Thandai is a cooling drink for the body and signifies the end of winter.
In India, we traditionally drink Thandai on Holi, the festival of colours. During this joyous time, people meet their friends and splash them with colour, signifying the renewing of friendships. They also forgive their enemies and start new relationships with a bit of colour, dancing, singing and a glass of Thandai!
In the olden days, people would add freshly ground leaves and buds of cannabis sativa plant (marijuana) to this drink during the Holi festival.
Ingredients (makes 1 jug)
- 25 almonds soaked overnight
- 25 Cashews soaked overnight
- 4 tbsp poppy seeds soaked overnight
- 3 Tbsp Melon seeds soaked overnight
- ¼ cup honey
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 4 quills of cinnamon
- 6 cloves
- 15 green whole cardamom pods
- ¼ nutmeg pod
- 2 tbsp green fennel seeds
- 8-10 strands of saffron
- Handful of dried rose petals to garnish
- 2 tbsp finely chopped raw pistachios for garnish
- 1 cup milk of your choice (preferably cashew, almond or whole milk)
- Grind peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and fennel seeds in a blender to a fine powder and keep it aside.
- Now peel the almonds and put them in blender along with cashews, melon seeds and soaked poppy seeds. Add the milk of your choice and blend it to a very fine paste.
- Put the blended milk in a pot and warm it, while slowly adding the blended powder of spices. Continue to stir throughout.
- Once blended, turn off the heat and let it cool down for 2 minutes
- Add the honey while the drink is still warm.
- Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp of warm milk for 4 minutes. Add this to the drink, top with the chopped pistachios and rose petals and chill it.
- Your Thandai is ready. You can adjust the sweetness and the consistency according to your taste by adding honey or more milk.
by Jyotsana Karl