India's diverse ethnicity and culture have given rise to a wide array of food and beverages across the country. Each region's geography and population influence the local cuisine. Thandai, a popular drink, is commonly enjoyed in Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, regions known for their scorching and dry summers. Thandai offers a refreshing and energizing respite from the heat. Typically served chilled, it combines milkshake-like qualities with Indian spices, nuts, seeds, and sometimes alcohol. The alcoholic version, known as "bhang," is particularly popular during Hindu festivals like Holi and Mahashivratri, adding a festive and playful element to the celebrations. Bhang is made by incorporating cannabis into the drink.
This article focuses on non-alcoholic Thandai masala and provides detailed information about the best Thandai powder, its price, instant Thandai options, and a Thandai powder recipe.
Also Read: Benefits and Preparation of Ayurvedic Thandai
How is Thandai Made?
Thandai is commonly prepared using milk as its base, but nowadays, healthier vegan versions use coconut milk or almond milk. The Thandai masala ingredients, including nuts like almonds and cashews, seeds like melon and poppy seeds, and spices like peppercorns, aniseed, saffron, and green cardamom, are added to the milk. Optional rose petals can be used to enhance the flavor for those who prefer a rosy fragrance. Traditionally, these ingredients are soaked overnight, ground into a thick paste, and mixed with milk and flavorings like cardamom powder or rose water extract. Some people also add artificial essences such as vanilla or mango to suit their taste preferences.
What is Instant Thandai?
Most people's busy lifestyles leave them with insufficient time to prepare traditional Thandai. Consequently, they often opt for instant Thandai available in various brands at desi markets. This instant version utilizes high-quality Thandai powder, packed with a range of flavors. Users simply mix the powder with water or milk, following the instructions on the box. The instant thandai powder itself is a natural Ayurvedic drink made from the finest seeds, nuts, herbs, and spices. It incorporates crunchy cashews, pistachios, and almonds to provide a pleasing texture, along with muskmelon seeds, watermelon seeds, and Khus Khus for added flavor.
The instant Thandai comes in flavors such as almond-saffron, rose, mango, and almond-cardamom. Choosing the best Thandai powder among these options can be challenging, as they all offer an equally delicious and refreshing experience, particularly on hot summer days.
If you're a Thandai enthusiast who is dissatisfied with the instant Thandai products available in the market or their prices, you can also create your own premium Thandai powder using recipes found online.
The Best Thandai Powder Recipe
During summer, when you're exhausted after a day outdoors and there's no Thandai shop nearby, what do you do? Instead of relying on instant Thandai powder from the supermarket or being unsatisfied with the price, take control of the situation by making the best Thandai powder at home using the recipe below:
- For Nuts: Choose a combination of almond and cashew nuts or pistachios and walnuts.
- For Spices: Opt for green cardamoms for a sweet and strong flavor, and peppercorns for a hint of spice.
- For Seeds: Use a mix of melon seeds, fennel seeds, and poppy seeds.
- For Garnishing and Color: Add saffron for color and a rich texture.
- Optionally, include rose petals if desired for aroma and flavor, skipping them if the scent is too overpowering.
Instructions for preparing Thandai powder:
- Grind a combination of selected nuts, black peppercorns, green cardamoms, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, melon seeds, saffron strands, and dried rose petals until a smooth powder is obtained. Avoid excessive grinding to prevent the release of oil from the nuts and the mixture from becoming sticky.
- Store the thandai powder in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days. For longer storage (5-6 months), refrigerate it in an airtight container.
Steps to prepare instant Thandai at home:
- Heat full-fat milk in a pan over medium heat until it boils.
- Add a tablespoon of thandai powder for every cup of milk. Adjust sweetness with sugar to taste and cook for 3-4 minutes to infuse the flavours into the milk.
- Remove from heat and allow the milk to cool. Chill it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
- Achieve a smooth texture by straining the milk using a sieve or muslin cloth.
- Serve cold and optionally garnish with rose petals or add a few drops of rose water for additional flavours.
Benefits of Thandai Masala
Thandai masala drink offers a delightful and invigorating experience, with proven health benefits. Regardless of whether you use homemade Thandai powder or store-bought instant Thandai mix, the benefits remain consistent.
Thandai masala drink is favored during festivities due to its various health advantages:
1. Relieves Constipation
Thandai masala drinks, containing poppy seeds, alleviate gastrointestinal irritation and constipation. Poppy seeds are also rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals like calcium.
2. Boosts Energy
Thandai powder with watermelon seeds and pumpkin seeds acts as a natural energizer. Additionally, the inclusion of almonds and cashews provides a power-packed energy boost. Rose petals in Thandai add a cooling effect, particularly in hot weather.
3. Improves Digestion
Thandai powder with fennel seeds stimulates the production of gastric enzymes, promoting digestion and alleviating issues like flatulence.
4. Boosts Immunity
Spices used in Thandai powders contribute to building immunity. Peppercorn, in particular, enhances immunity during summer.
5. Prevents Anemia
Pistachios in Thandai masala aid in the production of hemoglobin, helping prevent anemia.
6. Natural Detox Drink
Thandai masala serves as a natural detox drink without any adverse effects. Ingredients like cardamom in the best Thandai powders have germ-killing, body-cleansing, nausea-relieving, and breath-freshening properties.
7. Maintain Skin Health
Thandai, rich in almonds and pistachios, is a good source of Vitamin E, promoting healthy skin.
8. Anti-Depressant Properties
Thandai masala, containing saffron, possesses anti-depressant and anti-oxidant properties, promoting overall mental and physical well-being.
Thandai Powder Price
The price of Thandai powder varies depending on factors such as quality, brand, quantity, and flavor. Some brands offer Thandai powder for as low as 200 Rupees, while high-end brands can have prices as high as 1000 Rupees.
Consider the quality, brand reputation, and price when choosing the best Thandai powder to purchase.
As summer approaches and temperatures rise, it's essential to decide on the Thandai powder recipe you prefer and the best flavor for your taste. If you lack confidence in your cooking skills, you may opt to purchase an instant Thandai pack. Determine the Thandai powder price that fits your budget. By answering these questions, you can adequately prepare and stock your kitchen in advance, ensuring you can enjoy a delicious, creamy, and rich Thandai masala drink at any time and any place.
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.