Tuesday, March 26, 2013

thandai : the quintessential holi drink | recipe of easy homemade thandai ...

Homemade thandai and easy? Yes. It takes just under 5 minutes to soak the ingredients and then another 10 minutes to make a paste after the soaking time. A concentrate of thandai is ready to be refrigerated and used as required. Add milk and enjoy thandai any time you like.

You must have come across Haldiram's Thandai or Mishrambu that is manufactured in Banaras. These bottles of thandai concentrate fly off the shelves of supermarkets and small shops alike during holi season. Thandai is a cooling drink to be enjoyed all over summer, but holi is the time when we start having thandai officially.

I had been planning to post a thandai for very long. Last year I made thandai after holi, took pictures too but that couldn't come to the blog. This time I thought let's treat you with this refreshing aromatic drink for the festival of holi. The bhang plant grows in my garden, it self seeds every year and I use it whenever required. For bhang waali thandai, there is nothing better than freshly plucked bhang (Cannabis leaves). Though nicely dried leaves are very aromatic as well.  Use dried leaves if you want.

Here is what you need for making about 10 glasses of thandai...


2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp khuskhus or poppy seeds
1/2 cup of cashew nuts
1/4 cup of almonds
about 15 whole peppercorns (you can mix black and white peppercorns both)
1 tbsp dried rose petals
a generous pinch of saffron threads
about 2-3 tbsp of chaar magaz (melon seeds) is also added to this mix, I didn't have it this time

1/2 cup of sugar (or to taste)

Since I have some fresh bhang (cannabis leaves) growing in my garden, I used that too to make a bhang waali thandai, used 10 leaves to make 2 glasses of the green bhang waali thandai.

9-10 glasses of chilled full fat milk will be required to dilute the concentrate to make fresh chilled thandai.


Soak all ingredients except milk and bhang leaves in about a cup of water or to submerge them all well. A minimum 2 hours of soaking will be good.

Blend in your mixie or food processor to make a smooth paste. Add the sugar too while blending the mixture.

Empty in a jar with lid as this is the concentrate to be refrigerated. If making fresh thandai for immediate use, dilute with chilled milk, blend again if you want it frothy and serve. Otherwise, take 2-3 tbsp of the concentrate, dilute with chilled milk to make a glass of thandai and serve.

To the same concentrate mix of thandai, add bhang leaves as required and blend again. Refrigerate or dilute immediately to make bhaang waali thandai. The regular thandai is also called kesaria thandai due to the use of saffron in it.

 If the kesaria thandai doesn't look enough yellow (kesari), don't worry. The blended saffron threads keep releasing color into the concentrate mix and make it quite yellow the next day..see how it releases color after just 5 minutes of blending..Adjust sweetening as per taste.

Bhang waali thandai has a very aromatic flavor of bhang, something relished by those who love it.

The Kesaria thandai has a prominent flavor of saffron, fennel and a mild hint of peppercorns. Richly nutty of course.

The amazing thing is, these hot peppercorns are cooling in nature when ground with water and taken with cold milk. The other ingredients are all cooling in nature as well.

 Now you realise how easy it is to make thandai at home. It doesn't take much time or effort as well.

Happy holi to you all and please do let me know whenever you try this recipe.



  1. i'm missing all this.. no festivities in bangalore :-( no gujiya no colors!! and now I will make thandai :-)

  2. A perfect drink for tomorrows holi, can feel the effect of bhang right from here..........

  3. My Dad also used to make thandai from scratch during Holi get together (back home in Bkk), minus the bhaang! Only one time, like 15 years ago, my mom dared to bring bhaang ki goli from India (Dad wanted for Holi!)...luckily rules on airports were not so strict back then :P :D

    You have a bhang plant in your garden Sangeetaaa ... I would be high everyday if I had one in mine ;-)

  4. Nice click and for the first time I knw what 'bhang' looks like :)

  5. I want - Iwant.. This is sheer torture.... What if one does not have rose petals? Any substitute for that? Wishing you both a very Happy Holi!!

    1. Use gulabjal if you don't have rose petals. :-)

  6. happy holi! i added some pistachios for that hint of green ;) and love to add pepper too...

  7. Makes me drool..tempting...Happy Holi..

  8. Can we add vodka instead of bhang

    1. Lol.. Only this was left to try! I guess milk will spoil if you use vodka.