Mamta's Kitchen

Thandai Indian Cooler Drink


Abha Gupta

This is a cool drink from North India. It is popular during the summer months, especially during the festival of holi, when some people add intoxicating bhang or hemp leaves to it. It is very nice in it's simpler form, without the bhang. Many Indian shops sell ready mixed ingredients that give quite good results. Serves 8.

Thand=cold, aai=came(pronounced as aa..yee), "something that brings coolness"!

The picture shows it as it is served in traditional style.


  • 1 1/2 litre water

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1 tbsp. almonds, blanched and peeled (you can use ready blanched ones)

  • 1 tbsp. melon seeds, peeled (you can buy these from most Indian stores)

  • 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds (khus-khus or post)

  • 1/2 tbsp. fennel or saunf

  • 1 tsp. green cardamoms, whole or illaichi powder

  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns

  • A few strands of saffron

  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried rose petals. Fresh are better. Dried ones can be bought at some Indian stores. These are wild rose petals.

  • 1 tsp. rose water, available from Indian stores in UK, also available in supermarkets like Sainsbury or Tesco. If using rose essence concentrate, use only a few drops.

  • Few ice cubes


  1. Measure all ingredients.

  2. Wash and soak almonds, melon seeds, poppy seeds, aniseeds, black peppercorns and half the rose leaves for 3-4 of hours.

  3. Place all soaked ingredients in a blender and grind to a fine paste.

  4. Add all other ingredients except ice and rose petals saved for garnish, and blend until smooth.

  5. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin. You have to press hard until all the liquid has separated from the solids. This will remove any left over solids.

  6. Place a couple of ice-cubes in each glass and pour over the thandai.

  7. Garnish with a few rose petals and saffron thread in each glass.

  8. Serve immediately in small glasses or 'kulhars', the earthenware Indian cups used by 'chai-wallahs' on railway stations.

  9. It can be made in the form of a syrup in advance and kept in a jar/bottle in the fridge:

  10. After step 5, add sugar (equal amount in volume as the strained liquid) and bring to boil. The sugar will preserve it.

  11. Store the prepared thandai syrup in a clean jar in the refrigerator. When needed add 1-2 tsp. (according to taste) to cold or hot milk and enjoy!

  12. If you don't want to add the sugar, you can pour the liquid after boiling into an ice tray and freeze to make thandai syrup cubes out of. When needed, add one cube plus a low calorie sweetener in hot or cold milk and enjoy!


  • In India, it is often served in earthenware, throw away cups.

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