Holi 2023: Many benefits of drinking thandai on Holi; healthy ways to make it - Hindustan Times
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Holi 2023: Many benefits of drinking thandai on Holi; healthy ways to make it

By, New Delhi
Mar 05, 2023 06:37 PM IST

Minus the bhaang, thandai is considered a healthy drink and aids in boosting energy and immunity while also improving digestion.

Holi 2023: Thandai is a refreshing drink made of milk, sugar, nuts, and other spices that Holi is almost synonymous with. Many people also add bhaang or cannabis to it as is the tradition in several parts of the country. Bhaang, being intoxicating in nature is said to add to the fun quotient of the festival. However, bhaang has its own side effects and may cause rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, poor memory, anxiety and paranoia in people. Minus the bhaang, thandai is considered a healthy drink and aids in boosting energy and immunity while also improving digestion. (Also read: Sunrays: Celebrate, Holi Hai!)

According to mythology the drink is originally said to be consumed during Mahashivratri which falls just a few weeks before the Holi.
According to mythology the drink is originally said to be consumed during Mahashivratri which falls just a few weeks before the Holi.

"Thandai is always associated with Holi and this festival of colours falls at a time when most parts of the country is in transition from winters to summers. As the name ssuggest thandai is meant to bring feeling of relief from the scorching heat of summers. According to mythology the drink is originally said to be consumed during Mahashivratri which falls just a few weeks before the Holi. Thandai is mostly enjoyed in northern part of India and Banaras (now called as Varanasi) being the hub for thandai. Served well with gujiya, mathri, malpua, puranpoli or dahi vadas depends from which community you hail from," says Jagriti Barar, Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, Malad.

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What goes into making a thandai

Thandai is made with milk and sugar, flavoured with nuts and seeds like almonds, cashew nuts, pistachio, fennel seeds, watermelon kernels, muskmelon seeds, pepper, poppy seeds, cardamom, beautify with saffron and rose petals and intoxicated with bhang or leaves of the cannabis plant. The traditional way of making thandai is on a stone slab, which enhances the flavours of the ingredients.

Benefits of thandai without bhaang

"When consumed without bhaang, thandai has countless benefits. Its ingredients make it a healthful drink. It offers instant energy being high in proteins and loaded with fibres. Thandai is known to cool down the body as it is rich in antioxidants, great for gut as it restores the mucous lining," says Barar.

The magic of healthy ingredients

Barar elaborates on the health benefits of each ingredient that goes into bhaang.

- Addition of poppy seeds, melon seeds and nuts makes it high in fibre. It is loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants, almonds make it rich in Vitamin E.

- Saunf acts as a coolant against slowly rising temperatures, aid digestive system and cure flatulence.

- Poppy seeds are a good source of fibre - rich in calcium, 1 tsp contains 9.7mg of magnesium which is good for bone health and heart health. They also help in relieving gastrointestinal irritation.

- Dried rose petals contain phytochemicals and have healing properties for skin.

- Spices such as cardamom and peppercorn are known to boost immunity.

Thandai during pregnancy

"Having so many benefits and wonderful nutrients, thandai is a healthy drink to which one can enjoy during pregnancy also. It can help with heart burn and acidity issues as it has cooling effects. Its natural ingredients boost energy and immunity, also improves digestion. Therefore if prepared at home with pure ingredients, without adding bhaang, it is absolutely safe for pregnancy," says Barar.

How to give a healthy twist to thandai

Although it is not low in calories, as it is loaded with sugar and made entirely of milk. But healthy twist can be given by replacing sugar with jaggery/coconut sugar or fruit pulp. Thandai can also be relished by people who are Vegan by adding almond milk instead of full fat milk.

Side effects of bhaang

"Addition of bhaang or leaves of the cannabis plant to thandai can be fun, but it’s overdose can cause hypertension, sweating and heavy breathing," warns the nutritionist.

How to make healthy thandai at home

Ingredients

• 3-4 tsp – sugar

• 2 cups – full fat milk

• ¼ cup – almonds

• ¼ cup cashew nuts

• ¼ cup - pistachio

• 1 tsp – Poppy seeds and Fennel seeds

• 10-12 – Black/white peppercorns

• ½ tsp – Dried rose petals/edible rose essence

• 1/8 tsp – Saffron strands

• 3-4 – Cardomom

Method

• Soak, blanch and peel the almonds, soak cashew nuts and pista for 8 hours in water. Reserve few raw nuts, chop them finely for garnishing.

• Boil full fat milk along with sugar and let it cool in the refrigerator for atleast an hour, reserving 1/4 cup of warm milk.

• In ¼ cup of warm milk add soaked nuts and watermelon seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom, saffron threads and dried rose petal for 45 minutes. If you want to add edible rose flavour, you can do it later.

• Grind to a smooth paste along with milk. Add the whole paste to the cold milk and let the flavours infuse very well for good 45 minutes. Strain the infused milk, and mix well and refrigerate till serving.

• Serve it with chopped nuts, crushed rose petals and saffron strands

Mango Thandai

Ingredient

• Pulp of 2 large mangoes

• 2.5 cups – full fat milk/almond milk

• 2 tsp – coconut sugar/jaggery

• 10 almonds

• 10 Pistachio

• 1 tsp – Poppy seeds and Fennel seeds

• 10-12 Black/white peppercorns

• ½ tsp – Dried rose petals

• 1/8 tsp – Saffron strands

• 3 cardamom greens

• 1/8th tsp of cumin seeds

Method

• First soak almonds, cashews and pistachio overnight.

• Heat the pan and boil the milk/almond milk. Add coconut sugar/jaggery to it. After 2 boils keep it aside and let it cool.

• Restore ½ cup of milk, add peeled and soaked nuts, pepper, cumin, fennel for an hour. Grind it to make a paste.

• Mix this paste and mango pulp with cold milk and let the flavours infuse for 45 minutes. Again run everything in a blender for a spin to mix well.

• Garnish it with chopped nuts, fresh mango slices and rose petals.

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