Thandai is a cool drink, traditionally associated with the festivals of Mahashivarathri and Holi. Chill out and enjoy!

Prep time: 120 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 150 min
Yield: Serves 4


Almonds : 1/3 cup
Cashew nuts : 2 tbsp
Poppy seeds (khus khus/kasa kasa) : 1 tbsp
Melon seeds (magaz) : 2 tbsp
Black peppercorns (kali mirch/milagu) : 3/4 tsp
Fennel seeds (saunf) : 1/2 tsp
Green cardamom pods (elaichi/elakkai) – seeds only : 5
Nutmeg – freshly grated : 1/4 tsp
Organic sugar/jaggery (adjust to taste) : 12 tbsp
Milk : 1.5 ltr
Water : 3/4 cup
Edible rose water or rose essence OR 1 Tsp. dried rose petals : 1/2 tsp
Saffron (kesar/kumkuma poo) : a few strands
Pistachios (crushed) : 1 fistful



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  • Rinse the poppy seeds in water thrice to remove any sand or stones.
  • Separately soak almonds, melon seeds, and poppy seeds in water for 2 hours. Then peel the almonds. Drain melon seeds and poppy seeds.
  • Boil the milk and stir in the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Grind the peeled almonds, poppy seeds, melon seeds, cashew nuts, fennel seeds, pepper corns, green cardamom seeds, and nutmeg powder to a paste. Add 1/4 cup of water and grind further to a smooth paste.
  • Add the ground paste to the milk-sugar mixture and mix well. Cover it with a lid and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Now strain the mixture. Keep the strained milk aside. To the residue (almond spice mixture), add 1/2 cup water and grind again. Then strain this mix and add the strained liquid to the milk. Add saffron strands and rose water and mix again. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  • 7. Pour in glasses. Top with crushed pistachios, slivered almonds, and a few saffron strands. Serve chilled.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on an excerpt from the February 2015 issue of Forest Flower. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.