Thandai: Aromatic Almond Milk Recipe

Almond milk infused with sweet spices and rose petals

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Thandai – The nutty, sweetly spiced aromatic drink made during the Festival of Holi.


‘Thandai’ is a take on the word ‘thand’ which means cold, and taking that meaning Thandai means something that is cooling. Traditionally, Thandai is served during the festival of Holi with milk and cream as its base. But this Thandai recipe is dairy free and processed sugar free and it’s certainly as good as the traditional one if not better!

Thandai - Ingredients to make thandai - cardamom, poppy seeds, almonds and othe rnuts

As with all things related to traditional Indian cuisine, the health benefits of Thandai are numerous. This Ayurvedic formula of almonds (badam), magaz seeds, (melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, cucumber seeds), Poppy seeds (Khaskhas), peppercorns (Kali mirch) rose petals (Gulab), hollyhock (Banafsha), fennel seeds (saunf), cashews (kaju), Saffron ( zafraan/kesar) and green cardamom (choti ilaichi) has a cooling ‘taasir’ (effect) on the body.

Although you will find numerous recipes for Thandai powder, which is a short cut method to make the drink, I always soak the nuts and seeds first. This increases the digestibility of the drink and if you spend so much time on making something that is good for your health, why go only half way?

This drink will keep in the fridge for at least 5 days. So technically you will have a refreshing supply of the drink for each day of the work week and then you can make more on the weekend.

Thandai - Almond milk mixed with spices, rose petals and saffron

The process to make this drink is quite similar to making almond milk at home. Just soak all the nuts and seeds, blend with the spices and flowers and then serve with a topping of rose petals and saffron.

In this recipe of thandai I have not used hollyhocks because I didn’t have any on hand. But if you do, add them in.

Almond milk infused with sweet spices and rose petals
5 from 3 votes

Thandai Recipe

A dairy free version of the traditional thandai recipe

Course Drinks
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Almond Milk, Thandai
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking and Standing Time 13 hours
Total Time 13 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 c almonds shelled
  • 1/4 c cashews
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 tsp edible rose petals
  • 6 strands saffron
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 c water


  1. Put almonds, poppy seeds and cashews in a medium bowl and cover with water

  2. Leave to soak for at least 12 hours

  3. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the nuts and poppy seeds.

  4. Put the nuts, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, black pepper, and half of the rose petals in a blender.

  5. Add in the water and blend until smooth and creamy

  6. Strain this through a fine mesh strainer and add the maple syrup

  7. Allow to stand for an hour in the fridge before serving.

  8. Add crushed saffron just before serving along with some rose petals for presentation.

Recipe Notes

This drink is best served chilled.



Here are some more recipes for Holi Celebration

Beverages Savory Sweet

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