How to Make Thandai/ Thandai from homemade Sugarfree Thandai Powder/Instant Thandai
Thandai…call it God’s Drink or Instant Energizer or Summer Coolant.
Though associated with festivals like Holi and Shivratri, Thandai is a preferred drink throughout summers.
Holi, festival of colours, is incomplete without thandai and gunjias.
Thandai is a popular traditional summer drink in North India and Rajasthan since ages.
I, being a Delhiite, have seen it since my childhood. Yes, seen it as I was not fond of it initially but later on developed a great liking for it.
As the flavour of spices is dominant in it, it used to be my Father in Law’s favourite drink. Almost twice to thrice a week, he used to have it, though any time of the day but preferably in the night, as it induces good sleep.
Traditionally, Thandai was made by grinding dry ingredients on stone (mortar and pestle) using little water at a time. Soaking this in water for few hours, then straining it through a cloth and lastly mixing with chilled milk. Very elaborate and time-consuming process. But it tasted Divine.
My husband has done all this in his childhood with my mother-in-law. Even today he gets nostalgic remembering those days.
But today, do we have the time and energy to do so? Probably, No.
That’s why we look for some easy version, not compromising on the taste also.
But wait, any idea what does this name Thandai mean?
Well, ‘Thand’ meaning cold, Thandai, therefore, meaning something which gives coldness. Hence, ideal to cool our bodies in scorching heat.
It is a drink which cools and refreshes not only our body but also our minds.
Thandai gives us protection from hot winds (loo) and nosebleeds because of so many cooling ingredients present in it. But what are these cooling ingredients?
Thandai is actually prepared with a mixture of milk, nuts, seeds and spices, flavoured with rose water or kewra water….and is therefore considered to be God’s drink also and hence similar to nectar.
It is a wonderful summer drink with enormous health benefits. All the ingredients of Thandai seem to be well thought of and researched for before mixing them. Shall we quickly have a look at in what ways we are benefitted by it…so that next time when we drink it we enjoy it all the more.
First of all, Milk: which is the basic ingredient of Thandai, is a complete food in itself, full of Calcium, Protein and Vitamin C. Also, chilled milk is a very good antacid also.
Almonds: the best tonic for brain and heart and also known for its antioxidant properties
Fennel Seeds: Cools the body immensely plus a wonderful antioxidant as well antiflatulent.
Watermelon seeds: again cools the body and a storehouse of Energy, Protein, Iron and Vitamins
Saffron: the Divine spice, that not only imparts lovely colour but also prevents from arthritis and cancer and also improves vision.
Rose Petals: Cools the body, cures insomnia, nervous weakness and digestion problems.
Peppercorns: the king of spices, is an antibacterial and rich source of iron, potassium, Vitamins and Dietary Fiber.
I am sure, now you are even more tempted to have it.
One thing more, I used this thandai powder in my Rasmalai cake and trust me, it worked wonders. The taste of the cake was augmented many times. Kulfi made with this Thandai powder is full of flavours and aroma.
Today, Thandai syrups are easily available in the market but they contain a lot of sugar, hence pose a restriction especially for people having higher sugar levels.
And making a fresh paste on the stone is also not practical especially when there are only two people to drink… me and my husband. And I guess, the time constraint is also there.
In that case, Thandai powder is a wonderful option.
Making Thandai from Thandai powder has its own benefits. Topmost is that you can control the amount of sugar as per your needs and taste. In place of sugar, you can add jaggery powder or honey or even dates to it. Thus, you can say that this thandai powder is diabetic friendly.
Also, you can adjust the quantity of peppercorns and other spices. And lastly, yes gets ready in a jiffy.
So, lets quickly have a look at the recipes of both Thandai Drink as well of Thandai Powder…
1 Cup (200 ml) Chilled Milk
1 Tbsp Thandai Powder (See Below)
1/2 Tbsp Honey/Sugar as per taste/Stevia Powder/Any other Sugar substitute
4-5 Ice Cubes
3-4 strands Saffron
1-2 Tsp Lukewarm Milk
1/2 Tsp Kewra Water/ Rose Water
Pinch of Green Cardamom Powder
1-2 Tsp Slivered Almonds
- Put Saffron in 1 teaspoon lukewarm milk and press it with a pestle or spoon to extract its lovely colour.
- Mix thandai powder with 2 tablespoon milk in the blender and make a fine paste of it.
- Now add remaining chilled milk, honey/stevia powder and saffron milk in the blender and blend for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add ice cubes and Kewra/Rosewater and again blend it for 30 seconds or so.
- Top with Cardamom powder (optional), slivered almonds and serve.
- You can make Thandai in advance and chill in the refrigerator. But ensure to blend for few seconds before serving as the powder settles down and also to make it frothy.
- You can make thandai paste and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Then just mix thandai paste with chilled milk and honey and enjoy your thandai.
- You can sweeten it with honey or jaggery powder or even dates or sugar.
- Some people like to pass it through a sieve before serving but in my family, we enjoy as it is without straining.
- Ensure to add Kewra / Rosewater as it enhances the flavour multiple times.
Yields: 200 g approx.
1/4 Cup (60 gms) Almonds
2 Tbsp (60 gms) Green Pistachio
2 Tbsp (30 gms) Melon Seeds (Magaz)
3 Tbsp ( 30 gms) Poppy Seeds (khuskhus)
4 Tbsp ( 30 gms) Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
2 Tsp (10 gms) Peppercorns (kali mirch)
15-16 (10 gms) Green Cardamom (chhoti elaichi)
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg Powder (Jaifal)
1 Tsp Rose Petals, dried
- Heat a pan and lightly dry roast almonds and pistachios. Though you can use the nuts without roasting also but roasting augments their flavour.
- Put all the ingredients, except almonds, in the grinder and grind finely.
- Grind Almonds into a fine powder. For grinding almonds, use the ‘pulse’ key 4 to 5 times and not the regular method.’This is because if run the usual way then almonds release oil and the powder becomes little mushy instead of being totally dry
- Mix almond powder into it and pass through a sieve.
- Grind the coarse powder left in the sieve once again.
- Again pass it through a sieve.
- Repeat this process till you get a fine powder.
- Store it in an airtight container.
- Grind almonds separately because if run longer they become moist as their oil is extracted.
- Even after passing through sieve 3-4 times, you may be left with little coarse powder (1 tsp or so). Soak it in milk for some time and add to your thandai later.
- Melon seeds are ideally a mix of 4 seeds… watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber and pumpkin. In case you don’t get these then go for any one or two.
- Some people prefer white peppercorns also but I don’t use it as it is very strong.
- I don’t mix saffron while making powder as its beautiful colour is lost then.
- You can increase or decrease the quantity of spices as per your preference.
- I have not mixed sugar in this. If you want, you can add sugar and grind it along with other spices.
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