Rosewater Cardamom Lassi / foodloveswriting

The first time Tim took me to Indian food was the first time I liked Indian food. It was also the first time I ordered a lassi. I am half Indian, my dad grew up in southern India, and my Italian-German-Danish mom taught herself to make a mean curry, but I wasn’t on Team International Eating until well into my adult years. By the time I’d met and married Tim, I liked plenty of different cuisines, just not Indian, so on our one-month wedding anniversary, we decided to celebrate by doing something to change that. We went to Nashville’s Sitar and ordered Tim’s favorites: butter chicken and garlic naan. Turns out pillowy herbed dough heady with garlic, alongside creamy, tender chicken, is not a hard sell. I was in. Mostly though, there was that sweetened yogurt drink that had caught my eye on the menu and accompanied my meal. Served over ice in a tall glass, it was sweet, just barely, and flavored with rosewater—it was also the most wonderful offering I’d ever sipped through a straw. I’ve ordered other lassis since, at other restaurants, and they’re usually nice, but that rosewater one is a stand-out. Tangy and frothy and not so sugary to give you a headache (which other lassis have been), it was the kind of drink you dream about for days after it’s yours.

Rosewater Cardamom Lassi / foodloveswriting

Last week, Tim ordered rose hydrosol (which is similar to rosewater). It’s pretty easy to find rosewater online (like on Amazon, for example), and it smells like bathroom potpourri, which is another way of saying I’m not outside enough. You might be tempted, like I have been for years, to think making a splurge purchase on rosewater is out of hand, but, fresh from the lassis we had for breakfast this morning, let me tell you I was wrong. Rosewater imparts the irreplaceable flavor of roses into the foods it’s placed in, creating a floral flavor at once pleasant and unique.

Rosewater Cardamom Lassi / foodloveswriting

Tim came up with the recipe for this re-creation of my beloved restaurant drink, and, if you’ll permit me to brag on him for a minute, let me tell you it is spot-on. Pale and frothy, sweet but not overly so, with just enough tang to remind you of the yogurt and kefir but not enough to turn you away. Coupled with the cardamom, it holds the new first-place title of Best Drink I’ve Tasted in my book.

Rosewater Cardamom Lassi / foodloveswriting

I couldn’t wait until another day to tell you about it, so here you go.

Get your hands on some rosewater and make this now.

Rosewater Cardamom Lassi

By: Food Loves Writing

Serving Size: Two 16-ounce glasses of lassi over ice


  • 1 cup full-fat, organic, grass-fed yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup plain kefir
  • 1/2 cup unrefined powdered sugar or powdered sucanat
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rose water or rose hydrosol
  • 1/8 teaspoon of organic cardamom powder
  • Enough ice to fill two 16-ounce glasses about 3/4 of the way full


If you're going to powder the sugar yourself (see headnote), start there: Powder the Sucanat in a food processor or high-powdered blender (Skip this step if you've got unrefined powdered sugar on hand.) Then, combine powdered sugar with yogurt, kefir, rosewater, and cardamom in a blender until smooth. Serve over glasses filled with ice. Makes two servings.


A quick note on the powdered sugar: We used Sucanat and just ground it into a powder consistency by whirring it in the Vitamix as a first step. Whatever sugar you use, you want it to be essentially powdered in order for it to dissolve easily in the drink.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Didi

    Whenever I smell rose in my food, its as if I’m eating my grandmother (God bless her soul!)…in a non-sleazy way. I prefer orange blossoms over rose any day though. Less grandmother perfurme-y!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      bahahaha! And orange blossoms sound lovely — one thing I will say for the rosewater here is you’ll notice it’s a tiny amount. A little goes a long way! And using a little definitely helps cut any sense of perfume, ha. : )

  2. Erin

    I don’t think I like Indian food either, but the garlic bread and butter chickens sounds delicious! Thanks for reminding me that I really need to make an effort to get more international in my eating. ;)

  3. Abby

    Sounds delicious. I purchased rosewater this summer from a Shaker village for my own historical cooking projects, since it turns out that rosewater used to be more commonly used than vanilla for flavoring various baked goods. I use them interchangeably now, but that faint rosy perfume is so heady that I may stop using vanilla entirely!

  4. Amina | PAPER/PLATES

    I had no idea you had an Indian heritage — just another thing we share! (Technically, I’m Pakistani but we were all Indian once ;)) Interestingly, I grew up eating South Asian cuisine and love most everything EXCEPT rosewater and lassi. Whatever the reason, I just don’t find it palatable, but Tim’s version sounds lovely. Perhaps I should give it a try…

  5. Kathryn

    Indian is pretty much my favourite food of all time (when (not if!) you and Tim make it London, I am definitely taking you for a proper curry!) but I don’t think I’ve ever tried a lassi. I’m definitely going to have to change that because I love the way that you describe this : )

  6. Sophia

    I think it must have been my parents who first introduced me to Indian Lassi, Turkish Ayran (a savoury yoghurt drink) and how well they quench your thirst and counteract the heat of hot food. Over the years I have become a total convert and whenever I am anywhere where I can be sure mangoes are ripe enough I order a Mango Lassi when I come across it. Although I am not a big fan of rose water, I do have a bottle of orange blossom water I bought on a trip to Morocco last year – I usually use this for fruit salads but I am sure it would be lovely as a replacement for the rose water in your recipe.

  7. Pingback: Rosewater (or Rose Hydrosol) - Eat Today To Live Tomorrow

  8. Pingback: Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani | | A Literary Cookbook | Food Loves Writing

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