Holi, the festival of colors, is incomplete without this exquisite drink, Thandai, and Gujiya, a delicious dumpling filled with condensed milk.
Being far from India, these festivals do not feel the same as they did at home. While I can’t do much about it, I try to make myself these festive dishes that my mother used to make around this time.
Thandai is refreshing, healthful, and tasty. Its nutty and spicy flavor is perfect for the summer or the Holi holiday.
What is Thandai?
Thandai is a popular and pleasant North Indian drink made during the Holi and Mahashivratri festivals! It is a dairy-based beverage produced by combining milk with a nutritious blend of nuts, seeds, and spices.
Thandai is created using a variety of nuts and spices that are thought to have a cooling effect on the body, hence the name “Thandai,” which means “cooling” in Hindi.
The recipe includes peppercorn, almonds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, saffron, cardamom, and rose water. It’s a terrific drink to serve, especially during the summers in India when temperatures reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, justifying its name.
Notable Ingredients at a Glance
Milk – Whole milk will give the rich flavor of the thandai. Having said that, you can make it with skim or low-fat milk as well.
To create vegan thandai, use plant-based milk instead of dairy milk, such as almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk.
Dried Nuts, Fruits & Seeds – Dried seeds, fruits, and nuts such as almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, raisins, poppy seeds, and magaz (watermelon seeds)/chia seeds are required.
Spices – Green cardamoms, cinnamon powder, nutmeg, black peppercorns, and fennel seeds are used to flavor this drink.
Saffron strands – The use of saffron threads is optional, but it enhances the drink’s flavor. It also gives Thandai a tint of yellow color.
Dried Rose Petals – I have used dried rose petals for garnishing. It adds a nice color and the drink looks more lavishing.
Sugar – Adjust the sugar to your liking. You can also add honey or maple syrup to sweeten it.
How to prepare Thandai?
Take a grinding cup and add all the dry fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices to prepare the thandai powder mix. Grind everything for 2 minutes or until a smooth powder is formed.
Then, in a glass, add milk, sugar, and two tablespoons of thandai powder and mix it thoroughly.
Garnish with some rose petals and saffron.
You can refrigerate it before serving, or you can add 2-3 cubes of ice. So enjoy this lavishing drink and beat the summer heat.
Some Expert Tips for Preparing Thandai
- Thandai is best served cold. So refrigerate it for 4 to 5 hours, ideally overnight, before serving.
- You can make thandai a few days ahead of time. Keep it in the refrigerator.
Thandai is a traditional nut based drink for Holi. It is very easy and simple to make and does not take much time.
- ¼ cup Almonds
- ¼ cup Cashew nuts
- ¼ cup Pistachios
- 2 tbsp Fennel Seeds
- 14 nos Peppercorns
- 2 tbsp Watermelon seeds/Chia seeds
- 2 tbsp White Poppy Seeds
- 12 nos Cardamom
- 3 ½ tbsp Dried Rose Petals
- 20–25 strands Saffron strands
- ½ tsp Nutmeg Powder
- ½ tsp Cinnamon Powder
- 1 cup (250ml ) Milk (regular or plant based)
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- In a grinding cup add all the thandai powder mix ingredients and grind for 2 min.
- In a glass add milk, sugar and 2 tbsp thandai powder and mix it.
- Garnish with some rose petals.
- You can also use 2-3 cubes of ice.
Keywords: thandai drink nut based