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Thandai is a traditional Indian milk based drink served cold. It is made by blending almond paste with other spices like cardamom, black pepper, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, melon seeds, saffron and mixing in milk. Holi announces beginning of summer in India and Thandai is consumed on Holi to cool off the body especially after playing with colours all day and relishing festive sweets and snacks.

I must admit that when I first tried it, I wasn't sure how it would turn out. But to my surprise, it turned out amazing in the very first trial.

It tastes much much better than the store bought thandai mixture and the best part is you can add more or less spices and modify it according to your taste. Some people like it hot and add more black pepper while others prefer more prominent flavour of fennel in it.

Having lived in Rajasthan, this delicious and aromatic thandai drink made with  cooling ingredients like poppy seeds, melon seeds and fennel kept the body cool and protected us from heat strokes. Almonds give instant energy and spices like cardamom, pepper and saffron not only increases the flavour and makes this drink distinctive and wonderfully aromatic but also increases immunity and helps in better digestion.

I am yet to come across a drink like this which is rich,energetic,aromatic and cooling all at the same time. Its a perfect drink for summers and great for entertaining guests too.

Thandai, traditional Indian milk based drink made with almonds and other spices

Type: Beverage
Diet: Vegetarian
Serving : 4-5 glasses


4 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 Tbsp melon seeds
4 Tbsp fennel seeds
7-8 cardamom pods
20 whole black pepper corn
1/2 tsp saffron strands
30 whole almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 litre boiled and chilled milk


Soak poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, black pepper, melon seeds for 4 hours and blend into a paste adding little water.

Strain this spice paste through a sieve and grind the remaining pulp again with the help of more water. Strain the spice paste again and discard the remaining pulp.

Soak almonds for 4 hours separately and grind into a smooth paste with the help of tiny amount of water.

Mix almond paste, saffron and sugar in spice paste.

Now add this in chilled milk.

Garnish with sliced pistachios and saffron.

Serve cold.

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