Jeera Aloo Salan & Thandai

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Last Updated on December 14, 2020 by Chef Mireille

Jeera Aloo Salan & Thandai – Two delicious recipes to represent the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh – A fabulous lamb curry and a sweetened milk drink enriched with nuts and spices.

Uttar Pradesh Recipes

All of us who regularly participate in the Blogging Marathon all willingly admit that we need some kind of intervention because we are all addicted to the Blogging Marathon and check our emails constantly for messages from the other participants. Despite all of our other professional and family commitments, we live, breathe and think BM.

After our last month long mega marathon in September, it was barely a day before Srivalli announced the theme for the next mega marathon that would focus on each state of India with everyone having to produce one dish from each state. I immediately went on a search for recipes and by the next day, one recipe had already been done. This was it. Shhh….don’t tell anyone but we’ve already decided the themes for the next two mega marathons 🙂

Uttar Pradesh

Salan is the term used by the Indian Muslim community to describe a curry where meat and vegetables are cooked together. This recipe comes from the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow.

Before we get to the delicious recipes, let’s learn a little about this North Indian state. Uttar Pradesh is a landlocked state located in Northern India, bordered in the Northeast by Nepal. It is the 4th largest state in India and the most populous state in the country. Lucknow is the capital. Varanasi, located in this state, is one of the holiest places for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. It is the spiritual center of India, with the holy Ganges River running through it. From the Rigveda, one of Hinduism’s holy texts, we know that it was a favorite place of Lord Shiva. The city is also known for its production of ivory, sculpture and fabrics. Banares (the former name of Varanasi) silks are world famous.

Varanasi is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world and dates back to the 11th or 12th century BC. Several ancient empires of both Hindu and Islamic tradition are based in this region, including the Mughlai’s. Unfortunately, many ancient temples were destroyed in the 12th century under the rule of Mohammad Ghauri. Most of the temples there now only date back to the 18th century. Varanasi is known as the City of Temples, as there is one located at practically every step in the city.

The Holy Ganges in Varanasi

Kathak, a popular classical form of Indian dance that consists of feet stomping in rhythm to music with heavy anklets which add to the music originated here in Uttar Pradesh.

Although in Varanasi Vegetarian cuisine is what is mostly eaten, in other parts of the state and especially Lucknow, non-Vegetarian cuisine is more popular, heavily influenced by the Mughlai’s. Known as Awadi cuisine, Lucknow culinary traditions are a fusion of Persian and neighboring Indian states with heavily spiced and flavorful Vegetarian and non-Vegetarian foods. The Awadhi’s are especially known for their flavorful kebabs, kormas and biryani’s. Lamb and Paneer are used often with Persian flavors like saffron and cardamom.

Jeera Aloo Salan

(adapted from Camellia Panjabi’s The Great Curries of India)

Serves 4

      • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
      • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
      • 1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper (cayenne pepper)
      • 1/4 cup oil
      • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      • 1 onion, thinly sliced
      • 2 bay leaves
      • 1 black cardamom
      • 2 green cardamom
      • 1/4″ blace of mace
      • 2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and finely chopped
      • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
      • 1 pound boneless leg of lamb cut into stewing pieces
      • 1 cinnamon stick
      • 2 cloves
      • 1 small tomato, chopped
      • salt, to taste

      Rub potatoes with a little salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry.
      In a large pot, heat oil and cumin seeds. Add potatoes and saute until golden and crispy. Remove potatoes and set aside.
      Add onions with the bay leaf, cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves and mace. Fry until medium brown on low heat, about 20 minutes.
      Mix ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and garam masala with 2 teaspoons water to form a paste.
      Add spice paste with the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add lamb pieces and saute for 5 minutes, tossing frequently. Add tomato and cook until they evaporate. Add 3 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes, until potatoes are cooked.

      Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.

      This was such a flavorful curry with the variety of spices used, very similar to Kashmiri Rogan Josh.


      Thandai is a popular drink throughout North India, but especially in Uttar Pradesh.

      Thandai LR

      It is often enjoyed during festivals like Holi – the Festival of Colors. If you are lucky enough to be in India to play holi, make sure to enjoy lots of glasses of Thandai.

      There are two ways to make Thandai. You can make the easier version like this one of basically just creating a spice powder. Then you just add the spice powder and sugar to a glass of milk and stir.

      However, I prefer this methodology although it is a little more work as I feel the sugar dissolves better.

      No matter which version you prefer, Thandai is a delicious drink that can be enjoyed at any time!

      Thandai - Nut & Spice Indian Milk Drink
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      Jeera Aloo Salan & Thandai

      Thandai is a delicious sweetened milk drink, enriched with nuts and spices. A delicious drink for any time!
      Prep Time4 hours
      Cook Time15 minutes
      Total Time4 hours 15 minutes
      Course: Drinks
      Cuisine: Indian
      Servings: 18
      Calories: 306.82kcal


      • Syrup Ingredients:
      • 1/2 cup melon seeds
      • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
      • 1/4 cup dried rose
      • 3/4 cup almonds
      • 1/4 cup fennel seed
      • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
      • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
      • 5 cups sugar
      • 2 1/2 cups water
      • Thandai Ingredients Serves 2:
      • 2 cups milk
      • 1/4 cup thandai syrup
      • a pinch of white pepper for garnish


      • Soak melon seeds, poppy seeds, rose, almonds and fennel for about 4 hours.
      • Strain and grind to a paste with the seeds of the cardamom and white pepper in a blender or food processor.
      • Boil the sugar and the water together to make a syrup, about 10 minutes.
      • Add paste and continue to cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes on medium low heat. Strain.
      • To make thandai, combine milk and syrup and stir well.
      • Serve in a glass, garnished with a little white pepper sprinkled on top.


      Syrup makes about 4 1/2 cups


      Calories: 306.82kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.36g | Protein: 3.07g | Fat: 5.69g | Saturated Fat: 0.92g | Sodium: 17.22mg | Fiber: 2.08g | Sugar: 60.25g
      Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I'd love to share them!
      Uttar Pradesh recipes, Beverage Recipes, Milk Recipes

      Ready to make Jeera Aloo Salan & Thandai –  I would love to see your photos! Tag me on Instagram @chefmireille #theschizochef with your pics!

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Reader Interactions


  1. My god, that salan is soo terrific, mouth is just watering here and i can imagine how flavourful and delicious this dish will be. Thandai, this is in my to do list since long too, wonderful drink.

  2. super..the salan rocks ..and Thandai I know that it tastes awesome..but what i like most is the video ..the post has been so well made , you feel you are in that state itself!..well composed post.

  3. What a beautiful post Mir! great efforts and to know you did this way back..very nice..I get so enthusiastic reading your journey and discovery of Indian dishes!..Salan looks amazing, so does the other dishes too…

  4. Salan looks amazing! That thandai is so refreshing. Nice write about the state and a great job on the cooking, clicking and the info about the state.

  5. Mir, you have described our group so well in the first para!So true!! And the tandai is something I am yet to try. Looks very nice.And I love the plate you have used to plate the salan…

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