Have you tried thadal before? (Pronounced Thaa- dull) It is a well known drink in Pakistan, especially in the province of Sindh (where my parents are from) but I don’t think many outside of Pakistan know much about this flavourful summer drink. This drink is huge on flavour and is full of good for you spices. It has layers of spices, infused into the drink by soaking them overnight with almonds. Thadal is to almond milk, what chai is to regular tea. It just takes it up notch, and makes it so much better!
Once the almonds and spices are blended with some water and strained, it turns this into a magical spice infused almond drink that is totally caffeine free, dairy free, sugar free – but tastes creamy and refreshing like it really should be bad for you!
Thadal syrup is easy to find in our local south asian grocery stores. But I don’t like how store bought thadal syrup is basically just liquid sugar with a little bit of artificial flavouring. I like to be able to control the flavours and sweetness in my drinks, and just prefer to eat real food and use natural ingredients where possible, so decided I would try to healthy this up. Turns out thadal is not that hard to make at all! It is really as easy as: soak-blend-strain- drink!
My healthier version of thadal is based off a basic thadal recipe my mom shared with me, with a few additional tweaks. I make the thadal concentrate without any sugar or sweetener. Then if I feel like sweetening it up, I’ll just add some honey or maple syrup to sweeten the drink in my glass. Or if you have a sweet tooth you can even make this the concentrate a bit sweeter, but still processed sugar free, by adding a couple of dates when blending it up.
Pro-tip: I like adding a splash of rose water to my thadal just before serving to give it a slightly floral hint too!
So now you can enjoy a glass, or two, of this refreshing summer treat, without any of the sugar guilt!
Try a tall glass of thadal on ice to cool you off the next time you are looking for healthy caffeine free iced drink.
Thadal – Spiced Almond Refresher
- 1/4 cup raw almonds (about 25-35 almonds)
- 2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 4-5 cardamon pods (elaichi)
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (white zeera)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp poppy seeds (khash khash)
- 2 tsp melon seeds (char maghaz)
- 4 cups filtered water
- 4 seeded dates (optional)
- 2/3 cup filtered water
- 1/3 cup thadal concentrate
- 1 tsp rose water (optional)
- sweetener of choice – recommended: Honey or maple syrup (optional)
- lots of ice
- In a large bowl or jug, soak all the ingredients and set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours. Preferably overnight.
- Pour the soaked ingredients and water into a food processor or high-powered blender (I used a vitamix). Blend for 2-3 minutes till all the ingredients are well blended and there are no more large pieces visible.
- Using a thin kitchen towel, cheese cloth or a nut milk bag over a clean jug, pour out the blended liquid. Squeeze the cloth to get out the remaining liquid from the pulp.
- Repeat this straining and sqeezing process at least 3 to 4 more times to make sure you get out any remaining solids in the thadal base. The remaining liquid will look like a watered down almond milk and smell refreshing like all those spices!
- Discard the pulp left in the cloth (or you can save the pulp to turn into almond based spiced cookies – see my recipe notes below)*. Pour the liquid thadal base into a jug or jar with a lid and refrigerate till ready to use.
- This thadal base can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Or freeze for much longer and defrost when you are ready to drink.
- Pour 1/3 a cup of the thadal base into a glass. Add lots of ice, 1 tsp of rose water (if using) and add more water to fill the glass. Add your sweetener of choice or serve straight up for a creamy chilled treat.
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