops and keeps your popsicles from sticking.
To decorate, I love drizzling a little white chocolate over top, adding some rose petals, and finally, a sprinkling of crushed pistachios. This mango lassi popsicle recipe is a celebration of summer—be sure to decorate them as such!
If you’re going to keep extras around, I recommend wrapping each popsicle in parchment paper, then placing them in an airtight bag or box in the freezer to prevent freezer burn. That is, of course, if you have any leftovers.
This post was originally published on July 26, 2017 and has since been updated.