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Showing posts with label Thandaii. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thandaii. Show all posts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sugarfree Thandai Shrikhand ( A very Happy Holi to Everyone :) )

"Gulal hai Bhaiya ?"

"Kaunsa color chahiye Maam ?"

"Pink aur Green de dijiye ."

"Kaunse flavour mein doon ?"

"Excuse me."

"Madam kaunsa flavour chahiye ? Jasmine, mogra, gulab ya chandan ?"

I was almost tempted to ask "bas itni hai ? Aur char paanch flavor bhi rakhna tha na Bhaiya ". But better sense prevailed and I asked him to give whatever he wanted as I had to wind up last minute Holi shopping and get back home to prepare dinner.

However the next stall had an ever greater surprise in store. Gone are the days when we were happy with those pichkaris that cost around 10 bucks each. The salesman duly presented me with the latest water gun which had a 2 liter water storage tank attached to it. And even before I could close my jaw which had dropped to threatening levels, yet another specimen was placed in my hands. This one could spray three different colors. And predictably, this 'state of the art' did not come cheap. Each gun was marked above Rs 1000.

Anticipating another tantrum, I quickly placed them back on the makeshift counter and dragged the kid to another stall. His protests quickly drowned out as I handed him a 'Chota Bheem' gun which was priced much more reasonably.

The final stop happened to be the local supermarket. I needed a few things for preparing desserts for the next day. One look at the shelves revealed endless bottles of Thandai jostling for space with a variety of bottled beverages and tinned/canned sweets. A little voice in my head reminded me about my health/fitness resolutions. And that was the moment when I decided to ditch my plans for making kheer. I wanted to prepare something that captured the essence of the festival but without piling on the calories.

Thandai Shrikhand seemed to the prefect answer to my dilemma. I was anyways preparing Thandai for Holi so it was a smart choice to use some of the extract to flavor a home made Shrikhand sweetened with a Zero calorie sweetener like Sugarfree Natura. As I had predicted, none of my guests could guess that it was a sugarfree dessert.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15 mins ( plus overnight standby time for the hung curd )

Ingredients -
  • 500 ml curd
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 almonds
  • 3 cashews
  • 1/2 tsp khuskhus
  • 1/2 tsp watermelon seeds
  • 1/2 pinch fennel
  • 1 green cardamon
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • a few strands of saffron
  • a few drops of rose syrup
  • 3 tbsp Sugarfree Natura ( or as per taste )

For garnishing -
  • Chopped pistachios
  • dried rose petals
  • rose syrup
  • saffron strands

Preparation - Strain the curd overnight using a muslin cloth. This will remove all the excess water from it.

Soak the almonds, cashews, khuskhus and watermelon seeds together. (remove the almond skin once it is soaked)

Dry roast the peppercorns, fennel and cardamom till it gives off a fragrance.

Transfer the roasted spices to a grinder jar and powder them as finely as possible. Add all the soaked nuts to the same jar. Grind everything till it becomes a fine paste. [ Add 2-3 tsp milk to thin the consistency if it is getting too difficult to grind. ]

Heat the milk in a saucepan. Add the saffron strands to the still hot milk. Once it cools down to room temperature, add the nuts and spices paste along with rose syrup to it. Let it stand for 1 hour.

Use a muslin cloth to strain the extract into another vessel.

Transfer the hung curd, thandai extract and the sugarfree into a mixing bowl. Whisk together to get a uniform mixture. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Serve into small dessert bowls and garnish with rose petals, pistachios and saffron strands.

Serve .

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thandaii Kulfi

Holi is still two weeks away but I am getting into the mood already. I guess the colors being sold in the shops nearby are influencing me along with the promise of gorging on variety of sweets/savory snacks. Though I havn't really played with water colors for a couple of years, I was crazy about it during my childhood days. Our Holi sessions would start early and extend much into the afternoon. The number of days it took to get all that color off one's skin was used as a yardstick to measure how much fun one had on the day. I remember sneaking small packets of color to school and playing with friends after the classes got over. But it was an unfortunate brush with some chemical laden colors that had me erupting all over. The pain was quite horrible and I swore never to play with water colors again.

So, now I just play a bit with Gulal or the dry color for the sake of tradition. But I more than make up for it by relishing some great food. Since everyone is so tired/thirsty playing in the sun, the snacks and refreshments served should ideally be something cool/chilled. Apart from traditional drinks like lemonade and Thandaii, dahi vada and namkeen para make for great Holi snacks. This is a modified version of the traditional 'Thandaii', albeit in the form of Kulfi. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients - 1/2 liter milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup fresh cream, 2 tbsp cornflour, 3-4 tsp chopped nuts, 4 tbsp thandai extract.

