Photo of Vegan Thandai Rabri

THANDAI…for Holi!!

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Thandai is a spiced Indian milk served cold. Very popular in the Northern parts of the country. Having lived in Delhi for over a decade (before moving to Dubai), my husband is a huge fan of Delhi’s street food. You start your day with parathas, lunch would be chole bhature/ rajma chawal and kebabs for dinner. Folks, just like my husband, who have spent a substantial part of their life in Delhi share a strong connection with the food there. At night the streets come to life with vendors selling popular street food like chat, momos, Indianized Chinese food and the list goes on with some more shock and awe at the level of experimentation.

With the onset of a festival, a variety of temporary delights is added to the regular list. And every festival is firmly associated with particular items or sweets. It’s the time of the year when we celebrate the festival of colors…Holi. It marks the arrival of spring. Thandai is an absolute scene-stealer during Holi. It is made with milk and thandai masala. This masala is a unique blend of spices, nuts, and rose petals. My first attempt at making this masala is with the exclusion poppy seeds (banned in this part of the world).  However, we loved the result of the experiment. I made a vegan version with coconut milk and the result was surprisingly good. Hope you have a fun-filled Holi!!!!

Vegan Thandai Rabri

Course:  Dessert/beverage
Cuisine: Indian
Preparation Time: 10 min

Cooking Time:  25-30 min
Yield: serves 2
Fennel seeds 1 Tbsp.
Rose petals 1 and ½ Tbsp.
Pepper corns 1 tsp
Cardamom seeds ¼ tsp (6-7 pods shelled)
Melon seeds 1 and ½ Tbsp.
Almonds 20
Pistachios 20
Cashew 20
Coconut milk 1 can(400gms)
Coconut cream 4 Tbsp.
Rose water 2 Tbsp.
Date syrup 3 Tbsp.
  1. Masala:
    grind the ingredients into a fine mixture and store in a air tight container.
  2. Rabri: Pour the coconut milk into a heavy bottom pan and keep stirring at medium heat.
  3. Keep scraping the sides for milk solids and add them back into the milk.
  4. After 8-10 minutes when the milk starts to thicken add in the cream, date syrup and rose water.
  5. Add the thandai masala and keep stirring for another 10-12 minutes.
  6. Increase the heat and keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
  7. Then pour into serving glasses and chill.
    Note : the thandai masala I made has no poppy seeds as they are not available in this part of the world.

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