BEVERAGE | THE INDIAN SUMMER COOLER
Thandai or Sardaee is an amazing traditional cooler of India. It is made during the Maha Shivratri & Holi.
Many Indian festivals mark the seasonal transitions. And Maha Shivratri & Holi signifies the onset of summer. Hence, the spice mixes have been designed to have a cooling effect & immense nutritious benefits. And most importantly, super tasty!
For the kids (and me!) who don’t enjoy the raw flavour of milk, this is the perfect cooler! The spice mix deliciously masks the milk flavor. Of course, the adults need to watch the consumption as it is high on sugar & fat content!
Bhang Thandai is very popular around Holi. What I have included here is the ‘Virgin Thandai’ recipe! I still need to experiment with the Bhang version. Will post it as soon as I nail it and remember after 😉
My most important Thandai tip is to have patience.. Yes, Patience! That’s the difference between Thandai & ‘THE THANDAI’. Read on to know why & how!
We super relished the chill, creamy, sweet, spicy, tasty cooler. In fact, Nalin (my husband), liked it so much, he replaced his breakfast with a tall glass of Thandai!
Considering it is a milk beverage, it has a low shelf-life. However, it is so tasty, that it doesn’t last in the shelf too long 😉
& a super simple tip to convert your already yummy Thandai to ‘Cosmic Yummy Thandai’.. right at the end of this article 😉
Spice Mix (For 1 Litre Milk)
Whole Peppercorns – 12
Khus Khus/ Poppy Seeds – 1.5 Tsp
Saunf / Fennel Seeds – 1 Tbsp
Magaz/ Melon Seeds – 2 Tbsp
Dried Rose Petals – 6-7 petals
Whole Raw Cashewnuts – 10
Raw Badams / Almonds – 25
Room Temperature Water (for Soaking)
For the Drink
Full Fat Milk – 1 Litre
Sugar – 1/2 cup ( More can be added to taste)
Cardamom Powder – 5-6 Pods
Kesar / Saffron Strands – 10 Strands (Soaked in a little milk)
Food Coloring – (1-2) Drops (Optional)
Rose Water / Rose Essence – 1/4 Tsp. (Optional)
Soaked Almond Slivers – (8-10)
Raw Pista Finely Sliced – (8-10)
Dry Rose Petals
Spice Mix Goodness!
- Soak the almonds in a bowl of water. This is NOT to be soaked with the rest of the ingredients
- Take another bowl & add the remaining spice ingredients (under spice mix). Mix it well
- Add water to the spice mix – just until the mixture is covered about an inch above the mixture
- Allow both almonds & the spice mixture to soak overnight or for (8-12 hours)
- After (8-12) hours, you will notice that the spice mixture has absorbed almost all the water
- There would be a bit of water left over. Don’t drain it. This is all the spice goodness! Use it to make the spice mix paste
- (Optional) I tend to remove the soaked rose petals out of the spice mix. I have noticed that the Thandai has a longer shelf life, when I remove the petals. However, you totally don’t have to.
- Peel the skin off the almond peels. Discard the almond soaked water
- Take a mixer jar. Add the peeled almonds & the entire spice mix to it
- Grind it until it becomes a creamy, fine, dense paste.
- The water in the spice mix should be enough to achieve this consistency. If not, add just a little water to it
- And voila, your Thandai spice paste is ready!
Alternate Jiffy Method
- If you are short on time or run out of Thandai (which most likely will happen 🙂 ), then you could follow this jiffy method for making the spice paste
- The process & the ingredients remain the same. The only difference is the soaking process & time
- Instead of room temperature water, soak the almonds and the spice mix in warm water.
- Soak it for a minimum of 30 minutes or more
- Follow the rest of the process as mentioned above
- Of course, if you have time, then you MUST soak it overnight. The taste of such Thandai is supreme!
The Making of Thandai
- Add about 2-3 spoonful of warm milk to the Kesar strands. Allow it to sit for about 5-10 mins
- In a deep bottomed vessel, add the full fat milk & bring it to a boil
- Add around 1/2 cup sugar, cardamom powder, soaked Kesar (along with the milk)
- Reduce the flame to low
- (Optional) If you prefer the yellow Thandai, add a couple drops of yellow food coloring. Although, I leave it au naturel.
- Add the spice mix paste to it and stir it well
- Check the sweetness after all the ingredients have been added
- If the sweetness is low then add sugar accordingly
- It is ok to make it a level sweeter. As it is cooled, the sweetness will settle down
- (Optional) You can add a couple of drops of rose water for flavoring
- Switch off the gas and take the milk off the heat
- Allow the Thandai to cool down
- Transfer it to a clean glass jar or a steel vessel
- Cover it well and refrigerate it
And Now.. Wait!
- Leave the mixture in the refrigerator overnight / (8-12 hours) or even for a day
- As the mixture settles down, Thandai gets a beautiful mature flavor
- Soak (8-10) almonds for about 2 hours. Peel the almond skin & cut out fine almond slivers
- After around 8-12 hours, take the Thandai out of the refrigerator
- Unstrained: I prefer tasting all the goodness in the Thandai. Hence, if you enjoy the gritty texture, then don’t strain it. Add the finely slivered almonds into it. Stir it well
- Strained: However, many also prefer it strained & clean. Hence, strain the Thandai using a fine sieve. Squeeze dry all the goodness of the Thandai mixture. Transfer the mixture into a clean glass/steel vessel and add the finely slivered almonds into it. Stir it well
- Then, cover it well & leave it back in the refrigerator, until ready to be consumed
- Firstly, soak the Pista for about 30 mins. Slice the Pista into fine pieces
- And then, keep the Kesar strands handy. For garnish
- Moreover, you can also add dried rose petals
- Tip: Since the Thandai is not very dense, don’t make the Pista slices too thick. They will sink!
- Since Thandai is a milk based drink, it is very important to store it well. Especially since it’s summer
- Always use clean, dry bowls & serving spoons
- And, don’t store the Thandai in plastic bowls. They will curdle faster
- Always use ceramic, glass or steel bowls & serving spoons
- And keep the bowls covered with a lid or cling film
- You don’t want something accidentally falling and spoiling the Thandai
- This also helps avoid the remnant food odors being transferred to Thandai
- Always keep the Thandai refrigerated. In fact, take it out only when ready to be served
- Once the service is over, immediately store the rest back in the refrigerator
- Actually, the taste matures beautifully with time. Hence, allow it to sit in as long as possible
- Moreover, this drink is best served chilled
- And if it is an outdoor party, keep the Thandai on an ice bath
- Recommended Glassware: Tall Glasses, Steel Tumblers & Kulhads work best. If you are serving it at a party, then use tall disposable cups
- As far as possible, don’t pour the Thandai into the glasses well in advance
- To sum up, the golden rule is to serve as close to consumption as possible
- Garnish it with Kesar, Pista & Rose Petals as desired
SUPER YUMMY TIP
- This Thandai is super delicious on its own!
- However, if you wish to add an extra zing, follow this simply superb tip
- Add a dash of the ‘Guruji’ brand Kesaria Thandai Concentrate & rose flavored Rooh Afza to your serving
- Pour the Thandai & stir well
- Be very sparing with both – since the flavors of Thandai concentrate & Rooh Afza are very strong & intensely sweet
- Enjoy the Cosmic Yummy Thandai!
Indeed, the mantra is simple – Holi or No Holi, enjoy this all summer cooler!1