spiced chilled almond milk thandai


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.


I’m guessing if it is as hot as it is here in D.C., you will probably be like me thinking of all sorts of ways to cool off. At this point, getting wet while watering the garden is turning out to be a pleasant experience! There are more convenient and better ways to chill in this hot and humid weather, one being this delicious drink from Northern India.


, as it is commonly called is a chilled drink mildly laced with delicious fragrant spices served on hot summer days and during


– the festival of color. 

Almond milk and sunflower seedsThandai spice mix

All the spices ground to prepare the


are aromatic that contribute distinctive tastes but they somehow magically come together. The licorice-like taste of fennel with the green cardamom seeds provide the sweet flavor for the background to the drink while the peppercorn and cloves lend a refreshing taste. It is best to use good quality and fresh spices when preparing the blend to get a delicious tasting batch of


. I’ve modified and adapted the recipe from Julie Sahni’s

Classic Indian Cooking


Thandai glassful

Though, I have used almond milk to prepare the


, traditionally you would use chilled milk or water. However, I find the flavors of the spices to be much more delicate and balanced when almond milk or milk are used. I also prefer my final drink to be less sweet in taste and so I reduced the amount of sugar but feel free to add more sugar if you like it sweeter.

Chilled thandai

spiced chilled almond milk thandai 


8-10 servings


2 tablespoons fennel seeds

a pinch of saffron (optional)

1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds

6 whole cloves

10 peppercorns

1 cup toasted watermelon or sunflower seeds 

4 cups boiling water

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 cups fresh almond milk, chilled 

1. Grind the fennel, saffron, cardamom, cloves, and cardamom in a coffee or spice grinder to a fine powder. 

2. Add the sunflower seeds along with half the water, ground spices, and sugar to a food processor. Blend to get a smooth paste. Add the remaining water and pulse for 5 seconds. 

3. Pass the mixture from the blender through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze and press out as much liquid over a bowl as you can by wringing the cheesecloth as tight as possible. Transfer the liquid concentrate to a clean bottle and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before use. 

4. Before preparing the drink stir the chilled concentrate (some separation might occur on standing which is perfectly normal). In a large bowl, mix the concentrate with the chilled almond milk before serving. Pour the thandai into chilled glasses containing 

crushed ice or ice cubes. The concentrate stays good for up to a week in the refrigerator.

43 Responses

  1. Wow Nik…I want a glass of that right now….awesome and look at ur pics…awesome!!!

  2. That looks so good in your photos. The idea of spiced warm milk in the winter is rumbling around in my head right now.

  3. I love how flavored with spices this milk is… I'd love to have a good cup of it before going to bed. The pictures make it even more inviting.

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  5. Great pictures. And such a nice looking drink. I've never had one of these spiced, chilled milk drinks before. They look so refreshing, and I particularly like the idea of substituting almond milk. Really nice – thanks.

  6. looks so good… i love almond milk.. never thought of adding cloves and all to it. Yum! It was super hot in NYC, now it's in the 70s and early 80s.

  7. After marriage, I truly believe that Indian's love their spices and add some in practically everything!! This is so refreshing!

    I had my first taste of thandai a year ago. I need to emulate the flavors at home. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  8. Kiran, that is so true. We do love our spices and infused them into almost anything. I am glad you have the recipe now to give it a shot at home.

  9. I've never heard of Thandai but I will remember now. Love the spice in the almond milk. I can drink up in this hot and humid weather here. 🙂

  10. Awesome thandai! I have some almond milk that needed ideas! I think I found it! Amazing pictures btw!

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