Thandai is a traditional Indian drink mostly served in northern parts of India during the festival of Holi or Mahashivratri. Holi, the festival of colors, signifies victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter.
Thanda in Hindi means cooling so as the name says, Thandai drink has a nice cooling factor. Thandai is served as refreshment drink during Holi festival when people get tired playing Holi.
The other popular version of Thandai is Bhang (cannabis) Thandai. Since bhang is banned in most parts of India, I have made this Thandai without bhang.
Thandai drink is made with dry fruits, saffron, and few seeds. The Thandai drink is perfectly balanced by the cooling factor of fennel seeds, the spiciness of black pepper and rich flavors of saffron.
There are many ready to mix versions of Thandai masala available in the market but I suggest you try this easy homemade version. I bet you won’t regret!! This drink can be prepared in as low as just 10 minutes.
On Mahashivratri or the Holi day, most Shiva temple in India would be offering free Thandai. Thandai is offered to Lord Shiva and then served as Prasad (also called Prasada or Prasadam) is a material substance of food that is a religious offering in both Hinduism and Sikhism). As a child, I used to stand in queue for multiple time for Thandai until my tummy was full. Haha 😉
Can I make this recipe vegan?
Of course, this tastes good both ways. You can add coconut milk or any other dairy-free milk of your choice instead of whole milk.
Thandai is best if served chilled. It is best if you can prepare the drink a few hours before and refrigerate it. As all these whole spices will be infused better over time.
If running short on time, you can add more ice cubes to your Thandai drink and serve the drink immediately.
- ¼ cup almonds
- ¼ cup cashews
- ¼ tsp peppercorns
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tbsp melon seeds
- 1 tbsp dry rose petals
- 7-10 saffron strands optional, soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk
- ½ cup milk or as needed
- ½ tsp rose water optional
- ¼ cup sugar to taste
- 4 cups chilled milk
- 1 cup ice or as needed
Put all ingredients under Thandai masala in a blender and blend it to smooth paste.
In a pitcher combine chilled milk, rose water and sugar
Now add Thandai paste
Mix the drink using a hand blender
Now strain the dink using hand strainer
Now add ice cubes into the serving glass and pour the Thandai drink
Garnish it with rose petals, dry fruit silvers and saffron strands
Serve it chilled
- Refrigerate the drink before straining at least for 4 hours or overnight for best result
- You can refrigerate Thandai paste for a week