Bhang has been used in India since Vedic times, and is an integral part of North Indian culture. Sadhus and Sufis use bhang to boost meditation and to achieve transcendental states. Bhang or cannabis is also used amongst Sufis as an aid to spiritual ecstasy. In 1596, Dutchman Jan Huyghen van Linschoten spent three pages on “Bangue” in his historic work documenting his journeys in the East, also mentioning the Egyptian Hashish, Turkish Boza, Turkish Bernavi, and Arabic Bursj forms of consumption. The historian Richard Davenport-Hines lists Thomas Bowrey as the first Westerner to document the use of bhang.
Anywhere on the ghats, one can find large number of men engaged in the process of preparing bhang. Using mortar and pestle, the buds and leaves of cannabis are ground into a paste. To this mixture, milk, ghee and spices are added. The bhang base is now ready to be made into a heavy drink, thandai, an alternative to alcohol; this is often referred to casually, if inaccurately, as a “bhang thandai” and “bhang lassi“. Bhang is also mixed with ghee and sugar to make a purple halva, and into peppery, chewy little balls called ‘golee’ (which in this context means candy or pill in Hindi).
Bhang has become an integral part of tradition and custom in the Indian subcontinent. In some sections of rural India, people attribute various medicinal properties to the cannabis plant. If taken in proper quantity, bhang is believed to cure fever, dysentery, sunstroke, to clear phlegm, aid in digestion, appetite, cure speech imperfections and lisping, and give alertness to the body.
Indian Bhang Recipe
- 1 to 2 grams of ground marijuana (hash)
- 2 cups of milk
- 3 grams of butter
- A pinch of spices like nutmeg or cinnamon
- Honey (optional)
- Vodka (optional)
Kitchen tools required:
- A pan
- A stirring spoon
- A glass or serving cup
First, heat the pan on the stove and melt the butter in the pan. Next, add the ground marijuana to the butter in the pan and stir it in well with the stirring spoon. Let the marijuana simmer in the melted butter for about a minute.
Now, add the milk to the butter and marijuana in the pan and stir them well together. Turn down the heat and let the mixture warm gently. Don’t let it boil.
Finally add a pinch of traditional spices like nutmeg or cinnamon to the mixture for a punchy taste and pour it into a glass or serving cup. The bhang is now ready to be drunk and enjoyed. Be ready for that awesome buzz to hit you!
You can take it up a notch by adding some vodka to the drink for a little extra punch. You can also add some honey to the drink to give it a nice sweet flavor.