It always amazes me when I see something that I grew up eating or drinking and we took for granted as everyday “normal” things in India suddenly become popular in other parts of the world! Like the ‘Turmeric Latte.’ Every single time I see an overpriced packet of Turmeric Latte powder being sold in a shop or being served in a cafe badly, I just think, “oh my, I grew up with that, and now it’s the hip thing.” And then I get a little swell of pride thinking, “ooohh maybe India is a trendsetter for food.”
Turmeric is one of the most essential spices in an Indian kitchen and gives the yellow color that curries are recognized with. Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. We not only use it in our cooking but also in skincare (I will share my favorite Skincare mask soon that uses Turmeric), and is also a handy remedy for cuts and bruises. I can go on and on about the benefits of this miracle spice, but then we won’t get to the delicious part - the making of the Turmeric Latte!
Mumbai - where I grew up - doesn’t have a winter season, but during the last few months of the year some evenings when there was a slight nip in the air, my mother would heat full-fat cow milk as there was no ‘Nut Milk’ business back then. She would then grate fresh Turmeric root, add a coarse mixture of Almonds & Pistachios crushed in a mortar, and then some Jaggery or Sugar to sweeten the deal. On the days when she felt indulgent, we - my brother and I - would even find a few stray strands of Saffron floating on top of the thin layer of cream that would form on top of the Milk as we waited for it to cool down. There was an odd sense of camaraderie and comfort as we sipped this drink, which our mum brewed for us with so much love.
And Turmeric Milk still has a special place in my heart. On some evenings, when I finish an early dinner and I get hungry before going to bed, I will have a cup of Turmeric Milk. On days when I am missing home, I will cling to a cup of the said Milk, and some days for no apparent reason, I find myself walking towards the kitchen, opening the fridge, and getting a bottle of Milk to make a comforting drink to snuggle up with. I also find that is an excellent cure for my insomnia and instantly puts me to sleep.
The best thing is that you don’t always need fresh Turmeric; the powder also works very well. The trick is not to add too much Turmeric because that will make the Milk bitter.
It has to be just right.
So here is a more traditional, fresh, and ‘easy to make on your own’ Turmeric Milk or Turmeric Latte recipe for you that I hope will bring you as much happiness as it brings me.
Recipe (Cooking time 10 minutes – makes 2 generous cups)
2 Cups Full-fat milk (For a vegan version, you can use Almond Milk)
½ inch fresh Turmeric root or 1 tsp Turmeric powder
Sugar as per your taste
2 green cardamoms, 1 clove, 1/2 inch cinnamon, 3 black peppers - Crush Coarsely
4 – 5 Almonds, few Pistachios and rose petals crushed together
A few strands of Saffron just days when you are feeling a little extra
Heat the Milk in a saucepan. Once it comes to a boil, add the coarsely ground spices, Turmeric and mix well.
Do not boil the Milk, let it gently simmer for a few minutes till the Turmeric is dissolved, and the Milk has a beautiful yellow hue.
Add the Sugar
Heat for a few minutes, pour in individual cups with the crushed nuts, and snuggle up on in your bed, clinging to the cups for dear life.
Note: You can use Jaggery OR honey instead of Sugar. However, that needs to be added to the cup and not boiled.