Odds are, if you live in the Western Hemisphere, you’ve never come across Bhang. If you have, consider yourself a world traveler.
Bhang, also known as bhang lassi, is an ancient aspect of Hindu culture, one that has been used on the Indian subcontinent for at least 4,000 years. That’s almost as long as people have been smoking weed, which shouldn’t be surprising, as Bhang itself contains marijuana.
But what is it?
Bhang lassi is a form of edible cannabis, usually made into a potent psychoactive beverage. It is used for recreational, medical, and religious purposes among Hindus and other ancient religious groups, especially in India and Nepal.
First, laborers grind marijuana bud and leaves using a mortar and pestle. The pot is then mixed with milk, mangoes, Indian spices, and sometimes ghee (a form of preserved butter common in Asia). This bhang base is then made into a thick drink called Ghota thandai.
Here’s an easy if minimal bhang recipe:
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a well-cleaned teapot. Set aside 4 cups of warm milk, which will be used in stages.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and place 1 ounce of marijuana bud (minus stems and seeds) in the boiling water. Cover the teapot and let the bud simmer for about 7 minutes.
- Strain the water through either cheesecloth or a double layer of coffee filters. Squeeze the wet marijuana out of the filter to get as much water out as possible. Save the water.
- Put the cannabis in a mortar with 2 tablespoons of warmed milk. Grind the two together firmly but slowly.
- Now strain the marijuana again to remove as much milk as you can. Keep the milk.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have strained 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of milk through the cannabis, making sure to save all the milk.
- Put the wet, pulpy pot in the mortar and add 2 tablespoons of chopped blanched almonds. Next, add enough warm milk to soak the almonds and marijuana.
- Use a pestle to grind the resulting pulp into a fine paste.
- Strain the paste and squeeze out the milk. Save the milk and repeat the process until the cannabis is dry. Then toss out the dry cannabis that remains.
- Blend the water and milk that you strained through the pot. Add your spices: 1/8 tablespoon garam masala, 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon rosewater, and the remaining warm milk. Stir the bhang drink in the mortar.
- Finally, chill the bhang lassi until you’re ready to drink it.
While Bhang is mostly used for ritual purposes, it’s also an effective medication and recreational drug. But be careful: If you follow this bhang recipe, your end product should be very potent.
Tell us: Have you ever tried bhang? Do you want to? Leave a comment below.