Preparation - Dissolve the cornflour in 1/3 cup milk ( at room temperature ). Keep aside.

Cooking - Bring the remaining milk to a boil in a heavy/thick bottomed vessel and allow to simmer till reduced to 3/4th.

Add and dissolve the sugar in it.

Now add the cornflour mix gradually with continuous stirring. Keep stirring till it thickens sufficiently (3-4 minutes would do but be careful as it has a tendency to stick of the bottom of the vessel and get burnt).

Add the nuts, switch off the flame and keep aside to cool down.

Add the thandai extract and beaten fresh cream. Beat again so that it takes on a uniform consistency and no lumps remain.

Pour into Kulfi moulds. Freeze for 6-7 hours or overnight.

For serving, immerse the kulfi moulds in water for 30 seconds, remove and rub lightly between your palms. Insert a sharp object (like a fork) and take out the kulfi. Cut into bite sized pieces and serve.

Note - Refer to my post on 'Thandaii' for making the thandaii extract.
 ( Use a slightly warm knife to be able to cut though the kulfi with ease. This gives nice sharp edges unlike the one you see in my pics. This one was taken in a hurry and I could not get around to warming my knife. Reminds one of the saying 'Practice before you speak', doesn't it ??? )

Monday, February 24, 2014


Maha Shivratri is the single most important festival for the Shaivites or the devotees of Lord Shiva. It is widely believed that whoever worships the divine Lord in a particular ritualistic manner on this day will have his wish fulfilled. This festival is more commonly observed by the married womenfolk who pray for the well being of their husband and son(s). Some unmarried girls also keep a fast to attain an ideal husband like Lord Shiva.

People who observe the day get up early in the morning and take a dip/bath in a holy river. They then wear new clothes and duly visit a Shiva temple. Abhisekha or 'giving bath' to the Lord is then done with milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, sugar and milk (this concoction is also called 'Panchamrit'). Finally a 'Bilwa patra' or 'Bela patra' with 3 leaves is placed on the Shiva Linga (to cool the short-tempered Lord). Most folks observe a fast throughout the day and only eat food the next day after the 'Deepam' is placed on the apex/top of the temple (sometime after midnight). A few even give up water for the entire day.

While no Shivratri is complete without an offering of 'bhang' or cannabis to the Holy Lord, the medium is usually different. In Orissa some people offer it wrapped in betel(paan) leaves while in the North, bhang is usually mixed in 'Thandaii' or in sweets. Thandaii is more spicy and flavorful version of the regular 'Badam milk' that is popularly consumed in South India. It is very common during Shivratri and Holi. With spices like green cardamon, khuskhus, rose petals and fennel, it is known to keep the body cool during the Summer months.

A few years ago I had not even heard of it but today I am able to succesfully make a batch at home. Thanks to all my blogging friends (especially Deepa from whom I first heard about it). Here is my version of the very refreshing drink called 'Thandaii':

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients - Milk ( 1 liter ), almonds ( 16-18 nos ), cashews ( 10-12 nos ), khuskhus ( 1 1/2 tbsp), watermelon seeds (magaj) (1 1/2 tbsp), fennel ( 1 1/2 tbsp), green cardamon (4-5 nos), peppercorns ( 1 tsp ), saffron ( a few strands ), rose water/essense ( 1 tbsp/few drops) (use fresh petals if you find some, the dark pink ones are best), sugar ( 1 cup or to taste ).

Preparation - Soak the almonds, cashews, khuskhus and watermelon seeds togather. (remove the almond skin once it is soaked)

Dry roast the peppercorns, fennel and cardamom till it gives off a fragrance.

Cooking - Bring the milk to boil in a thick bottomed vessel. After it boils for 5-6 minutes, switch off flame.

Add the sugar and saffron strands to the still hot milk. Mix gently so that the sugar dissolves.Allow to cool.

Transfer the roasted spices to a grinder and make into a paste. Add all the soaked nuts and spices and grind everything till it becomes very fine. Add a little water to thin the consistency if it is getting too difficult to grind. Add this paste along with rose essence to the milk and allow to stand for 1 hour.

Use a cloth to strain and transfer the milk into another vessel (an earthern pot would be ideal but do not worry if you cant find one)

Refrigerate for a few hours.

Garnish with silver foil (warq)/rose petals, nuts and a few strands of saffron and serve chilled with some Gujiya (Karanji).

Note - Fresh rose petals if used, need to be ground along with the nuts and spices.

I have not used any bhang (cannabis) in this preparation. If you want to make bhang thandaii, soak 10-15 cannabis leaves along with the nuts and follow the same procedure as detailed above.

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