Recipe type: drink
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
Thandai means "that which cools" in Hindi and is a cold milk based drink made with sugar, almonds and spices. The spice mix used in thandai can vary quite a bit from one recipe to another, but mostly contain saffron, cardamom, fennel seeds, black and/ or white pepper and melon seeds (sometimes a mix of 4 different melon seeds called charmagaz). This drink, an excellent summer cooler, is popular in the northern part of India and served as an offering to Lord Shiva during Shivarathri and during the colourful festival of Holi.
  • 1 liter full fat milk (I use 3% fat)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • A few strands of saffron
  • some slivered pistachios and a few saffron strands for garnishing
Grind into a fine powder:
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoon white poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 2 tablespoon melon seeds (magaz)
  • 2 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • seeds from 6 or 7 green cardamom pods
  1. Add the sugar to the milk, stir to dissolve the sugar completely and bring to a boil. Take the sweet milk off the heat and add the saffron strands. Allow the milk to cool to room temperature.
  2. Add the powdered almond-spice mixture to the milk and stir well. Refrigerate this for about 4 to 6 hours. This allows the flavors to infuse into the milk. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Add the rose water and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.
  3. Serve chilled after garnishing with slivered pistachios and a few strands of saffron.
Recipe by Food Writer Friday at