Thandai – a cooling festive drink
The colourful festival of Holi usually falls at the beginning of spring when flowers are starting to bloom and the grass is turning green once again. It is when people throw brightly coloured powder at each other and spray coloured water. If you’ve seen the Cold Play video “Hymns for the Weekend” then you know a little bit of what I’m talking about.
Thandai Recipe using almond milk
My husband is lactose sensitive and so I’m constantly looking for alternatives to regular milk in traditional Indian recipes. This is one of them and I was so delighted that it turned out delicious. Not all my experiments do! Replacing whole milk with almond milk also makes this chilled Thandai drink lighter in calories, higher in Vitamin E and overall a good source of Calcium. You can of course switch the almond milk out for regular whole or 2% milk.
As I was testing this recipe in my kitchen I knew I had to make it kid-friendly. Knowing my kids’ taste for ice cream, I thought that would be a good option. Surpisingly almond milk ice cream worked really well, in a kulfi-like way. A little more crystalline than regular milk but oh so refreshing! After all Holi hai!
Indian Spiced Almond Milk And Ice cream
For the Milk:
Almond Milk – 4 cups (use regular whole or 2% mlk if you like)
Sugar – 3 tbsp
Saffron – 5-6 strands
Cardamom pods – 10
Black pepper corns – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
For the Nuts and Seed topping:
Almonds – 20
Pistachios – 20
Sunflower seeds – 2 tbsp
- Heat almond milk along with all the spices except for the saffron. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat to medium and let it simmer.
- Add saffron and let the colour steep and the flavours infuse. Simmer another few minutes.
- Take this time to roast the nuts and seeds in a pan. Med-Low heat is best for this since the sunflower seeds will burn. Let them cool.
- With a rolling pin, coarsely crush the nutty mixture. You can use a strong quality Ziplock bag or aluminium foil to hold the mixture together.
- Divide the milk in two. Make homemade kulfi ice cream with the first half. For this I used a flower shaped silicon mould since the presentation is so pretty and you can pop the shaped ice cream out.
- Serve it with crushed nuts and seeds.
- Chill the remaining milk overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve, sieve into pretty glasses and top with the nutty mixture.