Thandai means something to cool you off. It’s a very traditional spice mix made with fennel seeds, black pepper, cardamom and saffron. A nut based drink is made using this spice mix and served cold throughout the month of March specially on Holi aka Indian festival of colors. Holi is my favorite festival and brings back some of my most cherished memories of my childhood.
Holi symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Colors and water is applied to one another and turns every adult into a kid. It is very similar to Tomato festival of Spain but gives it a run for money as 1 billion people celebrate holi and paint every street colorful. Festival means food, so I wanted to make something convenient and bite size with flavors of Holi, reminiscing my childhood memories. These truffles fit the bill perfectly.
If you have never tasted fennel it is similar to anise in flavor, licorice and gives a cooling effect. When combined with black pepper, they balance each other out beautifully. I am not the biggest fan of white chocolate, as it is just overly sweet for my taste. Here I wanted the flavor of thandai to shine and using white chocolate lets me do that. These are hand made but if you want to have a very professional chocolatier style smoothness, use a truffle tray. These are little flavor bombs so if you want a milder flavor just use little less spice mix.
Through this blog, I had pleasure of meeting some really talented people. Some of them have become my very close friends, Swayam from La Petit Chef is one of them. She is one hell of a talented person and her blog features multitude of Indian recipes with contemporary changes. Two recipes using thandai are Vegan Thandai Tart and Thandai Panna Cotta. Check out her blog, it is full of beautiful and charming photography and some mind blowing recipes.
Makes 15 truffles
For spice mix
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorn
- 2 whole cardamom pods
- A pinch of saffron
- 120 grams/ 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 175 grams/ 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water
- 1 tablespoon arak or anise liqueur, optional
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, very soft
- 175 grams/ 1 cup white candy melts or white chocolate chips
- Slivered pistachio and rose petals, for garnish
Make spice mix
- Lightly roast fennel seeds and peppercorns. Once cooled grind it with cardamom and saffron in mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
- In a small bowl add spice mix (use less for mild flavors) and cream. Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
- In a medium size bowl add chocolate chips, set aside. Heat cream mix and corn syrup over medium heat, once it starts boiling strain the mix and add it to chocolate. Let it sit two minutes, add rose water and liqueur and mix using rubber spatula, until smooth. Once it reaches 85°F stir in butter.
- Pour this mixture/ ganache into a 8 inch by 8 inch (or something similar) pan and refrigerate it for few hour or freeze it for an hour.
- Make about 15 balls and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Refrigerate the tray until ready to dip.
- Melt candy according to the instruction given on package. Using a fork dip one ball, coat completely, let the excess chocolate drip. Put then on parchment and garnish immediately. Refrigerate to harden and ready to serve. Serve at room temperature for best flavor.