Thandai - The ultimate Indian spiced cold beverage

Picture of Thandai - The ultimate Indian spiced cold beverage
How many times it happens when you sip a drink and say Ahhh...its so divine. Thandai (pronounced Than as in thunder, dai as in die) is such a drink my dear fellows. 

Thandai is a native & popular cold drink in India and is traditionally prepared as a religious offering to Lord Shiva on the occassion of  Mahashivratri and also during Holi (the festival of color).  During these festivals it is also mixed with Opium (powder or paste) to make it an intoxicating drink. We will not do that here :)

There is no equivalent word for Thandai in English but you can consider it a refrigerant because it helps keep your body cool.

Every year we celebrate Mahashivratri at home and make this divine drink (in reality we make it anytime, because it tastes so good). Therefore this recipe is native to my family but I will be honest, most of the ingredients are just common and process is just shifting of steps here & there.

I love this drink over any unnatural (made using essence and chemicals) drink because it is all natural and healthy, packed with protein, health fats (a.k.a essential fatty acids) and fiber.

Once you had its taste, I am sure it will become your favorite summer drink, even kids love it.

Useful information:

Preparation Time: 3-4 hours (only for refrigeration)
Cooking: 15 mins
Servings: 3-4
Vegan: No (Try almond milk or Soy, I have not tried it though)
Vegetarian: Yes

Lets make this divine drink.

UPDATE July 23, 2013: I have found a very detailed article about the health benefits of Thandai, now you can enjoy it even more without any guilt ;-). Check it out here:  Time Of India. I noticed they mentioned pumpkin seeds here instead of Melon seeds.
sunshiine1 month ago

How did I miss this one? I love your pictures Tarun~ I found this because of the Saffron. I am researching this amazing spice. Thanks for sharing~


Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  sunshiine1 month ago

Thank you so much sunshine :).

Oh i miss drinking thandai...im making it this weekend. Miss the bhaang too! Its become reallly difficult to find it now in India.
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  jayeshshinai1 month ago

Sorry to respond super late :( Yes bhang is not commonly available these days.

Thanks for stopping by :)

omg this is got to be the most amazing drink / dessert with all of my beloved ingredients in such an unexpected combo!! i must make it!!
... or ask the lucky lord shiva to share a drop with me??? =)
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  blissful20152 years ago
There you are my dear friend, I have been missing you here :). I have so glad you liked this, please do share your experience when you give it a try.
Lord Shiva is very soft hearted, he would not mind :)
HollyMann2 years ago
Tarun I thought I commented on here but I guess not....just wanted to say this looks incredible and I bet it tastes even better. Your main image is gorgeous..looks delicio
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  HollyMann2 years ago
Thank so much Holly, it is always nice to have you visit and comment :). And yes it is delicious :)
Is there a substitute for melon seeds..thnx
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  Marwanmemow 2 years ago
You can do without melon seeds. However if you have noticed the update above in the introduction, some recipes also mention Pumpkin Seeds (Skinned I guess). hope this helps. Honestly I never tried pumpkin seeds, but I think they will work, because I do remember how they taste.
bobribbon2 years ago
Haha, but I did try it - that's why I can say it's an instant favourite!
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  bobribbon2 years ago
Oh I am so glad that you liked it :). Thank you .You are awesome.
bobribbon2 years ago
Haha, but I did try it - that's why I can say it's an instant favourite!
flammaefata2 years ago
Wow, it looks really interesting! I was just wondering about the melon seeds - are they from a orange or green melon, or doesn't it matter? And do you just keep them and dry them yourself when you buy melon, or can you buy them as well?
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  flammaefata2 years ago
Thank you for stopping by :[) Melon seeds are usually musk melon (the one with orange inside), you can dry them at home or you can buy them from store. I bought them from store because they are easily available and widely used in Indian sweets.
bobribbon2 years ago
It is amazing, instant favourite!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  bobribbon2 years ago
You are welcome :). Hope you will like it when you give it a try.
bob30302 years ago
This sounds delicious. I like spiced drinks such as egg nog and chai. Thank you for sharing.
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  bob30302 years ago
Thank you for stopping by :) looks like your spicy drinks list just grew up a little more :)
I love your presentation and your pictures! Nicely done!
Thank you so much for your kind words :)
Wow I would never had thought of that crazy idea!!!!:)
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  zhamster rules2 years ago
Ideas are contagious :). Thank you for stopping by:)
babybayrs2 years ago
Great ible and photos! Thanks for your time authoring and posting it!
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  babybayrs2 years ago
Thank you so much babybayrs :). Nice to have you visit here.
what do you use if you not have melon seeds
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  Marwanmemow 2 years ago
Melon seeds adds to creamy texture, you can do without them too :)
BayRatt2 years ago
This is fascinating! And your pictures are so inviting! Wasn't so long ago I only knew of "curry" (and really not authentic curry)... more recently I've had the pleasure of working with a few folks from India & Pakistan, and sometimes they feed me. I'm learning so much, and LOVING it. I want to try this recipe. Will have to check with my coworkers about where to obtain a few of the ingredients though.

When soaking the seeds, do you use water or milk? How long will it keep? I'm just thinking I will be the only person drinking this at home and might prefer not to drink it all at once.
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  BayRatt2 years ago
Thank you so much for your kinds words :[).
I mentioned that in Ingredient list :), but again for you :)
You can soak them in plain water for 20-30 minutes.
BTW.. I posted some really delicious Indian recipes instructables, I hope you check them out.
Sorry I missed to answer this:
You can keep the paste in refrigerator for about a week. The fully prepared Thandai I will not recommend keeping for more than a two days.
It looks so yummy! I'll give it a try :)
Oh!! you bet it tastes awesome, give it a try, this is perfect time for you I guess.
Thank you so much Muhaiminah :)
Shubh V2 years ago
o my my wat a blend so natural n heavenly drink!! lovely beautification u just awesome tarun:-):-)
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  Shubh V2 years ago
Thank you o much my lovely Friend :)
flavrt2 years ago
Thank you. A fantastic presentation in ever way. It will be difficult to gather all the ingredients, but you have made Thandai irresistible to me.

I am able to make creamy smoothies with non-fat yogurt by adding a pinch of xanthan gum. That would likely work with this drink.
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  flavrt2 years ago
Thank you so much for your kinds words :). If you live outside India, may be in US, you can find all of these available in an Asian or Indian store. You can also get them from Amazon.com.
Good Luck with your experiment :). Please do share your experience.
antoniraj2 years ago
nice... it looks very thick. how do you consume it..? drink or use a spoon..?
Tarun Upadhyaya (author)  antoniraj2 years ago
Thank you good Sir. I like the texture of smoothie so I make it thick, but its drinkable. But using a spoon is also not an issue. To make it more thinner in consistency, just add a little extra milk.