Few things to keep in mind before starting:
- Thandai, a classic Indian drink, is a super healthy & refreshing summer drink prepared with lots of soaked dry fruits, seeds & spices.
- Fennel, poppy seeds, cardamom, melon seeds, gulkand, whole spices and soaked dry fruits- all have ‘Thandi taaseer’ or cooling effect on our body as per ‘Ayurveda’.
- Preparing thandai needs some time & pre-planning to soak & grind all nuts & spices. So preparing thandai concentrate in bulk in advance is a much better idea for a quick refreshing thandai and you can have it by diluting 1/2 to 1 heaped tbsp of the concentrate per glass of chilled animal milk or soy milk or almond milk any time.
- Store bought thandai concentrate is full of sugar and has very less nuts-spices as compared to the home made one, rather store bought one has a lot of artificial flavours.
- I have found people using 1:3 ratio of nuts-spices paste:sugar by volume in their recipe. Here, I have used 2:1 ratio of dry fruit-seeds-spices paste to sugar/desi khand by volume in this recipe, thereby reducing the amount of sugar & enhancing the flavours of nuts & spices. You may increase the sugar quantity to get 1:1 ratio of the paste:sugar to a maximum.
- Sugar acts as a preservative, else I would not have added it to my recipe.
- Also I usually add Desi khand in all my sweet recipes replacing sugar. Desi khand is partially refined sugar and contains higher levels of various minerals as compared to the processed white sugar.
- I prepared this recipe for my kids, so added little less amount of black pepper. You may increase the quantity of black pepper to 2 tbsp.
- Authentic recipe does not have cashews, so I too avoided adding them. You may add 2 tbsp of cashews, in case you like, to this recipe.
- I have added organic rose petal powder to the recipe. You may replace it with gulkand or fresh/dried rose petals too.
- Wash & soak the almonds overnight separately so as to de-skin them easily the next day. Soak all other nuts, seeds & spices in a separate bowl.
- Do not throw the water used in soaking nuts, spices & seeds. It has a lot of nutrient value in it. Rather use it while grinding and then while cooking the ground paste with sugar.
- Soak saffron for a few minutes in warm water and then add it to the sugar-water mixture to cook along with the nuts-spices paste.
- Cook the nuts-spices paste, rose petal powder & soaked saffron with sugar-water mix on low to medium flame, till the liquid starts coating the back of a spoon. It took me 16-17 minutes of cooking to reach this stage.
- Let the prepared concentrate cool down to room temperature before storing it in a dry clean glass container in refrigerator. In case you want to store it at room temperature, add sodium benzoate to it.
Ingredients: (for 825 g of concentrate)
- Almonds – 4 tbsp
- Pistachio – 2 tbsp
- Melon seeds – 4 tbsp
- Poppy seeds – 2 tbsp
- Black pepper – 1 tbsp
- Fennel seeds – 2 tbsp
- Green cardamom – 10 to 12
- Rose petal powder/Gulkand/dried rose petals – 2 tbsp
- Saffron – 1/4 tsp
- Water – 3/4 cup for grinding nuts & spices + 1.5 cup for sugar syrup
- Desi khand/khandsari/sugar – 1 cup
- Wash & soak almonds in a bowl overnight. Similarly, soak all other nuts, seeds & spices overnight in enough water except rose petal powder/gulkand/dried rose petals and saffron.
- Remove the skin of almonds the next day. Strain all the soaked nuts, seeds & spices.
- Meanwhile, soak saffron in some warm water.
- Grind them all to a fine paste by adding water in batches. Use the leftover water used to soak these nuts & spices as it contains a lot of nutrient value. I used 3/4 cup of water for grinding. This makes your nuts-spices-seeds paste.
- Now try to keep this nuts-spices-seeds paste to sugar ratio as 2:1 to a maximum of 1:1. Many other recipes use this ratio as high as 1:3, which is a very high amount of sugar.
- Now, take khand/sugar in a big vessel. Add 1.5 cups of water to it and let it come to a boil. When the sugar gets dissolved in water, add soaked saffron and the nuts-spices-seeds paste to the sugar solution and let the mixture cook on low to medium heat for another 16-17 minutes till it starts coating the back of a spoon.
- The super healthy & refreshing thandai concentrate is ready. Let it cool down to room temperature before storing it in clean dry air tight glass container in refrigerator.
- Enjoy it by diluting 1/2 to 1 heaped tbsp of this concentrate with chilled milk.
- You may even prepare thandai kulfi or even thandai sweet lassi with this concentrate. Just add extra sugar in such a case.
‘Cooking for our loved ones with love!’