Thandai was my favorite drink growing up! What is Thandai? Thandai aka Thand means cold in Hindi. Thandai is a spiced boozy cold milk drink served during the Holi festival in India signifying the onset of Spring. It is made with a ton of nuts and spices steeped in warm milk, and served cold. My mom would make this drink for us as kids without the booze ofcourse, and it is my absolute favorite drink till date! The powder is made with almonds, cashews, pistachios, spices like star anise, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, poppy seeds, cloves, black pepper and dried rose petals. This powder is then steeped in milk for about 10-15 minutes with saffron and sugar. Once steeped, it is left to cool in the fridge, and strained before serving cold to get this luxurious, rich, delicious, spiced milk which is simply amazing!
I had the idea for this ice cream since June 2017 but never had a chance to make it. Ice creams are so fun to make, since you can come up with different flavor combos, and experiment with crunch and texture. I love adding crunch to my ice creams. Here I made a Thandai ice cream with a custard base and added bits of Pistachio Cardamom Rose Brittle to the ice cream, and in between the layers as well. Rose syrup was added in between the layers as well, giving it that beautiful floral flavor and a lovely pink color.
The brittle is soooo good AS IS, and I was munching on it, while assembling the ice cream. Is it irresistible!
Oh, a little fun fact about my childhood. So my favorite brand of rose syrup was Mapro Rose Syrup. Mapro is a company based 4 hours outside of Mumbai, in a small hill station called Mahableshwar. It is a place where they grow strawberries in abundance and the best strawberries come from there. Mapro makes different syrups, like rose syrup, strawberry syrup, and these amazing soft jelly candies, in different colors, and as kids we used to LOVE THEM! So their rose syrup being my favorite, I would have the rose syrup with cold milk every single night before going to bed! It was my dessert and one that I still LOVE a lot occasionally. It would be my middle of the night snack when I was studying hard. I was a late night bird and would study until the wee hours of the morning till 4am. Anyways, to tell you how much I love this syrup, whenever my dad visits me, I still ask him to get the same brand of the syrup after all of 19 years being in the US! I am loyal to the brand even after all these years :). My kids love it too, and I let them have it with cold milk in the summers. Passing on the tradition – oh yea :)!
Back to the ice cream, It is seriously so flavorful, and a flavor that I love so much. The thandai powder can be used to make these amazing Thandai Shortbread Cookies, which are part of the Bake from Scratch Vol 2 Book! So exciting! They have been hugely popular especially in the month of December! I had so many followers make it, and it was fun seeing their take on it, and how much they enjoyed it!
I hope you get a chance to make this ice cream! If you do, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on this blog post!
So exciting that Spring is a week away! Enjoy!
- Thandai Powder:
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup pistachios and cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 15 black peppercorns
- seeds from 7-8 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5-6 cloves
- 2 tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp anise seeds
- 10 dried roses
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
- Pistachio-Cardamom-Rose Brittle:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup shelled and toasted pistachios(the color of the shelled pistachios is much more vibrant)
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 3/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp dried rose petals crushed by hand
- Ice Cream Base:
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/3 cup thandai powder
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 tbsp rose syrup (available on Amazon.com)
- Thandai Powder:
- In a small bowl, add in all the ingredients and mix them together roughly. In a coffee grinder, in small batches - roughly 3 batches, add in the mixture and blend well until finely ground.
- Pistachio-Cardamom-Rose Brittle:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Keep everything ready near the saucepan.
- In a dry heavy saucepan cook sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork, until melted and cook, without stirring, swirling pan, just until a golden caramel. It takes about 3-4 minutes. Add pistachios, cardamom and salt, stirring until coated well. Immediately pour mixture onto baking sheet and spread it out evenly with the spatula quickly. Sprinkle the crushed rose petals evenly and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Chop the brittle into pieces with a sharp knife.
- Ice cream:
- Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
- Set a strainer over a medium bowl set in a larger bowl containing ice and 2 cups water. Heat the milk, cream, thandai powder, 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steam appears and the milk is warm (about 175 degrees), about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until combined and pale yellow, whisk it vigorously. Whisk half the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.
- Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan; set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until steam appears, foam subsides, and the mixture is slightly thickened or an instant-read thermometer registers 180 to 185 degrees. (Do not boil the mixture, or the eggs will curdle.)
- Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set in the ice bath; cool the custard to room temperature, stirring it occasionally to help it cool. Once cooled, add in the vanilla extract and stir. Cover and refrigerate for atleast 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Once, the custard is ready, pour the custard into the ice cream machine and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream for 25 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, add half the pistachio brittle broken into small pieces, into the ice cream and churn for another 5 minutes for a total of 25 minutes.
- Transfer 1/2 of the ice cream to an airtight container, swirl about 3 tbsp of the rose syrup on top of the ice cream. Add about 1/2 of the remaining brittle pieces covering the ice cream. Repeat the process again. Cover the container with an aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and let it set in the deep freezer for 2-3 hours.
- You can garnish with pistachio brittle if some is leftover.