With nontraditional remedies on the rise, you may have already heard about the many wonderful health benefits of turmeric. Turmeric is the golden root spice that gives yellow curries their color, and has been used by Indian and East Asian cultures for its medicinal benefits for over one thousand years. This herb has a range of healing properties, from being a natural anti-inflammatory to aiding with digestion to mitigating side effects of allergies or the common cold.
Recently, many health conscious individuals and establishments have been making what they call “Golden Milk,” which is a turmeric based milk beverage. It bears striking resemblance to an ancient Indian remedy called “Haldi Doodh.” Haldi Doodh is traditionally prepared with milk, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, cardamom, and honey, though ingredients can be omitted or swapped out depending on the health benefits you’re attempting to reap (for instance, turmeric in combination with honey aids with digestion).
As a half-Indian woman, I’m delighted to see home remedies I grew up with gaining popularity, so I created my own spin off of Haldi Doodh. To do this, I combined one of my Auntie’s recipes for Haldi Doodh with some inspiration I pulled from a few different restaurants and blogs embracing the “Golden Milk” trend. Note that I use almond milk for mine (and if you take out the honey it’s totally vegan friendly!) but traditional Haldi Doodh calls for regular milk because fat helps the body process turmeric’s many wonderful benefits. Feel free to use whatever milk you like best, I just picked almond because I like the way the nuttiness combines with the spices.
To make my Turmeric Milk you will need:
Almond Milk – 1¼ cup: I use Califia brand because I think it’s the creamiest! I prefer unsweetened, but I bet vanilla would taste amazing
Turmeric – 1 TSP or 1 inch piece of root: Turmeric root works best, but if you only have Turmeric powder, that’s great too!
Black Pepper, fresh ground – pinch : It sounds odd, but this is important as black pepper helps your body and bloodstream absorb the turmeric
Green Cardamom - 1 pod: I use this in place of ginger because I don’t care for the taste of ginger, but it has similar perks in that it aids with digestion, heartburn, and nausea.
Cinnamon – pinch: This isn’t used in traditional Haldi Doodh, but I love the way it tastes and it’s good for your blood sugar.
Honey – 1 TBSP or to taste: This also aids with digestion, though I’ve seen some bloggers swap it out for blackstrap molasses for its iron and magnesium content.
Cayenne Pepper - pinch: Another anti irritant, you can skip this if you want a milder version
*Ginger – ½ TSP or ½ inch piece of root: traditional Haldi Doodh contains ginger, but I don’t care for ginger so I use more cardamom and cinnamon. If you like ginger, feel free to add some in! This also works best in root form.
Combine all your ingredients but the honey and the cinnamon in a small saucepan. If you are using turmeric and/or ginger roots for your recipe, you will need to grate them and strain the milk. If, like me, you are just using powders, you do not need to strain.
Heat the mixture over medium heat, making sure to stir or whisk it regularly, until it starts to bubble. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low, and stir in your honey until it dissolves completely. Let the mixture sit over low heat for about three minutes. When you’re ready, pour it into a mug and top with cinnamon. Remove the cardamom pod before drinking, if you used one.
Depending on the day, you can adjust the recipe to taste or for health benefits, but I tend to work off of this basic recipe and modify the amounts at will.
So there you have it, the best parts of chai and hot chocolate all rolled into one nutrient packed drink. Try making this to ease you through the end of the chilly seasons—not only will it keep you healthy, but also it’s the perfect drink to cozy up with.