EVENT: FOODIES_ REDOING OLD POSTS #46
What is Thandai?
In general, Thandai is a refreshing traditional milk based Indian Drink that is quite popular during the Holi Festival. Made from spices, nuts, seeds and rose petals its not only a cooler but also a nutritious drink.
With the beginning of the hot days during Holi festival and also Shivratri, it’s ideal to serve this cooling drink to the guests. Actually, when one says thandai, it refers to the powder or syrup used to make the drink and also to the drink itself. As a matter of fact, in Hindi it means cooling.
There are two forms:
- The powdered form – where nuts, poppy seeds, pepper, fennel seeds, cardamom, dried rose petals, saffron, seeds like melon, pumpkin, are crushed to make the powder.
- The syrup form – The ingredients are crushed into a smooth paste and added to sugar syrup. It is then strained through a cheesecloth to obtain the flavored syrup.
How is this drink prepared?
Generally, milk is boiled the previous day of the festival and the powder or syrup are added. As a result, the flavors are allowed to infuse into the milk overnight. Before the festival, either the flavored milk is put in the freezer to cool or ice cubes are added.
In particular, I love milk be it plain, with chocolate, rose syrup, kesar(saffron), etc etc. The options are endless. Therefore not surprising that Thandai too is one of my favorite drinks. Apart from the cooling factor, it also provides the necessary nutrients and energy to get through the hot festival day.
Traditional Method of making Thandai
In fact, commercially prepared thandai syrup and powder usually contains artificial food colour and flavors. Therefore, I don’t like to use them. Traditionally the paste is made by grinding all the ingredients using a sil batta (a large flat stone and a stone rolling pin) to a paste. And then it is strained and squeeze in a muslin cloth to obtain the flavour. Personally, prefer just grinding the dry ingredients to a powder and storing it. Because I feel that the traditional method results in wastage of fine and expensive ingredients.
- Fortunately, Sugar can be replaced by using honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or stevia as many people want healthier options.
- Homemade thandai powder or syrup taste will vary according to the proportions of ingredients used. Some prefer a slightly hot taste, therefore will add extra peppercorns and some like it sweetish.
- Similarly, replace dairy milk with almond, cashew nut, soya, oat, coconut or any other vegan milk.
Can the Powder or Syrup be stored?
Due to the humid climate in Mombasa, I usually store the powder in the fridge in an airtight container. In fact it is best to store the syrup too in the fridge if the climate is humid. In fact don’t keep the powder for too long as it will lose its flavours. Indeed, it is best to prepare small quantities for freshness.
Is Thandai only used in milk?
Not at all, thandai powder or syrup are used in a variety of different ways. Here are some ways you can make something different for Holi Festival using the powder or syrup to please your guests:
- Thandai Muffins
- Thandai Chia Pudding
- Malpua too is associated with Holi, so a combination of thandai and malpua is awesome, check out Thandai Malpua with Strawberry Compote.
- Eggfree Thandai Cookies
- Easy Thandai Kulfi
- Thandai Mousse
- Serve Sujata’s Thandai Flavoured Fruit Punch.
- Bake Swati’s Chocolate Mawa Thandai Muffins.
- Try Preethi’s Thandai Nectarine Mini Gallete.
- Or Poonam’s Eggless Thandai Cookies with tutti frutti added to it.
- Sasmita’s Kesar Phirni with Thandai Crust
THE GROUP FOODIES _ REDOING OLD POSTS
The Group Foodies_Redoing Old Posts, started by Renu helps the members to make an effort to update old posts. Incidentally, the first time I had posted this recipe, the photos were pretty dull. However, this time I thought of adding some colour not to the dish but in the way of using colorful props.
Updated on 18/03/2021. First Published on 25/06/2012
Ingredients Required To Make Thandai Powder and Milk:
- Fennel Seeds – valiyari, saunf.
- Cardamom – elachi. Remove the seeds from the pods. Add the empty pots to your loose tea leaves pot.
- Peppercorns – mari. Black or white peppercorns. Use according to your taste.
- Poppy Seeds – khus khus. Omit if you don’t have any. Add melon seeds instead. Also known as magaz seeds.
- Saffron – kesar.
- Almonds – badam.
- Pistachio – unsalted
- Dried Rose Petals – buy organic ones, free from any pesticides or chemicals.
- Pumpkin Seeds – optional or use melon seeds (magaz).
- Milk – I have used dairy milk. Feel free to use any nut milk for a vegan option. Milk must be cold.
- Sugar – sugar definitely adds that authentic taste. However feel free to use any sweetener of your choice like honey, maple syrup, stevia, etc.
- Ice Cubes – crushed
- Gluten free
- For vegan option use plant based milks
- Satvik, as no alcohol is added in this recipe
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- 1 tbsp fennel seeds saunf, valiyari
- 4-6 peppercorns
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds khus khus
- a generous pinch of saffron kesar
- 6-8 almonds badam
- 8-12 pistachios
- ¼ tsp cardamom elachi
- 1 tbsp dried rose petals
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Ingredients for Thandai Milk/ Drink:
- 6-8 tsp sugar
- 4 cups cold milk
- crushed ice
Preparation of Thandai Masala/Powder:
- Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods.
- Roast aniseeds, poppy seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns over very low flame till you get the aroma of the aniseeds and poppy seeds will begin to pop.
- Take the pan off the heat. Mix in the saffron.
- Let the mixture cool down.
- Put the spice mixture, nuts and seeds in a coffee grinder and process it into a fine powder.
Preparation of Thandai Milk/ Drink:
- Divide the powder between 4 glasses.
- Add the cold milk and sugar. Mix well.
- Add crushed ice and serve immediately.
- You can add powdered sugar to the mixture and keep it. I don't add it as I would like to use other sweeteners for diabetics and those who don't take sugar.
- If you prefer a slightly pungent taste add a few more peppercorns.
- Serve as a dessert. Instead of ice top it with kesar pista or vanilla ice cream.
- Store the extra masala in an airtight container in the fridge.
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