Its Holi and its our traditional festival of colours. Couple of decades ago no one in the south would have even known about Holi, but because of its fun element over the years its come to be a pan Indian festival immensely popular all over the country. Though to see the aggression with which this festival is celebrated you’ll have to be in the North. I used to be terrified of this festival, somehow being dunked in colour was very unappealing, but once the first round of colour hits you it doesn’t matter, and I would end up joining the rest. No Holi for me here, I put some turmeric over my daughter, because she has seen holi only in movies and the pictures of her cousins playing with colours, she loved the yellow of the the turmeric on her and didn’t ask me any more questions! After the Holi is played its a round of thandai for everyone, sometimes its laced with bhang (marijuana), but mine is the non-narco version of this very cooling super flavoured spicy milk.
SOAK 1/4 cup almonds, 1 tablepsoons cashew, 1 tablespoon pistachio in warm water for 2 hours. Peel off the skin of almonds and pistachios and set aside.
BOIL 3 cups milk with couple of tablespoons of sugar to taste, set aside and cool thoroughly.
BLEND. Using a spice blender, make a smooth paste of the soaked nuts, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1/2 tablespoon peppercorn, good pinch saffron, 2 cardamom pods with a little warm water.
COMBINE the nut and spice paste with the cooled, sweetened milk. Stir in a tablespoon of pure rose water, and a few dried rose petals if you have. Refrigerate overnight.
STRAIN and use.
This drink is so simple yet typical of the rich tasting smorgasbord of North Indian beverages. Enjoy the colours of life folks!!