Thandai recipe | How to make Thandai for Holi

Thandai is a refreshing cooling Indian drink made with dry nuts, poppy seeds, a few flavourful whole spices (like fennel seeds, green cardamom, black pepper, saffron) and milk. This drink is mostly made during Holi or Shivaratri-like Indian festivals and especially in summer. More than Shivratri, thandai is a traditional drink of Holi, especially in all North Indian states.

The word Thandai comes from the Hindi(Indian) word “Thanda” which means “Cool”.

Thandai is one of the most old Indian homemade drinks that has been made in Indian kitchens in summer for years. Due to its refreshing and cooling nature summer is the best time to sip it on too.

Refreshing cooling delicious homemade thandai drink is made for holi served in a earthen glass

My thandai making story

A few years back, during holi, I had thandai at a North Indian friend’s place and since then my Bengali sweet tooth has craved for this drink at Holi. Initially, I had no experience making thandai at home, so first I simply made it with store bought packet thandai powder and later with store bought syrup. Though that was easy to make with store bought thandai powder or store bought syrup. But the taste was not as great as I had in my friend’s place. So I started making it on my own with the help of my friend’s homemade thandai recipe. 

Since then started making this drink at holi. This year I already made the thandai masala at home and stored it in my fridge for making on the coming festival day. 

Why my thandai recipe is unique or different?

My friend advised me to simply mix the thandai masala with chilled milk(boiled milk cooled and kept in the refrigerator), sugar and plain water, mix them by hand (means with a spoon) and serve. But I make it a little differently. I make it by mixing my thandai with coconut water (not in plain water) and chilled milk. Also, change the method, rather than mixing by hand, use the blender to perfectly blend the thandai masala with chilled milk, coconut water and sugar to make it frothy and creamy. 

Which ingredients of thandai work how?

Poppy seeds and fennel seeds – Poppy seeds and fennel seeds are 2 important spices of thandai used for their most cooling nature. 

Coconut water- Instead of using plain water, here I use coconut water which is refreshing and healthy and also works as a cooling agent for summer. 

The flavour of thandai– Dry rose petals, fennel seeds, cardamom seeds and saffron (I used in this recipe) brings the flavour. 

Dry fruits – Dry fruits (like almonds, pistachios and cashews) and melon seeds paste mixed with milk make this drink delicious and creamy.

Try some easy holi special sweet recipes from my blog

Malpua recipe

Bengali Rabri recipe

Kesar Peda

Mathura ka peda

Doodh Peda

Gulab jamun(made with milk powder)

Kalakand

Thandai recipe | How to make Thandai for holi

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: Recipes
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal

Holi or Shivaratri special most delectable refreshing cooling drink made with nuts, poppy seeds, melon seeds, whole spices and milk.

Ingredients of Holi special Thandai

  • 15 Almonds

  • 20 Pistachios

  • 10-12 Cashew nuts

  • 2 tsp Poppy Seeds(Khas khas)

  • 1+ 1/2 tsp Melon Seeds (Charmagaj)

  • 3/4 tsp Fennel Seeds

  • 7-8 Black Pepper

  • 3 Green Cadamoms

  • A pinch Saffron(10-12)

  • 3-4 tbsp Sugar(as per taste)

  • 1 litre Chilled Milk(1/2 glass milk for each glass)

  • 1/2 Coconut Water(Or Plain Water) for each glass

  • Ice cubes(for serving)

