Thandai recipe with step by step photos. A refreshing Indian cold and sweet drink made nuts, spices, and milk. This spiced milk is prepared during Holi, the Indian festival of colors.
What is Thandai?
Thandai is a refreshing Indian cold drink with milk that is prepared during the Holi season. It’s loaded with nutrients such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, and more. Furthermore, it’s flavored with aromatic spices such as cardamom, saffron, and rose water, and it’s best served chilled.
Variations of Thandai
Whole Milk or Almond Milk?
Traditionally, Thandai is prepared with whole milk and it tastes creamy and delicious, however since I prefer a lightened up version I love using almond milk instead. Alternately, cashew milk would well too. There was no weird aftertaste using almond milk, just make sure you’re using a quality brand. For this recipe, I used Malk Organics Unsweetened Almond Milk which only contains three ingredients.
Soaked Nuts or Dry Nuts?
You can choose to soak the nuts six hours prior to preparing the Thandai Powder. The end result will be in the form of a paste. I personally don’t see a big difference between soaking the nuts vs. using dried nuts, and so to save time, I used dried nuts.
Strain Thandai or not?
Again, straining the Thandai versus not is completely up to you. Personally, I love the little bits of nuts and seeds in every sip. With that said, if you choose to strain the drink, do so immediately after turning off the stove. Once you’re done straining it, add the rosewater extract and proceed to refrigerate.
Loaded with Nutrients
Vegan (you can use whole milk instead)
Paleo Option (see Notes below)
Perfect for Holi
Super Quick & Easy
How to make Thandai recipe step by step?
How to make Thandai Powder?
1. Add all the nuts and seeds to a coffee grinder.
2. Ground the nuts and seeds… your powder is ready.
How to make Almond Milk Thandai?
1. In a medium-size pot, heat up the almond milk along with the powder we just prepared in a pot. Whisk. Note: you can use dairy milk instead if you prefer.
2. Once the almond milk warms up, add a few strands of saffron. Whisk.
3. Add sugar and whisk some more. Turn off the stove once the almond milk is hot, not boiling.
4. At this time, add rose water extract. Note: If you’re using rose water extract, you need less. If you’re using actual rose water, you can use 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp – taste it and adjust flavor.
5. Transfer the spiced milk to a serving jar. Note: At this time if you’d like, you can strain the mixture. I prefer little bits in mine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or longer.
6. After 4 hours, here is your Vegan Thandai. Enjoy!
1. Garnish with edible dried roses and chopped pistachios.
ThandaiVegan, Gluten-Free, Healthy-ish, Paleo Option*
for the Thandai Powder
- 6 almonds
- 6 pistachios
- 6 cashew nuts
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 2 tsp melon seeds, charmagaz
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 3 black peppercorns
- 5 cardamom pods
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, I like Malk Organics
- 1/4 cinnamon stick
for Heating the Thandai
- all of the Thandai Powder
- pinch of saffron strands
- 2 tbsp sugar*
- 1/2 tsp rose water extract or 1/2 tbsp - 1 tbsp of rose water
- few dried rose petals
- few crushed nuts
Make the Thandai Powder
- Add all the nuts and seeds to a coffee grinder.
- Ground the nuts and seeds... this is Thandai Powder.
Make the Thandai
- In a medium-size pot, heat up the almond milk and Thandai powder in a pot. Whisk. Note: you can use dairy milk instead if you prefer.
- Once the almond milk warms up, add a few strands of saffron. Whisk.
- Add sugar and whisk some more. Turn off the stove once the almond milk is hot, not boiling.
- At this time, add rose water extract. Note: If you're using rose water extract, you need less. If you're using actual rose water, you can use 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp - taste it and adjust flavor.
- Transfer the Thandai to a serving jar. Note: At this time if you'd like, you can strain the Thandai. I prefer little bits in mine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or longer.
- After 4 hours, here is your Thandai. Enjoy!
- Garnish with edible dried roses and chopped pistachios.