Thandai is a traditional Indian beverage just like kadha. While kadha is tea based and vegan, thandai can be both vegan or vegetarian depending on milk used.We make it nuts, rose water, fennel and kesar or saffron. It is a cool drink for a hot spring - summer. Some people also call it as Shardai/sardai. It is very popular in North India, especially Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Most of us have seen tall bottles of Mishrambu or Guruji back home even in kirana stores. Now that I am far away, it is time to make my own.
what is thandai powder?
Thandai powder recipe is quite simple. You can make it at home and store it in a dry air-tight jar for a long run. Enjoy a chilled glass of milk in summer whenever you want. Its time to ditch the cola and get back to your roots. You can make a dry masala and store in an air-tight jar. Use it to make Thandai or shardai anytime.
What is shardai?
Shardai is a drink which uses spices with milk in perfect unison. The spice powder and nuts make a great combination. It has a rich flavor. The cooling of fennel is a perfect match to the heat of pepper corns. Richness of nuts is balanced with delicate nature of rose, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, poppy seeds and saffron.
When do we drink thandai?
India is a land of festivals. Each festival comes with new flavor. People love to drink it during Maha shivratri and Holi . Both these festivals are celebrated in Feb-March each year. Weather starts to change from winter to spring. Days start getting hotter and longer. Nights get shorter & warmer. Mahashivratri marks the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, as per Hinduism. Holi is the festival of colors in March. It is associated with Shri Krishna and Radha Rani. We celebrate it with grand fervor across India. This is a riot of colors. Especially in Brindavan, Barsana and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. We love to recharge with sweets and snacks. Most people play with colors all day long. After all, you need to recharge the belly too. Holi can never be complete without gujiya, malpua and sardai.
Does thandai contain bhang?
Normal sardai is non-intoxicating. It is only made with powdered nuts, fennel and saffron. You will find it across the gullies of Banaras as Bhole bhandari's Lord Shiva's prasad. People drink it with both with and without 'bhang'.Bhang is a mix of cannabis leaves which cause mild intoxication. It is served only at legally permit shops. However, that is not for us. Here is a recipe, which you can easily make at home minus the bhang. It is better than using thandai syrup from market as you can control the sugar in your drink.
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Ingredients for dry thandai masala
Khuskhus - Poppy seeds
Saunf - Fennel seeds
Dalchini - Cinnamon
Elaichi - Cardamom
Jaifal - Nutmeg
safed mirch - white pepper
Dry fruit mix
Kesar - Saffron strands
Pista - Pistachio
Dried rose petals
Badam - Almonds
Kaju - Cashews
how to make thandai powder at home?
- Toast spices in a pan at a low flame without oil. Keep it aside to cool. Grind them once cool.
2. Grind nuts and rose petals in a dry grinder to make the nut mix.
3. Mix the nut mix with ground spices and grind again.
4. For best natural color, boil milk along with saffron and sugar as per your taste. Chill it and then add the thandai powder. Mix well and serve in the next few hours. You may keep this in the fridge overnight.
Read the dry powder recipe below:
- grinder to prepare masala
- saucepan to toast the spices and boil milk later
Thandai spice mix:
- 1 tablespoon ‘saunf’ or fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon ‘khuskhus’ or poppy seeds optional
- 1 piece ‘dalchini’ or cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ‘jaiphal’ or nutmeg powder
- 8-10 white peppercorns optional
- 1 teaspoon elaichi powder or cardamom powder
- ½ cup almonds Soaked overnight or in hot water for 2 hours.Peeled
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup pistachios
- ¼ cup rose petals
- 2 ltr milk
- 8-10 strands of ‘kesar’ or saffron
- Sugar as per taste
How to make thandai Masala powder
- Toast the spices in a pan and let it cool.
- Grind the spices for the thandai powder.
- Grind the nuts with rose petals.
- Mix both the nut and spice powder and grind again. Store in an air-tight container.
How to serve thandai
- Boil milk along with saffron and sugar. Let it chill until cold.
- Add the thandai masala to cold milk. Serve immediately with chopped nuts and rose petals optionally.
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