Making Thandai at home is so very easy and the result of so delicious that you will not go back to readymade Thandai. The best part of that you can very easily customise the spice mix to suit your palate. As the name suggest, this drink has a cooling effect on the body, and one that is much needed in the scorching heat of the North Indian plains.Serve Thandai with some Ghevar and Gujjiyas to have a wonderful Holi!
Soak 6 Almonds, 3 Cashews, 10 Pistachios, and 1/2 tbsp Poppy Seeds in 1/4 cup of water for about 1 hour.
Grind the soaked ingredients along with the water they were soaked in and 1 tbsp Gulkand (or 10-12 rose petals) into a smooth paste. If you wish for a lighter coloured Thandai, you can peel the soaked almonds. I used them with the skin.
Making the Spice Powder
Grind 1/4 tsp cardamom seeds, 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, 1/4 tsp pepper corns, 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder and 1/2" piece of cinnamon to a coarse powder.
Soaking the Saffron
Soak 2 large pinches of saffron strands in 1 tbsp warm milk for about 10 minutes.
Over medium heat, bring 2 cups of milk (400 ml) to a boil.
Lower heat and let the milk simmer.
Add the cardamom-pepper-cinnamon-nutmeg-fennel powder to the milk, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the almond-cashew-pistachio-poppy seeds paste to the simmering milk and mix well.
Turn off the heat.
Add the soaked saffron strands and 3 tbsp sugar to the milk.
Cover and set aside to cool.
Refrigerate the Thandai for at least 3 hours. I prefer to refrigerate Thandai overnight.