Thandai – An Indian Classic

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The countdown for Holi has begun and the temperatures are soaring already here in Bangalore! I have become an AC freak over the last couple of days. I am so looking forward to some rain. Or  on a second thought, the Holi rain dance would be great too 😀

Thandai is an Indian classic when it comes to drinks and is a special serving for Holi. It is an energy packed cooler with a nutty flavor and bhaang (typically 😉 ) While there are many variations of Thandai I relish the basic one the most.

My first experience of Bhaang is quite unforgettable. It was second year of college and sadly I had my semester exam just the day after Holi. I had made up my mind not to goof around and focus on the preparation. My flat mates were preparing thandai for a gang of people and I decided to have it before they mixed bhaang into it. Little did I know that they planned to trick me into having it. Oh! it was so delicious !! (I drool as I write ) For the next couple of hours there was hardly any effect and I thought I had tamed the “high”. However, till date I have no memory of the next 20 hours of my life. The next thing I remember was waking to an alarm which was snoozing hard to get me dressed for the exam. I took the exam in the same state of “wilderness” – smudged with colors, hard to recognize and puzzled with the questions. I was so sure of flunking that one but to my surprise I passed with flying colors 😀 I still wonder if my examiner had his share of “Thandai”. 🙂


  • Full cream milk (preferably) 1 litre
  • Almonds blanched and peeled 20
  • Cashew soaked 15
  • Pistachios blanched and peeled 20
  • Poppy seeds (khuskhus/posto) soaked 2 tablespoons
  • Saffron (kesar) a few strands
  • Sugar 3/4 cup
  • Green cardamoms 5
  • Cinnamon 1/2 inch stick
  • Rose essence 4-5 drops (you can also use powdered rose petals)
  • Fennel powder – 1 tsp



Step 1 Grind together almonds, cashew, pistachios, and poppy seeds with a little milk to a fine paste. Bring milk to a boil in a pan. Add saffron and mix.

Step 2 When the milk begins to boil, add sugar and simmer till the sugar melts. Grind green cardamoms, fennel seeds and cinnamon stick to a fine powder.

Step 3 Add the paste to the milk and mix well. Simmer for three to four minutes. Add the powdered masala and rose essence to the milk and mix well. Chill the milk and serve.

P.S. – Please share this as much as you may like 🙂



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Come share your recipes on the Facebook group “sharing food with Shivaay Delights”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would love to 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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