Unusual Occupations

Saturday, August 26, 2017

L - Pehelwan ki Lassi




Been there ... done that


Pehelwan ki Lassi






A cycle rickshaw takes me to Lanka crossing.

I have just been inside the sprawling campus of the Benares Hindu university , that is such a world apart from the old city of Benares.  Tree lined streets , garbage free roads, students bicycling their way  inside the campus and the various departments and the modern replica of the Kashi Viswanath temple inside the  campus.
Nothing could have embodied a more modern  outlook of Hindutva.

Once cannot but Marvel  the vision that Madan Mohan Malaviya its founder had in the early 1900s.
 
Legend has it that when MM Malaviya was on his death bed and his family insisted  on shifting him to the old benraes , just  so he could breathe his last  on the banks of the Ganges river and thus attain moksha from the cycle of birth and rebirth,  Madan Mohan Malaviya refused to go there because he believed his work was not over as yet and he would not want to die, leave alone on the banks of the Ganges.

Wonder how many of us overworked Zombies from today's air conditioned but toxic workplaces would say that.
   
While the BHU campus and the museums were the main purpose of my visit, it was Pehelwan ki Lassi that I was eagerly anticipating to visit.
I had starved myself all the way while I was inside the campus because I was forewarned. 

I was told Pehelwan ki Lassi was a meal in itself and one would not do justice by having even a light meal if you were to savour Pehelwan ki lassi.

About ten minutes of walking from BHU is Lanka crossing.  A busy  thorough fare  that connects the modern and new part of Varanasi and the old city.

 It is over here  that there are about three ‘Pehelwan ki lassi ‘ outlets and plastic chairs strewn  across all of them.  It would have been impolite of me to ask which one was the original pehelwan ki Lassi and so I chose the middle one, although in all probability they were brothers or cousins of each others and decided to bank on the brand of the legendary ‘Pehelwan Ki Lassi’  that to this date remains the iconic brand of Lassi for the locals and the tourists alike.

Getting to the point. 

Banarasi Lassi, particularly Pehelwan ki Lassi is’nt anything like the Lassi from Punjab.  The one from Punjab is served in huge glasses, is frothy and creamy and is a thirst quencher.

Pehelwan ki lassi is more a desset meal and less a drink.  Served in baked mud earthern pots it is topped with malai ( clotted cream) and a generous helping of Rabri ( condensed milk sweet).

Laid in front of you  are huge plates full of set yogurt in flat stainless steel plates called Parat,  from which some is scooped up  to fill your earthern pot before topping it up with generous helping of Malai and Rabri.

The Parat itself is set to form yoghurt the previous night, using condensed milk that is boiled over and over again perhaps to half its original quantity.  A dash of palm jaggery is added to it and then some yogurt is added so that the next morning it sets into a thick base for the Lassi.

This base in itself is a full meal and with the toping of malai and Rabri gives it the feel of desert.
     
You got to have a real sweet tooth to relish Pehelwan ki Lassi.
It does not matter if you do not have a sweet tooth or are lactose intolerant , When in Benares you have to indulge. Otherwise it is like walking out of Louvre without watching the Mona lisa.     

And Benares has many such delicacies that leave a stamp on you. 


Watch out fot the next post for one such delicacy that cannot be had in any other place and any other time except in the winter mornings  and in the alleyways of Benares ... 

         

1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete

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