Thandai – Spicy Almond Milk

thandai 4

It is 15th August, a day of celebration for India, the day when we celebrate our freedom. Back in 1947, our nation gained its liberty and became a free country on this day.

As a kid, the day typically used to start by watching the flag-hoisting ceremonies that are conducted all over the country, followed by quality fun time with friends and family.. eating, laughing and playing around.

Thandai - Spicy Almond Milk 1

I wanted to make something special to celebrate this day and I kept cracking my head to come up with something that I can call an All-Indian food. If you have been to India and traveled few places, you’ll know exactly what I mean. With so many different cultures and religions in India, it’s very difficult to pick a dish that is common to every state. For example, lentils and rice are made in every Indian kitchen but it will taste absolutely different in different states.

Just the other day, I and Arvind were talking about food we used to like as a child and that’s when he mentioned about his favorite drink called Thandai. It is more common in north of India as compared to any other part and that is why i hadn’t heard of it. Why hadn’t he mentioned thandai before! As we were talking, I felt an urgent need to share this drink with you, before the summer vanishes.

Thandai - Spicy Almond Milk 2

 I know it’s not an All-Indian drink, but it’s my husband favorite summer drink. So, we celebrated our Independence Day with Thandai 🙂  Jai Hind!

So proud to be an Indian and proud of our national anthem which was declared by UNESCO as “The Best Anthem of the World” and I salute the author of this anthem, Rabindra Nath Tagore !

Thandai - Spicy Almond Milk 3

Thandai is a wonderful, cold refreshing beverage made with milk that is infused with almond and few other spices. This is  traditionally prepared during the Holi festival (festival of colors) and it’s often mixed with ‘bhang’ to give it an intoxicating kick. This is of-course the non-intoxicating version and perfect for hot summers.

Thandai - Spicy Almond Milk 4

It’s very easy and quick to make, but you have to infuse it for at-least 6 hours and serve it chilled. Whenever we think of summer drink, ice is a must. However, this is one drink where you shouldn’t add ice as it will dilute the milk and spoil the taste.


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Thandai – Spicy Almond Milk


For the powder mix 

  • 1/4 cup whole almond
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • 2 tbs fennel seeds
  • 1 tbs cardamom powder
  • 20 peppercorns

For Thandai 

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • few strands of saffron
  • 1 tbs  slivered pistachios for garnish
  • 2 tbs rose water


  1. Using a coffee grinder or mixer, grind the ingredients of the powder mix to a fine dust.
  2. Boil the milk with sugar and few strands of saffron .
  3. Add the grind powder and mix it well.
  4. Let it refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours to 6 hours.
  5. Strain the drink, add rose water and mix.
  6. Garnish it with some slivered pistachio, few saffron tread and serve it cold.

Thandai - Spicy Almond Milk 6


Thandai - Spicy Almond Milk 7

Did you enjoy this Thandai - Spicy Almond Milk? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Radhika @ foodfor7stages
    Radhika @ foodfor7stages
    August 15, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Happy Independence day to you too Kankana. You reminded me of my school days where we celebrated this day year after year.

    & This is a lovely summer drink. Your pictures are beautiful.

  • Baker Street
    Baker Street
    August 15, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Gorgeous gorgeous shots Kankana! And happy independence day to you too!

  • Manu
    August 15, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Happy Independence Day!!! 🙂

    Great way to celebrate! Yet another must try recipe! I have never tasted thandai before but like all the ingredients listed, so I can easily imagine I’d love it!

    Absolutely right about the Indian anthem, it is beautiful! 🙂

  • Jessica
    August 15, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    This is such a beautiful drink! No wonder it’s your husband’s favorite. I love the strands of saffron on top! Great choice for the celebration!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    August 15, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Happy Independence Day! I’ve never heard of this drink but I enjoyed this entire post with good writing and beautiful photos. I’d love to try this milk…sounds delicious! And I really enjoyed you added different kinds themes (styling) of photography here – like some are ingredients only etc. Not to mention, your handmade flag is super cute! Love your creativity on this post.

  • Priya Sreeram
    Priya Sreeram
    August 15, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Happy Independence Day kankana and just for your clicks I am willing to gulp down thandai from both the glasses u have displayed back to back & without guilt (tee hee) !!

  • Domestic Deepa
    Domestic Deepa
    August 15, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    That looks delicious and refreshing!

  • Manju
    August 15, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    love thandai! can you believe its only int he last few years that i first had it?!? Happy Indepepndence Day to you too. Jai Hind!

  • Spandana
    August 15, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    Looks gorgeous… love the saffron on top….

  • Jamie @ Wokintime
    Jamie @ Wokintime
    August 15, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    Happy Independence Day! What an amazing drink! It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before I can’t even begin to imagine how all those flavors go together. Looks like I’m going to have to try it.

    Gorgeous photography too.

