How To Make Thandai

They say you eat with our eyes. Anuj Kothari, founder of No-Mad, shares a fond memory of his father based on this old saying:

"As a child, I remember sometimes getting frustrated by how tediously my dad worked to make a meal look perfect. He could never just put food down in front of you. Instead, he arranged it beautifully, often wiping the edges of the plate while you stood there eagerly waiting for him to hand it back to you so you could take it to the table to devour. One day, I impatiently asked him why it mattered, pointing out that it was just me eating the food and that I was no fancy guest. He replied, "because first, you taste with your eyes." It took me a minute, but I then understood and appreciated what he meant by this. It communicated to me that every meal I eat should be fully valued; from how delicious it tastes to how delicious it looks on the plate. And he is completely right: a beautiful meal just tastes better. I loved that he took pride in each meal he served, even just for his young and sometimes unappreciative children. He showed me how much of a gift mealtime can be: an important way to nourish both your body and your soul."

Holi is a festival of colours that celebrates the onset of spring. In India, almost all festivals are associated with food and Holi is no different. Besides all of the food (both savoury and sweet), that is traditionally consumed on Holi is a drink called Thandai. Made from whole milk, almonds, sugar and a speciality of mixed spices, including pepper, cardamom and fennel, Thandai is sometimes also spiked with an intoxicant, Bhaang. At No-Mad, staying true to our philosophy of natural, healthy living, we make our own Thandai, but with a twist.

Ingredients (serves 4): 3 cups chilled almond milk 10 almonds, blanched/peeled and crushed 10 soft dates, deseeded and chopped 1 vanilla pod 1 tsp cinnamon powder

Instructions: To blanch/peel almonds, heat some water in a small pan. Once almost boiling, add the almonds, turn off the heat and allow to sit for about two minutes. Drain, and the peels should then easily slide off the almonds when pressed. In a blender; add the dates, crushed almonds and one cup of the chilled milk. Blend until smooth. Add remaining milk and split the vanilla pod to disperse the seeds in the mixture. Blend until frothy. Taste, and adjust the consistency by adding milk to thin the shake. Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon for that dash of spice. Serve cold. Enjoy!

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