Almond Beverage (Thandai)

Serves 4.


90 g/3 oz blanched almonds
10 whole peppercorns (optional)
60 g/2 oz raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds or ground cardamom
750 ml/1 1/2 pints/3 cups water
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups milk
125 g/4 oz/1/2 cup sugar or to taste rose water (optional)


In an electric blender combine almonds, peppercorns and seeds with half the water and blend at high speed until finely ground. Strain into a jug using double thickness of clean muslin. Press out as much moisture as possible, then return the residue to the blender with the remaining water and repeat. Mix strained liquid with milk and sugar to taste, and a dash of rose water if liked. Pour over crushed ice and serve.

Tip: Save the ground almond meal and use it for thickening curries, particularly northern Indian classics like lamb korma.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)