  • Liren
    August 16, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    Happy Independence Day! What a stunning beverage – just gorgeous. I can’t say I have ever had a drink with saffron on top, so beautiful.

  • Mythreyi
    August 16, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    Thandai looks super Good, Never knew Peppercons were part of this cool drink. Will try for sure… Happy Independence Day….


  • Eve
    August 16, 2011 at 3:43 AM

    Hello Kankana – I don’t think I’ve ever seen your site before but it’s absolutely gorgeous and I love all of your recipes so far. For the ice cube issue, have you thought about freezing some of the mixture into ice cubes and then adding them so that it doesn’t dilute the taste? I haven’t tried this myself but I’ve been seeing it all over the blogosphere so I’m sure it’s good.

    I hope you enjoyed your Independence Day!

    – Eve

  • Joanne
    August 16, 2011 at 3:57 AM

    Happy independence day! And what a delicious drink to celebrate with!

  • chitra
    August 16, 2011 at 4:08 AM

    Thandai looks superb .. Nice , pretty clicks 🙂

  • Sissi
    August 16, 2011 at 4:42 AM

    Unusual and beautiful drink! Happy independence day! (a bit late, sorry 🙁 )

  • Tes
    August 16, 2011 at 5:31 AM

    Happy Independence day, Kankana! And this drink sounds really interesting 🙂

  • Sia
    August 16, 2011 at 5:34 AM

    the last pic with generous pinch of saffron just took my breath away!
    Happy Independence day to u too Kankana and thank u for sharing ur hubby’s fav drink with us all 🙂

  • sayantani
    August 16, 2011 at 5:47 AM

    lovely drink and beautiful clicks!

  • Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie
    Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie
    August 16, 2011 at 6:11 AM

    Gorgeous! Love the presentation and the strands of saffron on top really make it a showstopper. 🙂 Just discovered your site and am really excited to try some authentic Indian cuisine! Nice to meet yah!

  • Vimitha
    August 16, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    Belated independence day wishes dear… Thats flavored milk looks to be a perfect chiller

  • Krithi
    August 16, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    Happy Independence day Kankana… Nice way to celebrate with childhood favorite foods!

  • torviewtoronto
    August 16, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    looks fabulous Kankana and cooling
    Happy independence day 🙂

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    August 16, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    I wish you Happy Independence Day Kankana! This looks OMG reaction-hahaha Amazing really! I love your pictures and for recipe I can only say wowwwwww!

  • chinmayie @ love food eat
    chinmayie @ love food eat
    August 16, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Looks so good! That is a perfect treat on a summer afternoon!

  • Reem
    August 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Oh I love this post Kankana…. It reminds me of home and holi 😉
    Beautiful pictures dear…
    Yummy delicious Thandai… perfect way to enjoy summer.

  • Shumaila
    August 16, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    We celebrated Independence day with Kebabs and Naan! Wish had made thandai too! Lovely clicks and a great recipe! thanks for sharing Kankana!

  • Maris (In Good Taste)
    Maris (In Good Taste)
    August 16, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Happy Independence Day to you! This looks like a delicious way to celebrate!

  • Tiffany
    August 16, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Cardamom, saffron, pistachios, and almonds! These are some of my FAVORITE flavors in one lovely drink! 😀

  • Luv'n Spoonfuls
    Luv'n Spoonfuls
    August 16, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    This sounds so absolutely delicious…I am astounded at all the wonderful spices and flavors and can almost taste them just reading your post. I am bookmarking this as it seems very special. Happy Day as well!

  • Priyanka
    August 16, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Loved it 🙂

  • Ana Eugenio
    Ana Eugenio
    August 16, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    everything looks so yummy 🙂

  • Cheryl and Adam @
    Cheryl and Adam @
    August 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Happy Independence day to you both! . As many places as we have been through Adam’s work, we’ve not gotten there yet, but raveling to India is right at the top of the to-do list. And that is reinforced every time we see a new post of yours… such amazing flavors and beautiful colors! Great photos, too. Smiles on our faces… again!

  • Najla
    August 16, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Happy Independence Day !!! Amazing snaps and nice combination of flavours.. would love to try it out …

  • tigerfish
    August 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Have not heard of this drink too. I just know this is absolutely exotic. And the infusion sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try it if I get a chance to.

  • Najla
    August 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Happy Independence Day !!! Amazing snaps and nice combination of flavours !!! would love to try it out ….

  • gloria
    August 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    happy Independence day!! look delicious! gloria

  • Swathi
    August 16, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Thandai looks delicious. i love this drink.

  • rebecca
    August 16, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    this drink looks so good, happy independence day 🙂

  • Candace
    August 16, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Happy Independence Day to you! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. It was so nice to have you visit. Your photos are absolutely fantastic. I would love to try this drink sometime. It looks delicious. Anything with cardamom and I’m in!

