This Thandai is my childhood in a glass! Get ready to slurp away and wipe milk mustaches off your face coz it’s THAT delicious!! It is easy to make but you must stick to the recipe to get the right balance of flavours! Make homemade thandai for holi or just on any summer’s day!
As a North Indian, Thandai was a summer staple in my house, especially during holi. So this recipe is also super nostalgic for me 🙂
It does much more than just refresh you. Take a swig of chilled thandai and you’ll be awash with the feeling of cool deliciousness and you'll be craving for more! There are plenty of readymade options available but nothing beats this homemade thandai recipe!
Thandai is a simple summer milk and dry fruit based beverage with lots of aromatics like rose petals and saffron added to elevate flavours. It’s super popular in North India and traditionally served during Holi - the festival of colours! True to its name, Thandai has a cooling effect on the body, and of course, the flavours are irresistible!
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Ingredients in Thandai Masala
For those distinct Thandai flavours, you’ll need cashews, blanched almonds, raisins, melon seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, and peppercorns! The dry fruits make the drink thick and rich and add oomphs of flavour! Poppy seeds are notorious for their sleep-inducing properties (it feels gooood), and peppercorns cut through the sweetness and give the drink that hit of heat it needs. Grind these ingredients together to make a DRY semi-coarse powdery thandai masala.
Cooking Milk For Thandai
Thandai is made with boiled and sweetened milk. It’s a simple process and not at all technical. Boil the milk and mix sugar and thandai masala so it gets incorporated well. Adding saffron gives it that unmistakable sunshine yellow colour! And don’t forget those few drops of rose water for a full sensory experience!
Tips to Keep In Mind While Making Thandai
- To extract the colours of saffron well, soak it in HOT MILK for a while
- Use good quality nuts and dry fruits because they make up most of the flavours of thandai
- It’s important to extract all the flavours from the masala before straining it. With this method, we’ve ensured full extraction of flavours. So just follow my lead 🙂
- DO NOT grind the thandai masala with water. This is a dry powder like masala.
- You can make the masala 1-2 days ahead, and use it as and when required!
- Refrigerate this special holi drink for at least 3-4 hours, it tastes best when chilled
Go all out while serving thandai and add your favourite toppings!
- Add a scoop of ice cream on top and serve it like a semi-sundae
- If you’re a rose water lover and can’t get enough, go ahead and add a few drops of rose syrup. You can even garnish it with edible rose petals
- You can garnish this summer drink with chopped almonds, pistachios, cashews, and raisins
- A pinch of nutmeg powder cuts through the sweetness and adds a toasty nutty flavour
- During Holi, it’s customary to spike Thandai with ‘Bhang’ or edible cannabis and chug it all through the party! Are you up for it??
Serve SUPER CHILLED thandai in matkas (tumblers made of clay) for your Holi partaaay!
More Chilled Beverages for the Summer:
- Apple Iced Tea
- White Wine Sangria
- Creamy Mango Lassi
- Chilled Cucumber Soup
- Strawberry Pepper Gin & Tonic
Watch How to make Thandai Recipe Video
Chilled Thandai made from scratch
- 10 - 12 Almonds blanched and peeled
- 10 - 12 Cashews
- 10 - 12 Raisins
- 10 - 12 Cardamom Pods
- 25 - 30 Black Peppercorns
- 1 Teaspoon Poppy Seeds
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Fennel Seeds
- 2 Teaspoons Melon Seeds
- 3 Cups Whole Milk use full fat for best results
- 2 Pinches Saffron
- ⅓ Cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Rose Water
- Grind all the masala ingredients to a coarse powder and set aside.
- Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Once the milk boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer.
- Meanwhile, crush the saffron in a bowl. Add a ladle full of hot milk to it, and set aside to use later.
- Add all the thandai masala to the pot of simmering milk and mix. Continue to heat on low and add the sugar. Keep stirring and cooking till the sugar dissolves, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the flame and allow the milk mixture to rest for 30 minutes.
- Add the saffron milk mix and the rosewater to the thandai milk pot and combine. Allow to rest for another 30 minutes.
- Strain the milk into a bottle or jug using a fine sieve or strainer. Press down the masala in the strainer using the back of a spoon to ensure you extract as much of the masala flavour as possible.
- Chill the thandai in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Always serve chilled!