Trying to kill two birds with one stone. Here is a post that is the first among a series of posts that will follow through to the colorful festival of Holi. Thandai is specific to Holi, however, this nutty, spicy, aromatic beverage makes for a great drink for those celebrating Valentines Day. Spices are so integral to Indian way of cooking that you will find them in savories, sweets, pickles, chutneys and our drinks. And why not?! They give every dish a boost in taste and health, taking them to the next level i.e. if they are used judiciously and in the right amount. Balance is the key when using spices especially ones that are bitter or really intense such a turmeric or asafoetida. ‘A little goes a long way’ is the mantra one needs to follow.

Coming back to the Thandai, also called as Sardai, it is consumed chilled as a beverage on the festival of Holi and also Maha Shivratri. Another version that is popular among some, is the Bhaang Thandai which makes use of cannibis leaves that is used along with other ingredients for making thandai.

I have however, turned the drink into a latte and it became my nightcap of sorts through the winters. The spices and nuts give it a rich flavour and make it a beautiful and comforting beverage for chilly winters. Feel free to reduce or increase the amount of which ever ingredient you wish to, to suit your taste.

Here is the amount of ingredients I had used for this delicious hot beverage 🙂

12 Almonds

12 Cashews

12 Pistachios

1 tbsp Melon seeds

20 – 25 Black Pepper corns

2 tsp Poppy Seeds (white poppy seeds are used for this beverage)

1 tsp Fennel seeds

1/3 C Water

½ tsp Cardamom powder

1 pinch Saffron plus extra for garnish

3 tbsp Milk

1 tsp Cornflour

3 tbsp Milk

4 – 5 tsp Sweetner of your choice (I had used agave nectar)

600 ml Milk (dairy or non dairy)

Wash and soak the first seven ingredients in one third cup water, over night.

Soak saffron in a three tablespoons milk. Set aside for atleat an hour. (the longer the better)

Grind the soaked seven ingredients, along with the water, to a smooth paste.

Heat milk and add the saffron milk to it along with the paste.

Stir well and simmer on low heat for 5 – 7 minutes. Stir every now and then.

Mix the cornflour well in remaining three tablespoons milk and add gradually to the simmering milk, stirring all the while.

Add cardamom powder and simmer further for a minute.

Switch off the heat and add sweetener of your choice.

(You can sieve the milk before serving or you can serve it as it is.)

If you like the milk frothy, you can whisk it using a hand whisk or an electric mixer or perhaps an immersion blender.

Pour in serving glasses and garnish with finely chopped pistachios and slivered almonds and a few threads of saffron (garnish is optional)

(Don’t forget to check the ‘NOTES’ below)

Note – Since we do not like rose flavor, so I gave rose petals a miss. Feel free to use it if you enjoy the flavors of rose. And if you do not have rose petals then swap it with gulkand (rose petal preserve).

Note – We like just a subtle hint of fennel therefore I used one teaspoon of fennel seeds. Go for 2 tsp if you like to have pronounced flavors.

Note – Also, once the latte is ready, I prefer to set it aside for 15 – 20 minutes for flavors to infuse really well. Then reheat it before serving.

Note – I had removed the skin of almonds before making the paste.

Serves – 5 (120 ml each)

Thanks for your visit. See you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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