Thandai is a North Indian festive drink, especially popular around Holi and Maha Shivratri. This milk based beverage is made of exotic ingredients like almonds, pistachios and poppy seeds. Its flavor is further enhanced by the aromatic spices namely  green cardamom and saffron. It is served as a refreshment when people are tired of throwing colors at each other on Holi. In some traditions, thandai is sometimes intoxicated with bhaang (
Cannabis sativa ) and is called Bhaang ki Thandai or Shardai. Here I’m sharing the regular recipe. To learn more about Holi, please check here .


I often make thandai during summer time here in Colorado, not necessarily on Holi as most of the times it is really cold. Since Thandai is best enjoyed when chilled, so I have to wait for the temperatures to go high. This year weather looks good around Holi, so I’m all set to relish it soon!



Course : Appetizer
Makes: 2 cups
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Refrigeration time :  2 hours



You will need:


2 cups milk (your choice ), boiled and chilled


Thandai Paste:


2 tbsps almonds
1 tsp melon seeds ( magaz)
1 tsp Poppy seeds ( khus khus )
8  green cardamoms ( elaichi )
4-6 black peppercorns


4 tbsp powdered sugar ( or as per taste )
few saffron strands ( optional )
1 tsp pistachio ( crushed )





  • Boil the milk and let it cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile soak the almonds, melon seeds, black pepper corns, green cardamoms and poppy seeds in about 1/4 cup of water for about 2 hours.
  • Peel the almonds. Grind all the above wet ingredients in a mixer to get a smooth paste. You may use the water used for soaking.
  • To the chilled milk, add sugar and the above paste and mix well.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Chill the thandai. Garnish with crushed pistachios and saffron strands. It’s ok if you do not wish to strain.
  • Serve chilled and enjoy.


Health Benefits


Thandai has a cooling effect on body. It provides instant energy to a tired body especially during hot, summer days. The spices used in its preparation have digestive properties.
Happy Holi everyone !

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