Taste of Atlanta got a special treat from India today. As part of the “Spice of Life” segment at the “Inside the Food Studio” stage, I talked about different spices and their benefits, and share with participants a very special recipe that many westerners are unfamiliar with. Thandai is a north-Indian milk shake with lots of spices and nuts. It is typically served during the festival of Holi, which also marks change of seasons. The health benefits of cardamom, saffron, poppy seeds, fennel and peppercorns together act as a protective agent against flu, sore throat and other viruses that tend to attack you during the seasonal changes.
The recipe below can be modified to suit your personal palate. Use soy milk, 2%, sugar substitute, or honey and create the perfect Thandai for you. I suggest you drink Thandai warm or cold throughout the year not just for its delicious flavor, but also for his nutritional value.
Say cheers to the Taste of Atlanta volunteers below who helped me prepare and serve the recipe today!
For the spice mix:
- 1/4 cup unsalted whole almonds
- 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- approx 20 peppercorns
- 4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch of saffron + few thread for garnish
- 2 teaspoons rosewater
- 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios for garnish
- Using a coffee grinder or food processor grind the ingredients of the spice mix to a fine dust. This can be prepared ahead of time and preserved in an air tight container.
- Boil the milk with sugar and few strands of saffron till the milk turns into a yellow-orange color.
- Add the ground powder to the milk using a whisk to incorporate.
- Let it refrigerate for a minimum of 4 – 6 hours or overnight.
- Strain the drink using a muslin clothe or strainer, add rose water and mix.
- Garnish with chopped pistachio and few saffron treads. Serve chilled.
- Note: Thandai can also be served warm in cold weather.