Citizens, be advised that this recipe brings “intoxicating” to a whole new level.
It has marijuana in it. A LOT OF MARIJUANA.
Before I lose you, know that this recipe is presented in celebration of Holi (pronunciation: /ˈhoʊliː/; Sanskrit: होली Holī) known as the festival of colors or the festival of sharing love.
The ceremonial drink shared amongst millions of Hindus in India, Nepal and elsewhere during Holi has enough marijuana in it to turn a rampaging bull elephant into a mewling kitten with an epic case of the munchies.
Please note that TFD is in no way endorsing recreational marijuana usage in states or countries where it is an illegal controlled substance! This recipe is presented in the spirit of learning about and appreciating new cultures – you choose to make this at your own risk!!!
I do also offer a completely MJ-free version of the recipe should you wish to try it without guilt or legal issues. 🙂
With all that out of the way: Holi is celebrated at the approach of the vernal equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian Calendar.
The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.
It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.
It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of Hindus or people of Indian origin. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colours.
Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire where people gather, sing, dance and party.
The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors, where participants play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons for their water fight. It’s positively psychedelic, as the pictures below amply demonstrate!
Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colors occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings.
Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People visit family, friends and foes to throw colored powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks.
Many of these drinks are intoxicating. For example, Bhang (Hindi: भांग) is a preparation of cannabis (aka Marijuana) traditionally used in food and drink in the Indian subcontinent. It is mixed into drinks and sweets and consumed by millions during holidays.
To make Bhang, a mortar and pestle is used to grind the buds and leaves of cannabis into a paste. To this mixture, milk, ghee and spices are then added.
The bhang base is now ready to be made into a heavy drink, thandai, an alternative to alcohol; this is often referred to casually, if inaccurately, as a “bhang thandai” and “bhang lassi”.
Whether you choose to observe Holi or not, do try my “virgin” version of the drink as it is delicious anytime!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
Cannabis Paste (Bhang):
2 cups water
1 ounce marijuana (fresh leaves and flowers of a female plant preferred) For a virgin version of this sacred and delicious Hindu beverage, use 1 ounce of mint leaves instead. Or go ½ mint, ½ Cannabis for a milder experience
3 cups warm milk
For the sugar syrup:
Water – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
2 tbsp green (small) cardamoms crushed
For the Thandai:
2 tbsp almonds blanched
2 tbsp cashew nuts chopped
4 tbsp pistachio chopped
½ cup condensed milk
2 teaspoons rose water
Watermelon/Cantaloupe Seeds (Kharboje Ke Beej) – 1 tbsp
Poppy seeds (Khus Khus) – ½ tbsp
Fennel seeds (Saunf) – ½ tbsp
Cardamom Powder (Elaichi Powder) – ½ tsp
Whole Peppercorns (Sabut Kali Mirch) – 1 tsp
Ginger powder – 1 tsp
4 Saffron threads
Dried or Fresh Rose Petals (Gulab Ki Pati) – for garnish
Bring the water to a rapid boil and pour into a clean teapot. Remove any seeds or twigs from the marijuana, add it to the teapot and cover. Let this brew for about 7 minutes.
Now strain the water and marijuana through a piece of muslin cloth, collect the water and save.
Take the leaves and flowers and squeeze between your hands to extract any liquid that remains. Add this to the water.
Place the leaves and flowers in a mortar and add 2 teaspoons warm milk. Slowly but firmly grind the milk and leaves together. Gather up the marijuana and squeeze out as much milk as you can. Repeat this process until you have used about ½ cup of milk (about 4 to 5 times).
Collect all the milk that has been extracted and place in a bowl. By this time the marijuana will have turned into a pulpy mass. Discard this.
Make the syrup:
Heat the water in a big vessel or in a big pan and dissolve the sugar in it.
Remove from the flame add crushed green cardamoms and keep stirring for 2 minutes.
Keep the syrup in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.
Make the Thandai:
Crush and Blend Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, Poppy seeds, Watermelon seeds, Ginger, Cantaloupe Seeds, Peppercorns, Cardamom Powder, Saffron, Fennel seeds and condensed milk until it becomes a thick paste.
Squeeze this paste and collect the extract as before. Repeat a few more times until all that is left are some fibers and nut meal. Discard the residue.
Combine all the liquids that have been collected, including the water the marijuana was brewed in. Add to this the sugar syrup and remaining milk.
Add condensed milk and keep it in the refrigerator for one hour. This is the Thandai.
Mix Bhang Milk with Thandai and shake it for more than a minute.
Add rose petals to the Thandai.
Serve it with lots of ice cubes.