To most North Indians, drinking Lassi is second nature, but in North Brooklyn, the cooling, yogurt-based drink is making a big splash.
Keep in mind this isn’t your run of the mill, milky, sugary Lassi found in most Indian restaurants in the city. Monsieur Singh’s Lassi is frozen – more like Gelato or frozen yogurt, if you will, and a whole lot healthier, according to the man behind this unique gastronomical invention, Karan Gera.
It was while studying Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine native to the Indian Subcontinent, where he learned more about the healing powers of Lassi – specifically, for improving digestion and boosting your immune system.
The name of the company, Monsieur Singh, is derived from his experiences in India.
Kapurthala, Gera’s hometown, is known as the Paris of Punjab, largely due to a 19th century prince’s penchant for French architecture, hence the word Monsieur.
And Singh is the most common last name found in the Indian state of Punjab.
Gera began experimenting with different flavors of Lassi back in 2012, and along with a friend that had opened a spice shop and juice bar in Westchester, began selling Lassi from a stand.
“I really enjoyed experimenting,” said Gera. “Lassi is something I’ve grown up drinking, and experimenting with it came naturally to me. It’s just that idea of getting to the depth of how something works.”
It was an instant hit, and the seeds for Monsieur Singh were sown.
Gera operates his business out of the Pfizer building in Williamsburg, and Monsieur Singh currently retails two flavors – Mango Lassi and Honey Lemon Lassi – in pint-sized containers and as pops.
The stand was a standout at last month’s Brooklyn Eats – the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s annual foodie event, which was held in the same building.
Monsieur Singh is most commonly found at Whole Foods, Foragers in Dumbo and in Chelsea, R & D Foods, and Smorgasburg.
Gera said the most challenging part about running the business was the nature of the industry itself, particularly as it relates to small businesses.
“When you want to buy ingredients no one wants to sell you less than a truckload,” he said.
He faced a similar hurdle with packaging – he wanted to be more creative – but cost and quantity forced him to stick with what was available.
But Gera is forging ahead regardless. He wants to represent the young entrepreneurial spirit of India in the United States – it’s not just chicken tikka masala and samosas – Frozen Lassi, he hopes, will lead that charge.
Gera said he is presently focusing on expanding the reach of his product across the United States, Canada, and the U.K.
Next up, Monsieur Singh will be serving up Pineapple-Banana flavored frozen Lassi too.
“This just started as something in my kitchen and I can’t believe how it has gone forward,” said Gera. “I believe this is the right way to have yogurt.”
For more information visit http://monsieursingh.com/.
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