Thandai is a refreshing milk-based drink, accented with bold flavors. It is traditionally consumed in Northern India during the festival of Holi. You can find many variations of this recipe and nothing is quite set in stone so feel free to experiment with spices and proportions.
4 cups of milk (whole milk is best but you can substitute for low fat or soy)
½ cup almonds
1 T poppy seeds
1 t black peppercorns
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 T cinnamon
1 T fennel seeds (or aniseeds)
½ t rosewater
2-3T honey, to taste
2 T unsalted sunflower seeds (hulled) (optional)
2 T melon seeds (hulled), available in any Indian grocery store (optional)
Pinch of saffron (optional)
Toasted pistachio pieces for garnish (optional)
Crushed ice, optional
Grind the almonds together with the poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom pods and fennel seeds into a fine powder.
In a blender, combine the milk with the freshly made powder. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer or cheesecloth. Return the leftover ground paste to the blender with a little bit of the milk. Strain the mixture once more and discard the remaining paste.
Add the rosewater, saffron and sugar. Blend until creamy and frothy.
You can serve the thandai over ice or add some crushed ice to the blender and blend into a creamy shake. Garnish with a toasted pistachio piece, cinnamon or rose petal and serve chilled.
Adapted from Bellaonline.com