  • foodwanderings
    August 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Kankana, what a nice tribute for India’s Independence Day. Goegrous drink andp photos. & best anthem in th eworld, that I didn’t know! 🙂

  • Roxana GreenGirl
    Roxana GreenGirl
    August 16, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Happy independence day Kankana. My favorite non dairy milk is almond milk but I’d love to spice it up a little.

    p.s. I really need to take some photo lessons, your photos are AMAZING!!!

  • Kim Bee
    Kim Bee
    August 16, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Happy Independence Day Kankana!!! Love this post!

  • Tadka Pasta
    Tadka Pasta
    August 16, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    All the pics are so beautiful, and can’t say enough good things about this wonderful drink! Love it! This is on our to-do list.

  • elle marie
    elle marie
    August 16, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Delish, I love how you utilized the topping, such lovely colors and contrast.

  • Anamika
    August 17, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    This is one drink that’s a must try for all whio haven’t been lucky enough till now. So rich, creamy and delicious. I want it right now 🙂

  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    August 17, 2011 at 6:52 AM

    I am just going to make this for me, myself and I since the hubby doesn’t really like milky stuff. Seriously it looks amazing, out of this world and I am craving it now

  • sukanya
    August 17, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    loved your wonderful and gorgeous summer drink..we used to make this specially for hoil..and definitely a great way to celebrate Independence day..jai ho

  • mustardseedmeadow
    August 17, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Wow!! What beautiful photographs. I will have to make this now!

  • Treat and Trick
    Treat and Trick
    August 17, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Fantastic clicks and wonderful drink!

  • Kankana Saxena
    Kankana Saxena
    August 17, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Thank you guys! All these words makes me so happy and motivated all the time 🙂

  • Vijitha
    August 17, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    Gorgeous pictures. This dish is new to me. I make badam milk with same ingredients but no peppercorns.Did you draw the flag?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      August 17, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      Oohh i love badam milk too! Yeah I drew that flag .. so silly .. looks like a work done by 2 year old kid.

  • Juliana
    August 17, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Kankana, Happy Independence Day!
    This almond drink is so interesting…I never had anything like this and would love to try it.
    Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  • blackbookkitchendiaries
    August 17, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    hi! this is my first time checking out your blog too:) its beautiful. i am so glad to have found you. your talent is truly inspiring! thank you for sharing this.

  • Christine
    August 17, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    A belated independence day Kankana! These drinks look wonderfully delicious! I never tried that. Very tempting.

  • Lisa H.
    Lisa H.
    August 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Happy Independence Day (belated)…
    This drink looks very appetising… as well as healthy, flavoursome with the nuts and spices, yum…

  • Sawsan@chef in disguise
    [email protected] in disguise
    August 18, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    Happy independence day!
    I have never heard of thandai before but now it is on my must try list!

  • Sweet Artichoke
    Sweet Artichoke
    August 18, 2011 at 6:38 AM

    Woaw, your pictures are always so beautiful! This set is not exception!
    The drink looks delicious and so festive!

  • Kiran @
    Kiran @
    August 18, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Happy Independence Day Kankana – sorry yaar, meri tabiat theek nahi thi. Sigh.

    That thandai looks too beautiful to even consume!!! Love the photos 🙂

  • the good soup
    the good soup
    August 19, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    what a lovely drink. I’ve made plenty of almond milk (one of Oliver’s favourites, but never used almonds and spices to flavour cow’s milk before. thanks for sharing your Independence Day with us, dear Kankana! x

  • Michelle
    August 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    That sounds (and looks) really good! In our family of 6 we have one that is allergic to nuts, so I don’t often make things with them. She would understand if I gave her chocolate milk and served the rest of us this, right?!

  • sally
    August 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    It sounds delcious and the the saffron looks so pretty on top! What a great beverage to celebrate with!

  • foodingdo
    August 22, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Hello! great recipe and yummy pictures, we would be glad if you could submit it to our site. Cheers 🙂

  • visda
    August 26, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    too bad I missed this post. What a wonderful drink and congratulations for the day of freedom.

  • Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice
    Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice
    August 30, 2011 at 4:52 AM

    This is among the most beautiful posts I’ve ever seen. And congratulations! What a great thing to celebrate.

  • Rosa
    August 30, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    An amazing drink! What heavenly flavors, mmmhhhh.



  • Anamika@madcookingfusions
    [email protected]
    October 11, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    A rich drink! Looks great and too tempting…thandai is my all time fav drink, we have it on Holi, cant wait for next Holi festival to prepare this one….will plan it over the weekend! Your clicks are FAB 🙂

  • tannita
    November 30, 2011 at 4:44 AM

    Hi – Can you drink this hot? and if so does one to chill it and reheat it?

  • Priya
    March 27, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    OMG…this is the exact same picture on that guy’s blog! report him or something…i’m gonna comment on his page to take the picture off