Thandai-flavoured cheesecake, macarons, kulfi: This Holi, cool off with creative Thandai variants – Times of India


Thandai, also known as Sardai, is commonly consumed in North India. synonymous with the festival of colours that celebrates the arrival of spring. Come Holi and we make sure to indulge in a glass of chilled, heavenly thandai. Usually a blend of milk energised with a rich, flavourful mix made from ground almonds, watermelon seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorn, rose petals, cardamom, khus seeds, saffron and sugar, thandai is all about the goodness of nuts, seeds and spices. “Thandai is a burst of flavours in your mouth. The best part is that you can easily prepare it at home and even incorporate the flavour in various recipes. Apart from consuming thandai the traditional way, try playing it around with ingredients like ice-apple, rose, paan, Tender coconut and mangoes,” says Chef and Culinary Expert Reetu Uday Kugaji.

THANDAI – A TRADITIONAL COOLER

Thandai is one of the traditional drinks of India and mainly prepared on the occasion of Mahashivratri and Holi. “As a drink, thandai is believed to have originated during the mythological era. It was the favourite drink of Lord Shiva,” says Kugaji. People often mix bhang in thandai, especially on the occasion of Holi, to make it an intoxicating drink. “When laced with bhang, thandai works as a mood setter and makes one sing, dance and have a good time. A refreshing and healthful drink, thandai is often savored when people are exhausted from playing with colours and throwing each other in pools of coloured water,” says Chef Amit Wadhera. Thandai, in Hindi, literally means something that is cold or something that has a cooling effect. “Cooling and hydrating, thandai is ideal for consumption during warmer months,” adds Kugaji. When enjoyed without straining, you can actually feel the coarseness of nuts and seeds in your mouth. What a perfect way to pamper your senses!

EXPERIMENT WITH THE FLAVOUR OF THANDAI
New-age chefs are moving beyond the predictable thandai drink and using the spice mix to create innovative drink and dessert recipes. “Thandai is not only a drink associated with Holi but it is a health drink with magical benefits. Therefore, it is wonderful to try new flavour combinations and bring out the coolest recipes with thandai!,” says Wadhera. Moreover, thandai paste is a fabulous base to work with. “With thandai powder, paste or syrup, you can prepare kulfi, ice-cream, shrikhand, rabdi, kheer, basundi, shahi tukda, phirni, barfi, ladoos, pedas, gujia and more. If you’re someone who loves fusion recipes, experiment with thandai mousse, pannacotta, macaroons, cheesecake, tiramisu, pies, tarts, cupcakes, thandai chocolate barks and thandai meetha paan. Keep thandai as a foundation ingredient and play with natural seasonal fruits for flavouring it. However, make sure other flavours do not overpower the fantastic flavour of thandai,” says Kugaji. “This year, I decided to take a step back and reflect on how I would experiment with my thandai delicacy in the context of reducing dairy consumption, promoting the idea of eating healthy and yet maintaining the sanctity and the tradition of Holi. That’s how I came up with Thandai-soaked barley. It can be prepared using cold milk or yogurt. The texture of barley in Thandai is wonderful. Moreover, barley is inherently cooling, given its status as a summer cereal. Most importantly, it’s nutritious. Yes, you can definitely give a delicious twist of thandai -a versatile, age-old drink,” says Vindhya Karwa, a culinarian and food blogger.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF THANDAI

– Immunity booster

– Boosts energy

– Natural detoxifier

– Improves digestion

– Cures flatulence

– Controls constipation



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