"Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-colored into the bins to be soaked up glowing, when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck." -Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
It seems like in the last year or so, turmeric and turmeric based drinks are having quite the moment. There is a lot of discussion about turmeric being a "miracle root" due to its very long list of health benefits and medicinal properties. And recently, on mainstream lifestyle and food sites, I am seeing a lot of variations of a very classic Indian home remedy: turmeric milk (also known as golden milk or haldi dood). While sadly, the sudden spotlight on turmeric milk is probably a classic case of Columbusing, the good news is, that the different takes on the drink do add some flair to a very plain recipe. Traditionally, Ayurvedic turmeric milk is warm milk with about a teaspoon of turmeric. Each family has their own variations ranging from adding ginger or cinnamon. So, chances are, if you are of South Asian descent, you have reluctantly had some version of this in your lifetime if you were not feeling well. So, I will be really candid. I don't know if it is because I have only drank this when I was sick or about to be, but I find the traditional, warm version pretty hard to swallow. But knowing it can be so beneficial, I was excited to find so many different recipes including some iced or chilled versions. So, if you are like me and not a fan of the warm version or just new to the turmeric game (welcome!), why even bother? Well, the health benefits are quite compelling.
Turmeric is a well-known remedy in Ayurvedic medicine for a plethora of ailments but it is a proven anti-inflammatory which can be helpful for numerous things like muscle fatigue, joint pain, and aiding with digestion and gut inflammation (which can actually help with weight loss). Turmeric Milk or Golden Milk,in particular, is primarily used to help with colds, sore throats, headaches and depression. The spice is full of anti-oxidants, calcium, and iron just to name a few of its important elements. Also, all the scientific buzz around turmeric has grown because the main compound in turmeric, curcumin (which actually gives it its bright hue), has also been studied for its ability to potentially ward off serious health issues like heart attacks and diabetes. Another compound in turmeric that is currently being studied is aromatic tumerone, which has been found to promote repair to stem cells in the brain. With a list like that, in lieu of taking a spoonful of turmeric (I do not suggest that...eeech!) it's definitely worth trying to add some turmeric to a smoothie or whipping up a dairy beverage. To incorporate turmeric into my own diet (on a more regular basis) I tried multiple recipes: most that I did not like. So being an iced coffee/shake lover, I ultimately landed on this variation.
The taste of turmeric does not overwhelm this particular recipe, so if you are more used to the distinct turmeric taste, you can definitely reduce the amount of milk by half. This will give you a more potent version. Also, the espresso makes this a "latte" but it tastes just as good without it, as a shake (pictured above). I like this with almond milk because I think the slightly nutty flavor makes this taste better, but regular milk could also be substituted. And lastly, if you have not handled turmeric before, it will stain your fingers (for days! and will also stain everything else.) So, be extra careful when handling it.
Chilled Turmeric Latte (or Shake)* (Makes 2 cups)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 inch section of a vanilla bean
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Honey or favorite sweetener to taste (Raw honey is best)
(Optional) 1 shot of espresso
1. Scoop the "meat" out of the vanilla bean. Combine vanilla, spices and almond milk into a mason jar. Screw the lid tightly and shake until everything is well combined.
2. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into cup or glass.
3. Add optional shot of espresso, stir and enjoy!
*Adapted from recipes on Popsugar Fitness, CamilleStyles and traditional Ayurvedic turmeric milk
image source: SD