How to make thandai at home with simple steps

  • Preparation
  • First I soak the nuts(almonds, pistachio, cashews) and melon seeds in a bowl for 8-10 hours, you can soak it overnight too. To get a quick soaking you can soak them in hot water for 1-2 hours. Soak the poppy seeds in another bowl at the same time.
  • First, peel out the almonds and pista skin, and place them in a grinder jar. Once almonds and pista skin easily come out that also indicates the nuts are perfectly soaked. 
  • Then add cashew, melon seeds, and poppy seeds(after draining water) in the same grinder jar.
  • Add fennel seeds, saffron, dry rose petals( or rose syrup), black pepper and cardamom seeds (I ground black pepper and cardamom seeds before putting them in the grinder jar), and 3-4 tsp sugar in the grinder. 
  • Blend them into a paste, though it will be a coarse paste first. Then add 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) of milk into the jar and blend again. You can blend it until get a smooth paste, in the meantime, you add some more water if needed for a smooth blending.
  • Our thandai masala is ready, can easily store it in the refrigerator for 1 week.
  • How to make thandai with simple step by step method
  • Method 1
  • For making each glass of thandai, take a blender, pour 4 tbsp of thadai masala in it, add 1/2 glass of milk(Pre boiled milk, kept in the refrigerator until chilled), 1/2 glass of coconut water or plain water(chilled or at room temperature) and blend them all. Even vegan can use same amount of almond milk instead of dairy milk.
  • Then taste the drink if not sweet enough add sugar (2-3 tsp sugar or sugar as per taste). Again grind them well and thandai is ready.
  • Serve in a glass with 2-3 ice cubes. Even for further serving pour the drink in a pitcher(no need to strain the thadai) and keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Method 2
  • Take 1 litre of milk(for making 4 glasses of thandai) in a pan, bring it to boil, and turn off the heat of the stove. Then add the homemade thandai masala paste and sugar( as per taste) in the hot milk and mix the paste well (make a lumb-free mixture).
  • Then cool it down, cover it and put it in the refrigerator until the drink is chilled (or keep it overnight), whenever you wish to have thandai, just take it out from the fridge, pour it in a glass and enjoy.

Notes

  • Can use any milk, toned milk, full cream milk or even vegans can use coconut milk or almond milk instead.
  • Even if you are a bengali, then can mix sandesh in thandai, how we make our delicious siddhi drink(Bengali bhang).
  • To get the best result must soak the nuts especially poppy seeds overnight at least 8-10 hours.

How to make thandai at home with simple steps

Preparation

I Soak the nuts(almonds, pistachio, cashews) and melon seeds in a bowl for 8-10 hours, we can soak it overnight too. To get a quick soaking you can soak them in hot water for 1-2 hours. Soak poppy seeds in another bowl for the same time.

First, peel out the almonds and pista skin, and place them in a grinder jar. Once almonds and pista skin easily come out that also indicates the nuts are perfectly soaked. 

Then add cashew, melon seeds, and poppy seeds(after draining water) in the grinder jar.

Add fennel seeds, saffron, dry rose petals( or rose syrup), black pepper and cardamom seeds(I ground both of them before putting them in the grinder jar), and 3-4 tsp sugar in the grinder. 

Blend them into a paste, though it will be a coarse paste first. Then add 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) of milk into the jar and blend again. You can blend it until get a smooth paste, in the meantime, you add some more water if needed for a smooth blending.

Our thandai masala is ready, can easily store it in the refrigerator for 1 week.

How to make thandai with simple step by step method

Method 1

For making each glass of thandai, take a blender, pour 4 tbsp of thadai masala in it, add 1/2 glass of milk(Pre boiled milk, kept in the refrigerator until chilled), 1/2 glass of coconut water or plain water(chilled or at room temperature) and blend them all. Even vegan can use same amount of almond milk instead of dairy milk.

Then taste the drink if not sweet enough add sugar (2-3 tsp sugar or sugar as per taste). Again grind them well and thandai is ready.

Serve in a glass with 2-3 ice cubes. Even for further serving pour the drink in a pitcher(no need to strain the thadai) and keep it in the refrigerator.

Method 2

Take 1 litre of milk(for making 4 glasses of thandai) in a pan, bring it to boil, and turn off the heat of the stove. Then add the homemade thandai masala paste and sugar( as per taste) in the hot milk and mix the paste well (make a lumb-free mixture).

Then cool it down, cover it and put it in the refrigerator until the drink is chilled (or keep it overnight), whenever you wish to have thandai, just take it out from the fridge, pour it in a glass and enjoy.

Make your this season thandai using any one of these 2 methods and enjoy Happy Holi To All… 

Tips

Though poppy seeds are the most important ingredient of making thandai you can skip it not available around. Then you can add more almond or cashew or pistachio to get the same creaminess though you will miss that nutty flavour and taste of poppy seeds.

Must grind the black pepper and cardamom seeds(not the whole cardamom pods) before adding in the grinder jar. Otherwise, if the spices are not properly ground then you have to strain the masala before serving.

Saffron is not mandatory it is just a fancy item so you can skip if not available at home.

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