The festival of colours, ‘HOLI’ marks playful celebrations and of-course, the arrival of spring. And, to keep up with the short spring and long Indian Summers we need recipes that hydrate and energize us to be on our toes and keep moving.
To rejoice the playful and extravagant spirit of Holi, I am sharing one of the traditional drinks that multiplies the enjoyment quotient during this festival.
Energised with dry fruits and a range of exotic spices, Thandai is the next level refreshment drink. The drink is associated with Maha Shivratri and Holi and consumed mainly in northern regions of India. The beverage has a lot of variants – Badam Thandai, Bhaang Thandai, Rose Thandai etc. But, I’ll stick to the classic Badam Thandai for now.
While singing and dancing to the foot tapping Holi songs, the voice of legendary Amitabh Bachchan singing ‘Rang Barse’ on a woofer, a cloud of colours floating in the air; a glass of Thandai is all you will need to transcend into another world.
I am sharing the dry blend for Thandai Masala as it can be prepared in advance and stored in an air tight container in a cool & dry place for weeks. You may enjoy this drink anytime during summers as ingredients such as khus (poppy seeds), rose and fennel have the cooling properties. Far more beneficial than sodas and artificially flavored drinks available in the market and the ingredients listed below will make you realize the health benefits of this drink.
Almonds – 1/4 cup
Cashews – 2 tbsp
Green Cardamom pods – 8-10
Cinnamon stick – 1/2 inch
Black pepper cones – 8-10
Fennel seeds (Sauf) – 1.5 tbsp
Dried Rose Petals – 1.5 tbsp
Poppy Seeds (Khus) – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1.5 cups
Saffron – a pinch
Now, there are recipes where you can add melon seeds and pistachios as well. So, feel free to improvise; I have used what was available to me.
1. Grind the dry fruits and spices with sugar in a blender. Remember to add sugar in batches when you are grinding.
2. Make sure you are blending the mixture on pulses. Continuous blending would make the dry fruits release oil and the powder consistency would not be achieved. This will affect the shelf life of the Masala. ( If you are preparing for same or next day consumption, you may even soak the dry fruits and poppy seeds before blitzing them in blender.)
3. Once you have the dry powder, sieve it properly and transfer into containers for later use. The chunky bits that remain on the sieve can be blended again for a finer powder.
Thandai is a milk based drink. Now, that you have the masala ready, let’s make some refreshing thandai.
1. Warm the milk (cow’s milk/almondmilk(vegan)) in a pot and add the thandai powder to it. The ratio that I took was 1.5 heaped tsp for 1 cup milk. But, it depends on your taste so you may add less or more as per your preference.
2. Bring the milk to a boil and let it simmer for 8-10 mins.
3. Turn off the flame and let it cool down to room temperature. Next, you need to chill the thandai in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
4. Once cooled, the thandai masala would have infused all the flavours of the spices into the milk. Pour the drink in glasses and serve it chilled.
I hope you like the recipe as much as I do. Give it a go and let me know your experience.
Happy Holi !