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Thandai: History, Benefits And A Simple Recipe To Make The Holi Drink At Home

Thandai: History, Benefits And A Simple Recipe To Make The Holi Drink At Home

A jar of almond milk with a spoon and almonds.

You may or may not like Holi but one thing that everyone loves is the food and drinks involved with the festival. We’re talking Puranpoli, Dahi Chaat, Sherbets and for this story specifically about Thandai, the spiced milk beverage that is an instant cool-me-down during hot lunch hours.
This Holi, sit back and learn about the fascinating history of Thandai and then go make a glass or two at home with our super simple recipe.

History And Benefits Of Thandai:

Holi, which falls in the month of Phalgun, is a celebration of the end of the winter season and the arrival of fertile spring that is symbolic of new life. Especially during Holi, Thandai is often mixed with bhang, a hallucinogen also known for its medical properties. Bhang-infused Thandai was first offered to Lord Shiva and is also popular during Mahashivratri. The first records of Thandai date back to 1000 BC, making it one of the oldest drinks in the country, if not the world.

In the northern states of the country, the temperature gets quite high during these months. Hence, to soothe one’s body temperature while playing in March heat, bhang is sometimes added in drinks like Thandai. During such periods of seasonal transition, the human immune system is believed to weaken. Not only does Thandai have fewer calories than regular milkshakes, it’s also a healthier option to alcohol. It helps cool the body and improves gut health in general.

Most of the ingredients used to make Thandai are known for their health properties. For example, fennel seeds are known for its antioxidants, anti-flatulence and cooling properties; rose petals have digestive properties; almonds are known as a rich source of Vitamin E and have cholesterol regulating effects.

How To Make Thandai At Home:


Full Cream Milk: 1 1/2 litres

Almonds blanched and peeled: 25

Cashewnuts soaked: 20

Pistachios blanched and peeled: 30

Melon seeds (magaz) soaked: 3 tbsp

Poppy seeds (khuskhus/posto) soaked: 3 tbsp

Saffron (kesar): a few strands

Sugar: 1 1/2 cups

Green cardamoms: 8-10

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Rose petals: 20-25

Cinnamon: 1-inch stick

Black peppercorns: 8-10


Step 1: Grind together almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, melon seeds and poppy seeds with a little milk to a fine paste. Bring milk to a boil in a pan. Add saffron and mix.
Step 2: When the milk begins to boil add sugar and simmer till the sugar dissolves. Grind green cardamoms, dried rose petals, cinnamon and black peppercorns to a fine powder.
Step 3: Add the paste to the milk and mix it well. Simmer for three to four minutes. Add the powdered masala to the milk and mix well. Chill the milk and serve.

So, now you know how to fix one for yourself that too in the comfort of your home! Make a glass of cool Thandai for yourself, and enjoy this Holi with a big swig of the drink.


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