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Holi Recipes with a twist


Holi Recipes with a twist

~Inputs by Payal Kothari, Integrative Nutritionist & Gut Health Coach~


In India, childhood memories of Holi are about building friends, filling water balloons a night before and buying turbo looking pichkaris and the weirdest of colors. A few stories remain in our hearts and minds every time Holi is nearing. Hilarious memories of how someone got eggs to crush on someone’s head, how funny that aunty behaved because she didn’t know that the thandai had lots of bhaang in it. Holi is undoubtedly the most colorful fun festival celebrating the full moon and its impact on our lives.


At times though, it can also lead to terrible throat allergies, fever and upset stomachs because of outside foods and tap water. To help you prevent any of these I have prepared an immunity boosting drink with gut bacteria healing properties.


The most sought after drink on Holi is thandai. Here I’ve tried it with kefir instead of milk, because sometimes milk causes phlegm and many are also intolerant to it. Kefir has multiple strains of good bacteria that can help you with your gut which is your immunology and hormone producing zone. It’s a superb replacement for milk and yogurt - all nutrients are in place and it tastes delicious. A little on the sour side but honey, brown sugar or stevia can make the drink as sweet as you would like it.



  • 1 glass of kefir (you can use Kefir Culture)
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup water (adjust accordingly)


  • 1 tbsp. cashews
  • 1 tbsp. melon seeds (chaarmagaz)
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron strands
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg powder
  • 1-2 tsp. rose petal spread (gulkand)
  • 1.5 tsp. fennel seeds powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 12 pieces almonds
  • 15 pieces pistachios
  • 3 pieces black peppercorns



  1. Pour kefir Culture in a bowl and soak saffron strands in it. Allow it to sit for 15 - 20 minutes. Soaking saffron strands in kefir releases its color and flavor.


  1. Stir it with a spoon and the kefir will have a beautiful pale yellow color. Set it aside.


  1. Now let's assemble our thandai masala ingredients. Feel free to adjust the spices according to taste.


  1. Powder all the nuts and spices separately in a grinder. Set aside (you can ground these in a motor and pestle too).


  1. Now pour the kefir in a heavy bottomed pan and turn on the stove.


  1. When it comes to a full boil, stir in the nuts and spices one by one.


  1. Whisk so that no lumps remain. Add sugar and keep stirring the liquid. Give it a good boil again and take it off the flame. Allow it to cool completely.


  1. Stir in the rose spread and rose water. If no rose spread is available add 2 tablespoons of rose water.


  1. Allow it to sit for a while (an hour or more) so that it can soak in all the flavors. Later sieve it through a strainer, add water and refrigerate this drink for at least 3-4 hours or until chilled (thandai tastes best when served chilled).




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