Thandai, a milk based summer drink is synonymous with our Indian festival, Holi. The festival of colors is celebrated with much fanfare in North India and one of the special festive treats prepared on this day is Thandai. An exotic mix of spices, nuts and full fat milk go into the making of this cooling summer drink. Prepared during the hot summer months, this spiced milk mixture not only has many healthy benefits but also has a cooling effect on the body.

Thandai ~ Holi Special Drink

Almond is the star player while aromatic spices like peppercorns, fennel and cardamom elevate the flavor of this summer drink. This drink is further infused with dried rose petals and saffron (kesaria thandai) and finished off with crushed pistachios. With an eclectic mix of fragrant ingredients, how can this exotic drink not be addictive? Rejoice the festival of colors with this refreshing drink. Happy Holi everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚


  Prepare time:
 Serves: 6

 Main Ingredients:

  •  almonds
  •   milk


  •   Almonds - 1/3 cup
  •   Cashew nuts - 2 tbsps
  •   Poppy seeds - 1 tbsp (khus khus/gasagasalu)
  •   Melon seeds - 2 tbsp (magaz)
  •   Fennel seeds - /2 tsps (saunf/sompu)
  •   Green Cardamom - 5 (elaichi)
  •   Black peppercorns - 3/4 tsp (kali mirch/miriyalu)
  •   Sugar - 8 tbsps (adjust according to taste)
  •   Milk - 1 1/2 lts
  •   Water - 3/4 cup
  •   Rose essence - 1/2 tsp OR Dried rose petals (1 tsp)
  •   Saffron - few strands (kesar/kumkum puvvu)
  •   Pistachios - fistful, crushed

Method for making Thandai

Soak almonds in water for 2 hours. Soak melon seeds in water for 2 hours, Soak poppy seeds in water for 2 hours.
Boil milk, add sugar and allow to dissolve. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off heat and allow to cool. While milk is boiling, peel almonds and place in a bowl.
To this bowl, add the drained melon seeds, drained poppy seeds, cashew nuts, fennel seeds, pepper corns and green cardamom.
Grind all these ingredients to a paste. Add 1/4 cup of water and grind further to a smooth paste.
Add the ground paste to the milk-sugar mixture and mix well. Place lid and leave aside for 15 mts.
In a large bowl, strain the mixture. Keep the strained liquid aside. To the residue (almond spice mixture) add 1/2 cup water and strain again into the large bowl.
Add saffron strands and dried rose petals or rose essence to the strained liquid and mix. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
At the time of serving, pour into serving glasses. Top with crushed pistachios, slivered almonds and one or two saffron strands.
Serve thandai chilled.


  •   You can also serve the thandai without straining.
  •   Dried rose petals (a tbsp) can be added at the time of grinding the ingredients.


Thandai is a refreshing summer drink recipe made during Indian festival of colors - Holi. Learn how to make Thandai recipe, a North Indian special treat.
  • ManasA

    Yum!! Sounds and looks if summer was here….:)..

  • neelima

    Ummm…. looks so delicious. …

  • Mallika


  • Vibha

    Hi melon seeds ante, musk melon or normal melon seeds ?

    • Sailu | Indian Food

      Magaz – normal melon seeds

  • Mahi

    Sailu, I cannot even start telling you how delicious it was! I made it for my sasuri (mother-in-law) and she could not stop giving me compliments. Plus, my husband called it his “new favorite”. I think I didn’t grind the paste as well as I should have, but otherwise great!

  • pooja Kanjirathinal

    can we make paste and keep in freeze for a long time so its easy to make quick

  • Dwain lokken

    Much obliged to you for sharing such marvelous and helpful Ayurvedic recepies with us. keep doing awesome. do share more

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  • B T

    can we buy this somewhere in the US?