Thandai (Spiced Almond Milk) and Thandai Lassi (Yogurt Drink). vegan glutenfree

Hope you all had a colorful and safe Holi. More about Holi and sweets and savories made during the festival on the previous post.
Thandai is a drink served during the festival. The poppy seeds and other spices in the drink cause a cooling/freshening effect after drinking it. The onset of Spring in North India usually means a good amount of heat. So this is the drink to help with the changing weather!
Thandai is usually made with full fat milk and ground almonds. This is a quick and more delicious version of the Thandai. No straining or cooking needed! Make some spice, add ground cashew and some chilled Almond Milk!

I also made some Thandai Lassi! Lassi is usually made by blending yogurt with water until frothy, and made sweet or savory. This Lassi is made with Coconut Milk Yogurt and the Thandai spices. Use spices and sweet to preference.
Dry Grind the following spices and keep. You can also make a larger quantity to use and edit the quantities to your preference.
1/8 tsp cardamom powder or 1 green cardamom
1/2+ tsp poppy seeds
1/8 tsp fennel seeds
2 black peppercorns
1/4 tsp saffron
a few dry watermelon seeds 
Dry grind
1/4 cup raw cashews as fine as possible. 
In a blender, add the ground cashew and spice mix, add 1/2 cup Almond milk and blend well until smooth.
Add about 1 cup more almond milk and raw sugar as needed (1.5-2 Tablespoons raw sugar or maple or dates). Blend and chill for at least an hour, to let the spices infuse in the drink.
Give it a mix before serving. Garnish with chopped pistachios and a few saffron strands.
If you have rose water or pistachio essence, add some to taste.
In a blender, add the ground cashew and spice mix, add 1/2 cup almond milk. Blend well until smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour so the spices can infuse the almond milk.
To the chilled spice and almond milk mix, Add 1/2-3/4 cup of non dairy yogurt and 1/2 cup of water(less or more to preference for lassi consistency), 1.5 Tablespoons raw sugar or to taste, and blend. Add more or less water for needed consistency of Lassi. Serve immediately!

For a larger batch of the spice mix. Dry grind and keep in airtight container, refrigerated for a few days.
1/2 tsp cardamom powder or 2-3 green cardamom(elaichi)
2 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
5-6 black peppercorns( kali mirch)
3/4 tsp saffron (kesar)
1 teaspoon watermelon seeds(magaj)
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  1. says

    My husband would LOVE this drink, he always orders lassi when we eat Indian, but we have great problems getting the coconut products in the UK, I’ve never seen the yogurt. Do you need to add yogurt or could you use something else?

    • says

      Thanks Vicky. There are 2 variations you can make.. the first one is just thandai with almond milk, the other lassi has yogurt. Lassi usually means yogurt drink. You can culture your own yogurt. I just add a little active culture to either thick cashew milk or coconut milk, and keep it in a warm place covered with cloth.

    • says

      I might make coconut milk using dessicated coconut. I just meant, since you added the water, if you could make a comparable drink without the yogurt? Sorry it wasn’t clear! So thandai is probably the answer, thank you!

  2. says

    Thanks Richa this recipe looks yummy!

    I have always made thandai with all the masala just with regular milk.

    Since we do use almonds in there I know almond milk would work great too will have to try for sure

    • says

      Thanks Archena. The almond milk and cashews make it a nice and creamy mix,so dairy milk is not needed. Hope you like this version!

  3. says

    I think I would chug that entire glass in one gulp, it looks/sounds so good! Maybe next year I will celebrate Holi, seeing that I missed it this year. I will bring some rainbow donuts to share :)

    • says

      I bet you would.. though it is quite creamy to really chug in one go:)
      Oh yes, get them donuts! and we will put the same colors on you and we all will be one big colorful camouflage!

  4. says

    Both drinks look delicious! This is compelty new to me, but I love the idea of adding spices to a cool milk drink. My kids love almond milk and I look froward to suprising them with these drinks on a warm day.

  5. says

    first time seeing vegan recipes for thandai and thandai lassi…. just loved it. i must try some vegan recipes now…. but i don’t get any vegan ingredients here. and i am very lazy to make them at home.

    • says

      Dassana, I try a few new packaged things here since they are so easily available and then eventually start making everything at home to avoid all the added ingredients.
      You probably get coconut milk easily right.. It works like regular milk for yogurt and other needs! We sometimes dilute it with almond milk. Any nut milk is easier in india with all the powerful blender! Just soak and blend!

    • says

      alright. i sometimes make coconut milk at home. coconut milk is easy and so is any nut milk. and for the vegan yogurt, i will check the link you gave on your fb page.

      one question richa. i was vegan for almost a year. at this time i would have soy milk and i just did not like the indian brands and especially the taste. at this time i did not know about the nuts milk.

      is something wrong with the soy beans?… i don’t see you adding soy milk in any of your vegan drinks…. any issues with the soy milk that is sold outside especially in india?

    • says

      Mainly because i dont like the taste. :) there are lots of controversies with soy.. 98% soy in the US is genetically modified. Also excessive consumption of soy in any form other than naturally fermented is linked to certain health problems like thyroid and such. Though soy is also beneficial in some ways.
      We already end up consuming soy in processed goods unknowingly(soy lecithin is used in pretty much everything to keep things like buttery spreads from separating etc).We eat fermented soy like tempeh, miso. I try to avoid the highly processed versions. like soy milk, soy based cheeses, and even tofu. Hope this helps.

  6. says

    first of all, i love the idea of celebrating holi. i think i will celebrate next year, and DEFINITELY make this drink and gulp it down in a matter of seconds. the spice mix sounds absolutely delicious. i may make it this weekend..i just can’t wait until next year!

    • says

      Thats what we did.. You can try with less spice first.. since the poppy seeds together with the pepper has quite a strong cooling spice effect!:) I also froze some today to dig into a tub later!:)

  7. says

    Oh this sounds so good, I love almond milk! The addition of the cardamom sounds so delicious:-) I have never heard of watermelon seeds being consumed, that is intriguing:-) Sending hugs, Terra

  8. says

    Oh my gosh!!! This is so awesome! I love cardamom, poppy seeds, fennel, cashews… would never have put them in a drink though. So good!

  9. says

    What a wonderful lassi recipe! I love the photo of the lassi with the orange background. I may give this a try — minus the fennel. Would that ruin it?

    • says

      Thanks Andrea..I dont think anything can ruin a lassi:) i mean i can drink this with just some saffron and cardamom. Do let me know when you try it!

  10. says

    Wow! Looks refreshing! I wonder what i could use instead of cashews…maybe some homemade yogurt…not sure i’ll get it to be as thick. But the spices seem interesting. :)

    • says

      Thanks Lovlie! You can add any powdered nut.. or even oats.. though with oats, you should probably add them before serving else it will feel slimy. Or just make mix the ground spices with yogurt and let them infuse without blending the yogurt. and blend with more yogurt before serving!

    • says

      Thanks Heather.. I actually had only that much left to just about fit in one glass.. and dint know what to do with the picture..:)

  11. says

    Hi Richa, I had this thandai at Kamini’s yesterday and its absolutely amazing. Interestingly, a day before, I had to have the cow milk version at Holi celebrations of a relative and I hated it. Infact I became quite sick after drinking it! This Thandai is an answer to all those people who still believe that vegans cant enjoy traditional Indian sweets, cruelty free!

    • says

      That is Awesome! I know right.. its called Spiced Almond Milk when you tell anyone what thandai is… so it should be Spiced almond milk.. not cow milk:))


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