Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thandai (Spiced Almond Milk) - An Ode to Spring

HOLI, the zesty colour festival has a huge fan in me. I have fond memories of all those years in Delhi when getting smeared silly was almost revered by me.The vitality & zing the atmosphere becomes a few days before the big day is infectious.Armed with a bucketful of water and a water piston (pitchkari), the kids are ever ready to spring surprises on the passer-bys. It is of course not always a joy to get drenched ; imagine you are scurrying to work and is greeted by a shower ! Nevertheless, those moments of evading the water works or getting drenched is something I still savour. 

However,what scared me was the balloon with coloured water lunged from roof-tops or terraces. Thrown from a distance and with force, the ballons more often than not were painful. I remember my friend falling off from her 2 wheeler after being targeted by the balloon vice ! That part of this otherwise enjoyable fest still puts me on nerves :(

The festival signifies triumph of good over evil and most importantly brings people together - how? by applying colour over each other, people forget the caste, creed n religion and bind with each other, improving the secular fabric of our country.That is the main spirit behind holi. On the eve of holi, a bonfire is lighted , and is known as Holika Dahan; it basically is an act of thankfulness to lord Agni (God of Fire).On the day of holi, other than the colour applying ritual, the whole day is passed in merriment with songs & dance and enjoying the festive fare. Evenings are more sober after colour smearing and is spent exchanging greetings and spending quality time with family.

Smearing colours is the best part of Holi- the colours reflect the advent of spring season and is meant to convey joy and exuberance. Using skin friendly colours and going natural will ensure that the festival is celebrated with all aplomb & glory.However what becomes a dampener is the use of toxic chemical colours that totally takes away the charm & the spirit of the festival.Thankfully, with increasing awareness, the festival promises to remain clean & fun !

Holi also means gorging on the luscious treats and the sweet that symbolises it is   Gujiya - an empanada styled deliciousness. And who can forget the refreshing Thandai ? 

Gulping down thandai, while applying colours is indeed a sight to behold.Often it is laced with Bhang- the intoxicating preparation from the leaves & flowers of the Cannabis plant and after it is partaken, the atmosphere gets electric, wild & dizzying.Of course bhang thandai is a strict no-no to kids; however the almond drink without the intoxicating substance is equally a trip to merriment & revelry. 

Thandai- doesn't the name spell cool & shout spunk and sizzle. Perfect for the scorching heat, the drink also energises the body. I added a pinch of saffron food color to the boiling milk to splash some vibrance.

What's in it :-(Serves :3 tall glasses)

For the Paste :-
  • Almonds - a fistful
  • Pistachios - few
  • Cashewnuts - few
  • Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
  • Fennel Seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Poppy Seeds - 2 tsp
  • Cardamom Pods - 2 to 3
  • Dried Rose Petals - a few
  • Watermelon Seeds - 1 tsp (I did not use it)
  • Sugar - to taste
  • Milk - as required
For the Milk :-
  • Whole Cream Milk - 1/2 liter
  • Saffron Strands / Edible saffron colur - a little
  • Rose water - a splash or two
For the garnish :-
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Mint leaves
  • Finely grated pistachios
  • Saffron strings

Soak all the ingredients marked in blue in adequate water for a few hours or overnight.In the meanwhile, boil milk with saffron strands and/or a pinch or two of saffron color.Let it cool.
Drain the contents and grind them to a fine paste along with sugar and milk as required.Mix the paste to the milk and further add a splash of rose water. 

Refrigerate the contents for a few hours.Let the flavours blend and mingle.
Pass the content through a strainer/muslin cloth and extract the liquid in to a vessel.Discard the residue. Serve in to glasses and garnish as required.
Drink chilled. Enjoy

Thandai shots anyone ????

It's off to Anusha's Summer Spunk , kalyani's Holi Fest & Rasi's I'm the star


  1. Perfect refreshing drink. Love the flavors...

  2. wonderful and a healthy drink priya thank you for linking back to my event

  3. woww such a refreshing drink!! thxs for sharing it!!

  4. Refreshing one.....yummy drink

  5. lovely and refreshing drink..

    Join the Just "4" Fun event :)

  6. wow, love it. I am waiting to make it Friday (as we are celebrating on Saturday in US).

  7. This looks absolutely delicious.. a must try! thanks for linking it to my event!

    Ongoing Event: I'm a STAR

  8. Oh My!!!! I would love all those glasses of thandai Priya. Looks Fab ya. Only thing is it does not look like spring but summer.

    1. gee radhika---- have to agree with you on that !

  9. Happy Holi! lovely drink and pics are superb!

  10. hmm absolutely mouth watering n yummiest thandai..

  11. Luvly drink...I Can enjoy every sip of it...Happy Holi

  12. Awesome Recipe Dear..Bookmarking it to try soon..


  13. So yummy n refreshing .... All clicks were awesome....

  14. So yummy n refreshing .... All clicks were awesome....

  15. Thandai looks so refreshing and yum.

  16. HappY Holi dear..

    Pass me the drink dear..can't stop drooling...slurp! ;)

  17. looks so refreshing... though ive never had the privilege to try it... and what a wonderful combination of spices!

  18. Now that is one delicious looking tall glass!

  19. Happy Holi, and what a delightful drink to celebrate with! Very delicious :)

  20. Hi

    I am with a children's textbook publisher in India. I was wondering if we could use your wonderful photos of thandai in a book for 7-year-old children.

    Wamr regards