Thandai powder is a perfect blend of nuts and spices. This powder when combined with milk gives you the most refreshing drink called Thandai, that is enjoyed in the Northern parts of India during the warm summer months and especially on the occasion of Holi.
Holi is a festival of colors, love and spring that brings back many childhood memories. It’s all about fun, frolic, and food. The best memories I have are playing with rainbow hued Gulal (coloured powder), friendly water balloon fights, between dancing and lots of laughter.
Thandai, as the name suggests, comes from the Hindi word ‘Thanda’ (cool). An age-old drink that, according to legend, is Lord Shiva’s beverage of choice, thandai was popularised in North India around early 1900s.
The traditional way to make this flavorful Thandai is by soaking the nuts and spices in milk or water overnight and then grinding using a grinding stone/ Mortar and pestle to a fine paste.
This paste is then mixed with more milk along with a few other ingredients to make the drink. In some places, people serve Bhang Thandai. It’s a potent alternative where Bhang (Cannabis) is infused in the drink.
Since most people have a busy lifestyle and time is a constraint, sometimes it’s difficult to plan and leave the nuts to soak overnight. It’s here that this easy Thandai masala comes to your rescue, and you can sip on a chilled drink in minutes.
Thandai Powder Ingredients
Thandai powder is filled with the goodness of natural ingredients that have a cooling effect and protect your body from the scorching heat. These are:
- Almonds - Loaded with healthy fats and antioxidant properties, they are a rich source of vitamin E.
- Cashews - Cashews are rich in fiber, heart-healthy fats, and protein.
- Pistachios - Pistachios are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Fennel seeds - They keep the body cool during summers, aid digestive system and cure flatulence.
- Poppy seeds - Rich in protein, fibre, calcium, fat, and minerals, they help relieve gastrointestinal irritation and boost the immune system.
- Melon seeds - They are a natural energizer.
- Dried Rose Petals - Rose petals contain phytochemicals and antioxidants
- Spices such as cardamom and peppercorn are known to boost immunity
Thandai is a soul-satiating drink that works as an amazing thirst-quencher, which is high on nutrient-value and has some great health benefits as below:
- It boosts immune function
- It can a help fight digestive issues such as bloating, constipation and indigestion.
- It keeps you full for longer and is a great energy booster
- it acts as a natural detoxifier
Therefore, making it a healthier option as compared to the other fizzy and sugary drinks available in the market.
Store-bought vs. Homemade Thandai Powder
You will be tempted to buy readymade Thandai Masala or syrup at the Indian Grocery store. Store-bought Thandai powder/ syrups contain color, artificial flavors and even sugar to extend its shelf life. Some of the brands of Thandai masala/ syrups available at the Indian grocery store are: Haldiram, Gopaljee, Guruji to name a few.
On the other hand, homemade Thandai powder is free from artificial colors and flavors. You know that you are using only natural ingredients to make this powder, which makes it nutritious. You can make the powder in small batches or as needed.
Would you still want to buy from the store when you can put this heathy recipe together in a few minutes? Let's learn how to make this Thandai Powder.
How to make Thandai Powder?
Thandai powder consists of three main components - nuts, seeds and spices/ aromatics.
The nuts that I use are Almonds, Cashews and Pistachios, all in equal quantity, half cup each.
In addition to the nuts, I like to use fennel seeds, poppy seeds and melon seeds, in equal quantity, two tablespoon each.
A few more spices that go into this mix are cardamom and black peppercorns. Accumulating all the ingredients is the main step for making this Thandai powder.
All the ingredients are easily available. The only ingredient I think could be a challenge are the melon seeds (or Charmagaz). You can find this at the Indian grocery store. If you are unable to find melon seeds, I suggest you use unsalted pumpkin seeds instead.
Just add all the ingredients to a blender or spice grinder. I used the Vitamix to grind the ingredients into a fine powder.
How can I use this Thandai Powder?
Besides making Thandai, you can add it to desserts like kheer, rabdi, Kulfi, ice cream, mousse, and even use it in baking if you want to try an exotic flavor!
Yes, this powder is dairy and gluten free. However, the Thandai drink is not Vegan. But you can easily make this drink vegan by substituting milk with Almond milk, coconut milk, or any other plant-based milk of your choice.
Some people like to soak the nuts and poppy seeds before grinding them to a paste. I prefer not to soak as the dry powder has a better shelf life.
The powder is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It stays fresh up to a month.
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For Thandai powder
Making Thandai Powder
- Add all ingredients for Thandai powder in a blender.
- Grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
Making Thandai Milk
- Heat milk in a saucepan. Once it comes to a boil, simmer and mix the thandai powder, sugar, and rose water. Turn off heat.
- Thandai is ready. If you like, you can strain the milk.
- Serve warm or cold. To serve cold, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 8 hours. Garnish with sliced pistachios, saffron and dried rose petals.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.