Thandai basically means “cool” and is essentially a milk based drink that is flavoured with a rich masala made of dry fruits and spices called Thandai. This special blend, typically consumed for Holi, has amazing properties to energize as well as cool the body, something very apt considering the upcoming Holi festival and the weather.
This year, I have observed, the Holi buzz is missing mainly due to the acute drought situation that has gripped the state. Most people have pledged to observe a “dry Holi” while many have decided not to play it at all. Well, it’s a wise thing to do! Considering the long weekend you might as well take a short vacation and spare some H2O.
Last year, Nabeel played Holi for the first time and I can say he had a blast. This year he is definitely looking forward to relive the same but whether it will involve water or not is still unclear. Anyways, to keep his spirits high I introduced him to Thandai.
The ingredients required to make Thandai Masala are easily found in any Indian kitchen and the process involved is quite simple.
Nabeel loves milk and moreover doesn’t mind consuming it in different flavours and styles. Thandai masala is a very humble yet powerful blend of ingredients that is recommended to be consumed daily, not necessarily only for Holi. So, I decided this was the perfect time to make some Homemade Thandai Powder for him.
The ingredients required to make Thandai masala are easily found in any Indian kitchen and the process involved is quite simple. I have worked around to arrive at my secret blend of spices and herbs which doesn’t include some common Thandai ingredients like cashew nuts, poppy seeds, melon seeds, etc but tastes just fine.
As expected, Nabeel loved his glass of chilled Thandai and has been relishing it for a few days now. I urge you to make Thandai masala at home, this year and experience the difference.
With a jar of Homemade Thandai Powder at my disposal I decided to experiment and treat hubby and myself with some Thandai Panna Cotta.
Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert which is not as fancy as it sounds but infact the simplest of recipes I have ever come across. With some cream, flavours and a setting agent you can prepare the Thandai Panna Cotta under 10 minutes, which sets in less than an hour.
Before you set out to play Holi whip this dessert and leave it to chill so that on your return you are welcomed by traditional flavours wrapped in International feel in the form of Thandai Panna Cotta.
Easy Thandai Panna Cotta Recipe
Makes 4 servings
For Homemade Thandai powder
1/4th cup shelled pistachios
1/4th cup almonds
3 teaspoons black peppercorns / sabut kalimirch
2.5 teaspoons cardamom / elaichi powder
3 teaspoons badi saunf / fennel seeds / variyali
A pinch of salt
1/4th teaspoon turmeric / haldi powder
½ teaspoon saffron / kesar strands
For the Thandai Pana cotta
200ml or 1 cup fresh cream, unsweetened (I used Amul tetra pack cream)
6 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Thandai powder
1 teaspoon gelatine granules or agar – agar / china grass powder
Step 1 – To make Thandai powder; grind everything together to get a fine powder. If you want to make a paste, then soak the ingredients together in ½ cup of water for 20minutes and then grind to a smooth paste.
Step 2 – To make Thandai Pana cotta, soak the gelatine / agar – agar in 3 teaspoons of water and let it swell for 5 minutes till you work with the cream.
Step 3 – Pour fresh cream in a clean, thick bottomed vessel and heat on simmer while stirring continuously. It’s better if you use a whisk to stir as it will ensure no lumps are formed.
Step 4 – Once the cream is hot, add in sugar and continue to stir and simmer.
Step 5 – Mix the Thandai powder with enough water to make a smooth thick paste. Add this paste to the simmering cream and mix well.
If you have prepared Thandai paste then mix it with soaked gelatine / agar – agar before adding to the cream.
Step 6 – Add the soaked gelatine / agar – agar to the cream and whisk vigorously to avoid any lump formation.
Step 7 – Simmer the Thandai Pana cotta mixture for another 5 minutes. Switch off the flame and let it cool.
Step 8 – While the Pana cotta mixture cools, grease your moulds with little oil followed by rinsing them with water. Use oil which doesn’t have a very strong flavour or aroma or else the Pana cotta will smell of that. This dessert can be unmolded like a jelly or eaten directly from a fancy mould, depending on how you wish to serve it choose the mould. I used muffin tray (for unmolding) and serving cups since I wanted to experiment with both the styles.
Step 9 – Pour the Panna cotta mixture in greased moulds, cover with cling film and refrigerate. The Panna cotta should set in an hour.
Step 10 – To demould the Thandai Panna cotta, run a knife through the sides of the mould and loosen the dessert, upturn the mould on a plate and shake giving a few jerks. A well set Panna cotta will demould immediately.
Step 11 – Garnish Thandai Panna cotta with saffron strands and slivered pistachios. Serve cold.
Happy Holi & Play Responsibly
Till then, Love Being a Mommy!
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Disclaimer: This article was originally written for Babychakra and published here.