King Hiranyakashipu hated his son, Prince Prahlada for being a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. The father wanted his son killed because he refused to worship his father as God, instead. Hiranyakashipu was a self-proclaimed Lord of all three worlds – Heaven, Earth and Hell. His ego did not permit worship of any other being. So the king tried heinous methods to finish his own son’s life! The king inflicted several cruelties like poisoning the child’s food, ordering rogue elephants to trample on the tiny child, throwing the young five year old over a precipice, and many more. Surprisingly none of these even hurt as much as a hair on the child-devotee’s head.
At his wit’s end, the evil king asked his sister Holika to sit with the child on her lap inside a raging fire. Holika had a special boon by which she would not be burnt by fire. However, the boon did not work when she sat with the evil intent of killing some one. The child sat through the raging fire on Holika’s lap with the Lord’s name on his lips and emerged safe. Holika was burnt to death instead.
Holi is the festival celebrated in memory of this great devotee’s escape from fire. A huge bonfire is lit and ‘Holika’ the demoness is symbolically burnt. The victory of true devotion and unwavering faith is celebrated by lighting the bonfire and playing with colours.
Whew, that was a long story, was it not?
If you are still with me on this page, allow me to explain why I am narrating mythology here – I am a sucker for ‘victory of good over evil’ stories. I can listen to them any number of times. They give me new enthusiasm to tackle life headlong. With Holi festival around the corner, what better time than now to dwell on this legend and the faith and hope the story brings!
I tried this Thandai Mousse as a variant from the usual Holi Thandai drink, because I wanted the flavours of Holi in a new avatar. I have adapted the basic thandai formula from Tarla Dalal’s website. Unlike my previous desserts, this one is neither low calorie nor low fat. It is indulgent, creamy, and exquisite. But then, it is so rich and flavourful that a small serving will satisfy you! Every spoonful takes you through a rhapsody of aromas, surprises you with the sharpness of pepper and engulfs you with the soothing notes of cardamom. Being eggless, this recipe can easily fit into your festive menu too.
A note on the ingredients for a better thandai. Do not substitute black for white pepper corns. White pepper has a slight difference in the sharpness from the black ones. The black colour also ruins the appearance of thandai. Use only Lucknow saunf – this is different from regular saunf. You can recognise it by the greener, thinner appearance. The aroma of Lucknow saunf is also more intense than regular saunf and more suitable for using in sweet preparations. Lastly, use real good quality saffron, if you want the colour. The aroma of saffron in thandai is unbeatable. You could omit it for a variation in thandai flavours too. *The food colouring does not add any value to the mousse other than tingeing.
Do yourself a good turn and try out this mousse this Holi.
- Contains milk. NOT suitable for lactose intolerance.
- Contains almonds. NOT suitable for nut allergy.
- Contains soya as soy lecithin.
- Does NOT contain egg, yeast, corn.
Preparation Time –30 minutes + 8 hours chilling time, Cooking Time – 10 minutes, Makes about 10 servings.
You Need -
Cookware –Hand-held electric whisk, Mixer grinder, bowls, thick bottomed sauce pan, stirring spoon/ladle, refrigerator,
For the thandai paste -
- 1/3 cup whole almonds
- 15 white pepper corns
- 2 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoon Lucknow saunf
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom powder
- A few teaspoons water
- a few strands of saffron (optional) OR* a tiny pinch orange food colouring (optional)
For the mousse -
- **200 ml Tropolite (OR any non dairy whip topping) OR 200 ml fresh cream, preferably heavy cream
- 200 ml whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar (taste and add more if needed)
- **Chill whatever whipping cream you are using for the recipe well ahead of preparation.
- Soak the poppy seeds in boiling hot water for half an hour. Soak the almonds in boiling water separately for 10 minutes. Peel skin after 10 minutes of soaking.
- Drain water from poppy seeds, and grind with the skinned almonds, white pepper corns, and Lucknow saunf in a coffee grinder/small jar of mixer grinder to a very smooth paste. Add just enough water to help grinding.
- Heat milk in a thick bottomed saucepan. When milk comes to a boil, switch off flame. Add 3 tablespoons of the ground thandai mixture, stir in the sugar. Dissolve well and return the saucepan to flame. Stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly. You may need to boil for about 4-5 minutes. Cool to room temperature, pass through a sieve if it looks grainy, and chill in refrigerator at least for an hour.
- Whisk the chilled whipping cream you are using in a deep bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Whisk in the chilled ‘thandai milk mixture’ also.
- Ladle out about 3-4 tablespoons into each dessert bowl for individual portions, top with rose petals or saffron strands and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
Happy Holi everybody! Wishing for good to triumph over evil in your lives as well.