Monday, July 21, 2008

Thandai (Indian, flavoured milk)

Picture courtesy: Google images search
Thandai (Hindi) is a drink popular in many parts of India which is made by mixing almonds, spices, milk and sugar. It is often associated with the Holi festival. Some people like to mix Bhang with Thandai to get an intoxicating effect. Bhang is the leaf and flower of a female Cannabis sativa plant.

Traditionally, Thandai is served in a clay cup that keeps the drink cold and has an intoxicating fragrance to it. I miss those days in India. These days, all sorts of colorful glasses are popular and can be found in the market that can make the drink look prettier.

This recipe prepares Thandai without Bhang.

1 litre milk
30 almonds blanched
10 pistachios
6 tsps whole pumpkin/sunflower seeds (unsalted)
1 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed clove powder
3 tsps rose water (or orange water as a substitute)
Crushed ice
Few strands of Saffron
1/2 tbsp Saunf (Fennel seeds)
1 tbsp peppercorn

  1. Soak sugar in 1/2 litre of the milk used. Keep aside.
  2. Wash clean all other dry ingredients, except cardamom if using powder.
  3. Soak in 2 cups of remaining milk. Keep aside.
  4. Allow all soaked items to stand for at least 2 hours.
  5. Grind all soaked ingredients to a very fine paste. (not sugar)
  6. Use a stone grinder (manual or electric) if possible.
  7. When the paste is very fine, mix some milk.
  8. Place a strong muslin strainer over a large deep vessel. Or tie a strong muslin cloth over rim of vessel and use to strain.
  9. Press through muslin with back of palms, extracting the liquid into vessel.
  10. Add some more milk, a little at a time to extract more.
  11. Pour back some of the extract and press, repress.
  12. Repeat this process till the residue becomes dry and husk like.
  13. Add the rest of the milk, sugar and rosewater to the extracted liquid.
  14. If using cardamom powder mix it in with the milk.
  15. Mix well. Chill for a hour of two before serving.

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