The refreshing and cooling beverage of India, Thandai, is one of the most integral components of Holi festival. It is prepared mostly during the festivals of Holi and Mahashivratri, which is a cold milk-based drink.
Thandai, helps beating the onset of summer, during Holi, which is also the spring festival in India.
The drink is flavored with items such as almonds, pistachios, fennel seeds, cardamom, rose petals and saffron.
Other variations of thandai may contain items like poppy seeds and melon seeds. It is also believed to have some medicinal properties and is said to aid digestion and provide relief from heatstroke.
The word Thanda translates to cool in Hindi. The beverage is believed to be a coolant as most of the ingredients used have a cooling effect on the body. And thus, the name Thandai.
The recipe to make Thandai:
1. 1. Rinse 20 almonds, 10 cashews, and 15 pistachios thoroughly before adding them to a bowl. Pour water over them, and soak them for at least four hours. Alternatively, you may give them an hour-long bath in hot water. In a separate bowl with a little water, soak 12 teaspoons of poppy seeds and 112 tablespoons of melon seeds.
Next, peel the almonds' skins and give all the nuts a thorough wash in clean water. Put the blanched and soaked nuts in a food processor or blender.
2. The magaz and poppy seeds should be dried out. Add them to the grinder. If you don't have a strong blender, you can soak the poppy seeds individually and then grind them into a paste with a mortar and pestle.
3. Add the following ingredients
• 1½ tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf)
• 4 to 10 black peppercorn
• 12 green cardamoms
• 1 inch cinnamon
• 1 pinch saffron (kesar, optional)
• 20 rose petals (or you can alternately use gulkand later like I used)
4. Then grind into a rough paste. Next, add half a cup of milk and mix until paste forms.
5. The smoother the better. If needed add more milk and blend till smooth.
6. Bring 1 liter (4 cups) of milk to a boil in a pot. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of sugar as per your taste.
7. After turning off the stove, the ground paste must be added and stirred well.
8. Allow it to cool down while covering it and refrigerating it for at least 4 hours to overnight.
9. Then give it a good mix and strain using a fine strainer.
10. Once the nuts get soaked well, only the spices are left. So there is no wastage of nuts.
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