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Thandai – A refreshing Milk Drink for Summer


“Mamma lets buy a rickshaw.”

A very specific and a very unique ask from Varun. Ever since our move Varun is fascinated with auto rickshaw’s and scooters – so much so that he insisted that we buy one this past weekend.

I took it lightly and it resulted in a crying fest. The only way I could console him is that we can’t buy one as I didn’t know how to drive one. And also that the stores are closed on the weekend.

Thandaai ingredients

On and on the discussion continued, sometimes appended with a ‘please’ and other times with cries. I was fed up not knowing how to change topics. So we decided to make something together. A thandai came up to my mind – a milk based drink with nuts, seeds and pepper. A touch of saffron adds to its taste and color. It’s usually made in summer and is THE drink for the festival of Maha Shivratri and Holi where it is spiked with Bhaang.

Thandaai being made in grinder

Varun helped me – rather created a mess with poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds. Then he helped me shell the cardamoms. A whirl in the grinder, the mix was ready. This powder can be stored in any cool place for weeks. Boiled with milk and then chilled for a few hours, this mix elevates plain milk into a creamy nutty drink. Replace with almond or soy milk to make it dairy free. It makes a refreshing snack on a hot summer day which is already making an appearance here.

Thandaai mix

Thandai Recipe

Makes 2 servings

For the Thandai mix

  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds or saunf
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 9 – 10 green cardamom shelled
  • 10 – 12 peppercorns

To Make the drink

  • 2 cups Milk ( Regular, soy or almond)
  • 4 tablespoons Thandai mix
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Few Saffron Strands

For garnish

1. Whirl the ingredients in the  Thandai mix in a coffee grinder or the small masala grinder till nuts are finely chopped and mixed well.

2. Boil milk with sugar, thandai mix and a few saffron strands. Let cool for 4 – 6 hours.

3. In the serving cup, put a dollop of gulkand or a few drops of rose-water. Add the cooled thandai. Garnish with chopped nuts and a pinch of saffron.

Serve immediately.

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