by Angela Clutton

A wonderful blend of nuts and spices in sweetened, saffron-infused milk

The saffron gives this drink an entrancingly deep colour that is well-matched by the depth of flavour from the spices. With its pretty garnish of chopped pistachios and petals, this is a refreshing, cooling, treat of a drink. It is just one of the international family of soothing, milk-based drinks that you can read more about here.


Seeds from 5 green cardamom pods
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp saffron threads
30g skinned almonds
¾ tsp melon or sunflower seeds
40g granulated sugar
1-2 tbsp rose water
500ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp pistachios, chopped
1 tsp edible rose, cornflower, or hibiscus petals


Lightly toast the cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan. Transfer to a bowl and add the saffron, almonds, melon (or sunflower) seeds, sugar, and 1 tbsp of the rosewater. Pour over half of the milk, cover and set aside for 2 hours.

Blend until fine, strain out and discard any remaining solids, and add the rest of the milk to the infusion. Taste to see if you think it needs more sugar or rosewater. If it seems too thick, you can add some water to get the consistency you want.

Chill for another 2 hours before serving—thandai needs to be served very cold. Garnish with the pistachios and petals scattered over the top.

Recipe: Angela Clutton
Image: Orlando Gili