India is a land of diversity in its ethnicity and culture which has led to the emergence of a wide variety of food and drinks across the country. Each geographical location and race determine the cuisine native to that area. Similarly, the Thandai is a drink, most commonly served in the areas of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. These areas experience scorching and dry summers because of their arid geography. Therefore, the thandai drink is used to beat the scorching heat by refreshing and energising the body. Thandai is usually served chilled in such places, but it can also be served hot. It’s basically a kind of milkshake combined with Indian spices, nuts, seeds and in some cases, alcohol. The alcoholic version of thandai is commonly served in Hindu festivals like Holi and Mahashivratri. This alcoholic version of thandai is called the ‘bhaang’ and is mainly used by adults during festivals to add a bit of fun and craziness to the event. The bhaang is typically made by adding cannabis to the drink.
However, this article talks about the non-alcoholic thandai masala in detail, including the best thandai powder, thandai powder price, instant thandai, and thandai powder recipe. Also read Benefits and Preparation of Ayurvedic Thandai
How is Thandai Made?
Thandai is commonly made using milk as its key base. Although these days, healthier vegan versions of the drink are also made using coconut milk or almond milk. To this milk base, the thandai masala ingredients are added. The best thandai powder contains a combination of nuts like ground almonds and/or cashews, seeds like melon seeds and poppy seeds and spices like peppercorns, aniseed, saffron and green cardamom. Rose petals are used optionally to enhance its flavour and used for those who prefer the rosy fragrant variety of thandai. Traditionally, all these ingredients are soaked overnight in water or milk and then ground to a fine, thick paste. This thick paste is mixed with the desired quantity of milk and choice of flavour such as cardamom powder, or rose water extract. These days, people are also adding artificial essence like vanilla essence and mango essence to suit their preferences.
What is Instant Thandai?
Due to their hectic lifestyles, most people don’t have the time to go through the tedious process of preparing the traditional form of thandai. This is why many people commonly prefer to buy the instant thandai available in various brands across the desi market. The instant thandai is basically made using the best thandai powder, which is packed and available in the market in a variety of flavours. This thandai powder is mixed with water or milk as per the directions given by the manufacturer, displayed on the box. The instant thandai powder is a natural ayurvedic drink that is made using seeds, nuts, herbs and spices of the best quality. Crunchy cashews, pistachios and almonds are used to give a crunchy texture to the drink. The instant thandai powder also contains muskmelon seeds, watermelon seeds and khus khus for that extra punch.
The instant thandai uses a variety of flavours such as almond-saffron, rose, mango, and almond-cardamom. It is challenging to choose the best thandai powder amongst these because they are equally tasty and refreshing, especially on a hot day of the summer.
Suppose you’re a huge fan of thandai but do not like the instant thandai versions sold in the market or are not satisfied with the instant thandai powder price. In that case, you can also make the best thandai powder using any of the thandai powder recipes available online.
The Best Thandai Powder Recipe
So, it’s summer, and you are tired after a long day spent outdoors. You need something to quench your thirst immediately, but you don’t have any thandai shop nearby to get you that glass of refreshing thandai. You’re also not a big fan of instant thandai powder available in your supermarket or not satisfied with the thandai powder price. What do you do? Avoid the situation, plan and make the best thandai powder at home without spending on the thandai power price of the supermarket, using the thandai powder recipe shared below:
- For nuts- Use a combination of either almond and cashew nuts OR pistachios and walnuts.
- For spices- Green cardamoms for that sweet and strong flavour and peppercorns to add a hint of spice to your drink.
- For seeds- Use a combination of melon seeds, fennel seeds and poppy seeds.
- For garnishing and colour, use saffron that adds colour and a rich texture to your instant thandai. Use rose petals optionally, only if you love the aroma and flavour they impart to the drink. You can skip rose petals if you find the smell too overpowering.
To make your best thandai powder, add half a cup each of the nuts being used, 25-30 whole black peppercorns, around 25 green cardamoms, 2 tablespoons each of poppy seeds, fennel seeds and melon seeds, 10-15 strands of saffron, and a spoonful of dried rose petals to the jar of a grinder. Grind thoroughly to make a smooth, fine powder. Ensure that you do not over grind, else the nuts can release their oil and make the mixture sticky. Store the best thandai powder in an airtight container at room temperature for a maximum of 7 days. To store this best Thandai powder for 5-6 months, store it in an airtight container in a refrigerator.
While making the instant thandai at home, heat full-fat milk in a pan over medium heat. Once the milk starts boiling, add a tablespoon of your best thandai powder for one cup of milk. Add in sugar as per taste and cook for 3-4 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse in the milk. Take off from the stove and allow the milk to cool. Once the milk cools down, refrigerate it for 1-2 hours until chilled. Strain the milk using a sieve or muslin cloth. Serve cold. You may use rose petals for garnishing. Alternatively, you can also use 2-3 drops of rose water to enhance the flavour.
Benefits of Thandai Masala
Besides being delicious and refreshing, there are several proven health benefits of consuming this popular festive drink called thandai masalas. Whether using the best thandai powder you made using the thandai powder recipe above, or the store-bought instant thandai, the benefits remain the same. Some of the benefits of thandai masala drink are:
Because of the presence of poppy seeds in thandai masala drinks, users observe a relief in gastrointestinal irritation and constipation. In addition to this, poppy seeds are also nutritious and a good source of protein, fibre, healthy fats and minerals like calcium.
The best thandai powders may also contain watermelon seeds and pumpkin seeds; they act as natural energisers. The drink is also rich in nuts like almonds and cashews, which are energy powerhouse. Simultaneously, the use of rose petals can add a cooling effect to your body, especially during the summers.
When the best thandai powder includes fennel seeds, the oil from the seeds stimulates the digestion process by producing gastric enzymes in our bodies. Therefore, consuming thandai can help relieve digestive issues and solve problems like flatulence.
The spices used in the best thandai powder recipe are not just to add a spicy feel to the thandai masala but are also helpful to build immunity. Peppercorn is especially useful in building immunity during summers.
When thandai masala contains pistachios, they assist in producing haemoglobin, which can prevent anaemia.
Natural detox drink
The Thandai masala drink can act as a natural detox drink for our bodies without any side effects. The best thandai powder has ingredients like cardamom, which kills germs, cleanses the body, cures nausea, and prevents bad breath.
Maintain skin health
Being rich and loaded with nuts like almonds and pistachios, thandai can be good for our skin as they are a good source of Vitamin E.
Thandai masala also has an essential ingredient – saffron, which is said to have anti-depressant and anti-oxidant properties. They help promote the overall mental and physical well-being of a person.
Thandai Powder Price
Depending upon the quality, brand, quantity and flavour, the thandai powder price varies. Some brands offer the best thandai powder at as low as 200 Rupees. However, there are also high-end brands whose thandai powder price can be as high as 1000 rupees.
So, you can decide the best thandai powder you want to buy based on the quality of the product, the brand image, and most importantly, the thandai powder price.
Now that summer is approaching, and it’s time things will get hot, which thandai powder recipe are you going to use? Which is your best thandai powder flavour? For those who don’t trust your cooking skills, are you going to buy an instant thandai pack? What is the thandai powder price you are comfortable with? Answer all these questions for yourself to prepare and stock your kitchen well ahead of the scorching heat to enjoy a delicious, creamy and rich thandai masala drink anytime, anywhere. Also read Top Ten Health Benefits of Thandai in Summers
Authored By: Divya Shankar
About Author: Divya Shankar is a multifaceted content writer with 7+ years of experience. She has exclusive writing expertise in ayurveda.