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Author Notes: Thandai is commonly prepared during the Festival of Celebration of Lord Shiva and festival of Colors "Holi". It is a very delightful drink full of almonds and spices and best served chilled. I would like to write a little about the festival of Holi, as this drink is usually served quite a lot during this festival.
Holi is a festival of Triumph of good over evil. The ancient story. Hiranyakashipu is the great king of demons, and he had been granted a boon by Lord Brahma, which made it almost impossible for him to be killed. The boon was due to his long penance, after which he had demanded that he not be killed. Consequently, he became arrogant, He demanded that people stop worshiping Gods and start praising him.
According to this belief, Hiranyakashipu's own son, Prahlada, was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. In spite of several threats from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continued offering prayers to Lord Vishnu. He was poisoned by Hiranyakashipu, but the poison turned to nectar in his mouth. Enraged, the king decided to punish his son severely and sought his sister Holika’s help. Holika had a boon that fire would never burn her, so the king asked her to sit amid a flaming pyre with Prahlad in her lap so that the child would be devoured by the fire. Prahlad sat with eyes closed, praying to Lord Vishnu and came out unscathed whereas Holika was burnt to ashes. Symbolically on the full moon night of Holi, a bonfire of Holika is made with everyone gathering around it singing and clapping in joy at the destruction of evil. The next day people play with colors.
Holi, is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus
A special drink called thandai is prepared (commonly made of almonds, pistachios, rose petals, etc.), sometimes containing bhang (Cannabis ). For wet colors, traditional flowers of Palash are boiled and soaked in water over night to produced yellow colored water, which also had medicinal properties. Unfortunately the commercial aspect of celebration has led to an increase in the use of synthetic colors.
Makes 6 to 8 glasses
- 6 1/2 cups Milk
- 1/2 cup Sugar + 2Tbsp for saffron
- 10 Black Peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon Saffron strands + extra for garnishing
- 2 teaspoons Cardamom powder
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Poppy seeds
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Fennel Seeds
- 1 Stick of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons Melon seeds
- 1/4 cup Almonds
- 1/2 cup Pistachio
- 2 tablespoons Rose water Optional
- Take 1/2 cup of milk in a bowl , and soak the almonds, pistachios, poppy seeds, melon seeds, for half an hour.
- After half an hour , grind them to smooth paste along with the milk in blender. Keep aside.
- Boil remaining of the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Add sugar and saffron and rose water simmer for five minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Grind green cardamom, cinnamon and peppercorns to a fine powder in a grinder. Add this powder to the hot milk.
- Now, also add the almond and poppy seeds paste which we had already grind-ed earlier. Mix well into the milk. Once the milk is warm or at room temperature keep it in the refrigerator and chill it.
- Dissolve saffron in 2 tbsp of milk in a small bowl for garnishing. This step is totally optional. But, it looks nice in presentation.
- Now, whenever you are ready to serve this. Take glasses and very carefully spread the dissolved saffron on the walls of the glass with the help of a spoon on three or four sides and immediately pour the chilled milk in the glass. So, when we see it from outside the glasses there should some kind of design showing orange color from the saffron on the walls and light yellow or pale yellow milk.
- Garnish it on top of the milk with some more chopped pistachios or almonds. You need not celebrate Holi to enjoy this glassful of milk! Happy Holi!