July 22, 2013

spiced chilled almond milk thandai

Thandai

I'm guessing if it is as hot as it is here in D.C., you will probably be like me thinking of all sorts of ways to cool off. At this point, getting wet while watering the garden is turning out to be a pleasant experience! There are more convenient and better ways to chill in this hot and humid weather, one being this delicious drink from Northern India. Thandai, as it is commonly called is a chilled drink mildly laced with delicious fragrant spices served on hot summer days and during Holi - the festival of color. 

Almond milk and sunflower seeds

Thandai spice mix

All the spices ground to prepare the thandai are aromatic that contribute distinctive tastes but they somehow magically come together. The licorice-like taste of fennel with the green cardamom seeds provide the sweet flavor for the background to the drink while the peppercorn and cloves lend a refreshing taste. It is best to use good quality and fresh spices when preparing the blend to get a delicious tasting batch of thandai. I've modified and adapted the recipe from Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking cookbook. 

Thandai glassful

Though, I have used almond milk to prepare the thandai, traditionally you would use chilled milk or water. However, I find the flavors of the spices to be much more delicate and balanced when almond milk or milk are used. I also prefer my final drink to be less sweet in taste and so I reduced the amount of sugar but feel free to add more sugar if you like it sweeter.

Chilled thandai

spiced chilled almond milk thandai 

yields: 8-10 servings

ingredients

2 tablespoons fennel seeds
a pinch of saffron (optional)
1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds
6 whole cloves
10 peppercorns
1 cup toasted watermelon or sunflower seeds 
4 cups boiling water
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups fresh almond milk, chilled 

1. Grind the fennel, saffron, cardamom, cloves, and cardamom in a coffee or spice grinder to a fine powder. 
2. Add the sunflower seeds along with half the water, ground spices, and sugar to a food processor. Blend to get a smooth paste. Add the remaining water and pulse for 5 seconds. 
3. Pass the mixture from the blender through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze and press out as much liquid as you can by wringing the cheesecloth as tight as possible. Transfer the concentrate to a clean bottle and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before use. 
4. Before preparing the drink stir the chilled concentrate (some separation might occur on standing which is perfectly normal). In a large bowl, mix the concentrate with the chilled almond milk before serving. Pour the thandai into chilled glasses containing crushed ice or ice cubes. The concentrate stays good for up to a week in the refrigerator.

42 comments:

  1. A wonderful drink. So refreshing and fragrant. Lovely photos too.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Thank you, Rosa! You are always the sweetest.

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  2. I'm intrigued. I've never seen this kind of drink using almond milk before. Must try!

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  3. Wow Nik...I want a glass of that right now....awesome and look at ur pics...awesome!!!

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  4. A glass of chilled thandai is perfect for summer. Lovely photos!

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    1. Thank you, Shruti! It really is a nice cooling drink for these hot and humid days.

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  5. That looks so good in your photos. The idea of spiced warm milk in the winter is rumbling around in my head right now.

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    1. I have not tried it warm but if you do make it Suzanne, do let me know how it tastes.

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  6. I love how flavored with spices this milk is... I'd love to have a good cup of it before going to bed. The pictures make it even more inviting.

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    1. Aww, thank you Denise. I think you are right, it would be a great treat to end the day.

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  7. Your pictures are mesmerizing. I could use a glass now.

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  8. The pictures are so mesmerizing. I could you a glass of tandai now..

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    1. Thank you, Asha. I love your photos too.

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  9. Lovely. I love the way you spice this drink and the photos are beautiful. Elegant. Simple.

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    1. Thank you for stopping Dena, it is wonderful to meet you.

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  11. Beautiful pictures! Makes me want to try this tandai now!

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    1. Thanks Shashi, I do hope you get a chance to make it soon.

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  12. I looovveee thandai !!


    especially in a hot and humid weather and with lots and lots of kesar(saffron) !
    :)


    http://moonshineandsunlight.blogspot.in/

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    1. You are so right, it is such a great summery drink!

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  13. Great pictures. And such a nice looking drink. I've never had one of these spiced, chilled milk drinks before. They look so refreshing, and I particularly like the idea of substituting almond milk. Really nice - thanks.

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    1. It works well with other nut milks too such as soy and hazelnut.

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  14. It is SO hot here in TN, so this drink would be perfect. Looks so refreshing!

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  15. This would be perfect to break the fast with! So refreshing! Great photos too!

    Nazneen

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  16. looks so good... i love almond milk.. never thought of adding cloves and all to it. Yum! It was super hot in NYC, now it's in the 70s and early 80s.

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    1. I know what you mean, we have been going back and forth too in DC.

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  17. It's hot and humid over here...I could need a large glass now.

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    1. It would be perfect in this heat!

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  18. After marriage, I truly believe that Indian's love their spices and add some in practically everything!! This is so refreshing!

    I had my first taste of thandai a year ago. I need to emulate the flavors at home. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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    1. Kiran, that is so true. We do love our spices and infused them into almost anything. I am glad you have the recipe now to give it a shot at home.

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  19. A large one for me please, as it is bloody hot here today! Looks refreshing! ;)

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  20. I've never heard of Thandai but I will remember now. Love the spice in the almond milk. I can drink up in this hot and humid weather here. :)

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    1. Thanks Nami, I think you would love it.

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  21. Awesome thandai! I have some almond milk that needed ideas! I think I found it! Amazing pictures btw!

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  22. I have been meaning to post a thandai recipe for a while! you have done it beautifully. xo

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