Thandai Panna Cotta

Holi has always been special. There’s hardly a year passed that I’ve not indulged in the unabashed playfulness of the rangs, the bhangs, the thandais, and all the fun and frolic that the festival is associated with. This year however, is different. The much spoken about COVID-19 has killed our holi buzz. Not only is the husband working owing to many of his global counterparts being unable to report in to their respective offices, but most friends and family I know are avoiding large gatherings. It’s probably more panic than anything in the Western belt of the country right now, but some extra precaution didn’t hurt anyone and with a toddler in tow, there’s no way I’m going out amongst the crowds and the colors. The decision has been entirely mine, not that it’s stopped me from sulking about it!

I’ve promised myself that I’ll party extra hard next year but for now, I’m drowning my sadness in bowls of this amazing Thandai Panna Cotta.

It’s a dessert I’ve made frequently, in different forms, such as setting it in a tart shell. But this right here is my absolute favorite way to eat it – with fresh strawberry and mango coulis. The freshness of the fruits cuts through the creaminess of the panna cotta and it makes for such a quick and refreshing combination, that you’ll find yourself making it ever so often.

You can also skip the coulis altogether and just serve the panna cotta topped with some granola or nuts for crunch or with some thandai syrup on top.

Thandai Panna Cotta

Creamy, fresh and summery, this panna cotta uses strawberry and mangoes both to create a visually attractive and tasty dessert!
(Serves 4-5)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Setting Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins


    For the Thandai Panna Cotta

    • 500 ml Fresh Cream
    • 100 ml Milk
    • 4 tbsp Thandai Syrup
    • 1.5 tsp Agar-Agar powder
    • 2 tbsp Sugar 
    • a pinch Cardamom powder
    • Few Strands of Saffron (optional)

    For the Strawberry Coulis

    • approx 9-10 Strawberries 
    • 2 tbsp Sugar 
    • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
    • 1-2 tbsp Water 

    For the Mango Coulis 

    • 200 gms Mango Pulp
    • 2 tbsp Sugar 
    • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
    • 2 tbsp Water


    Making the coulis

      For the strawberry coulis

      • De-stem and hull the strawberries. Place them together with the sugar, lemon juice, and water in a blender and make a pulp. Transfer to a saucepan and bring it to a boil till it reaches syrup-like consistency. If you don’t like grainy texture, strain the coulis or use it as it is.

      For the mango coulis

      • Place mango puree, sugar, lemon juice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once slightly thick, switch off and allow to cool.

      Assembling and making the Panna Cotta 

      • Pour 2 tbsp of the strawberry coulis in a small glass/bowl of your choice. Put away in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
      • Meanwhile, for the Panna Cotta, place the cream, milk, thandai, sugar and agar in a heavy bottomed pan and whisk well together.
      • Place on a stove top on low heat and continue to whisk. Do not boil. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
      • Switch off the flame and transfer to the glass on top of the strawberry coulis (make sure it’s well set or the two layers will merge into each other).
      • Refrigerate, and allow to set for 30 minutes.
      • Pour the mango coulis on top to the level you desire. I use about 2 tbsp.
      • Cover the glasses/bowls with cling film and let set for 3-4 hours.
      • Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh fruit, or nuts just before serving.

      Join the Conversation

      1. what changes i need to made to make just plain vanilla flavoured panncotta?

        1. Hi Utsavi, you could leave out the thandai and leave the rest as it is. Add a tsp of vanilla extract or vanilla beans. Adding the coulis is anyway a separate step that you could avoid if you don’t want it.

          1. Can i use different essence like coconut,pan,etc instead of vanilla essence

            1. Hi Manisha, yes you could use a different essence as well

      2. Manisha Pandit says:

        Maam, What is Thandai Syrup?
        Alternate for that could be Fab Thandai Essence or Thandai Powder.. Pls guide

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