Thandai Panna Cotta


Panna cotta is an Italian dessert which literally means cooked cream. It is a mildly flavoured combination of sweetened milk and cream set with an agent like gelatin. I’m vegetarian and hence, I used Agar Agar (china grass) instead of gelatin. Even a simple payasam can be set into a panna cotta. I know it sounds weird. But, you should try it to believe me. Add some soaked Agar Agar to hot payasam. Mix well. Pour into individual cups and set in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 hours. Your payasam panna cotta is ready!

Taking this concept forward, I tried the holi ka thandai and made panna cotta out of it. The result was mind blowing. The creaminess of thandai set into tiny glasses and chilled is a match truly made in heaven. Try it and experience the awesomeness.



Milk – 500 ml

Cashew – 1 tablespoon

Melon seeds – 1 tablespoon

Almonds – 1 tablespoon

Pepper – 1 teaspoon

Fennel – 1 teaspoon

Saffron – 1 pinch

Cinnamon – 1 tiny piece

Cardamom – 5 numbers

Rose petals – 1 tablespoon (dried)

Sugar – 4-5 tablespoons

Agar Agar – 4 -5 grams (soaked for minimum 10 minutes)

*Agar Agar is commonly available in a 10 gram pack. So, half of the pack would be perfect for this recipe


Add all the ingredients except Agar Agar to milk and boil on low flame for around 20 minutes. Strain the milk and grind the well-cooked nuts and spices to a smooth paste. Meanwhile, soak Agar Agar in a few spoons of water. Add the nuts and spices paste back into milk along with soaked Agar Agar and give the mixture a boil by stirring constantly. Pour into individual portions (or shot glasses) and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours. Serve chilled.

*Adding the whole nuts and spices to milk helps in reducing constant stirring. It also helps in grinding the nuts and spices to a smooth paste.


Know Your Ingredient

Agar Agar


Agar Agar, also called china grass, is a gelatinous substance made from red algae. It is a vegetarian substitute for gelatin. It is used to set foods like puddings and jelly. It is tasteless and takes on the taste of whatever it is mixed with, thus, giving you many possibilities.

Agar Agar is a good source of iron and helps in fighting anaemia. It is rich in many important micro-nutrients and also an excellent source of fiber. It is also rich in calcium and manganese.

Agar Agar is free from sugar, carbohydrates and fat and it provides a lot more vitamins and minerals than gelatin.

So, who knew Agar Agar is so healthy. Come on! This one reason is enough to use it in our desserts and make mind blowing flavours look and feel as yummy as they get!

Type Gelatinous substance used to set puddings
Form Comes in three forms – bar, flakes or powder. Bar and flakes are more common in India.
How to Buy Check the date of manufacture for the freshest pack.
Storage Stays well for months in room temperature.


You can find more useful information about Agar Agar on