These colder winter days have me reaching for the comforting warm drinks and food such as hot turmeric milk, as well as the hot water bottle.
Growing up in a Gujarati household with not just my parents but also with my grandparents has been such a joy for me. My grandmother and mother have always turned to a few home remedies when we were ill or had a fall, and this is something we all still reach for. Little did I know back then that these home remedies were all based on Ayurveda. This included comforting foods and drinks for the cold weather and when I had a bug.
One of the things we were always given to drink was “haardar varru doodh” – translated from Gujarati to milk with turmeric.
This delicious drink is so good to have to warm you from the inside but also quite filling. I like to spice mine up quite a bit to flavour and it’s different to the way other Gujarati families make as well.
Turmeric has had quite a bit of press in the UK over the past few years, with some many claims made about it. There is a fair amount of research being undertaken on this little plant to see which of these things is really true. And from this all there has been an uprising in fancy drinks like turmeric lattes or golden milks, and at quite the high price too. From what I could tell this is much the same as the lovely harrdar varru doodh I was brought up on and still make for myself now and again – and trust me, it’s not expensive.
I’m not saying that I drink it just for a number of health benefits, because sometimes I simply drink it because it’s delicious and soothing – though the latest research does show a few things that might be good for me within these ingredients.
I’m going to share with you my basic recipe that’s easy to do yourself at home – no big secrets, just my family recipe that I’ve adapted for myself.
Rima’s quick and easy warming yellow milk
- Mug full of milk of your choice (cow, goat, nut, soya etc) – about 250ml – I personally use cashew nut milk or almond milk
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (1/4 if you find this too strong, but I like it powerful)
- ¼ teaspoon black cardamom powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch well powdered black pepper (the big chunks from the pepper mill can be too overwhelming)
- Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (don’t add this during the daytime as it can make you drowsy, great for bedtime)
- Sweetness – either natural from honey (my preference), maple syrup etc or your basic white sugar – to taste
- I like to do this slowly in a saucepan over the cooker.
- Just add all the ingredients into the saucepan and stir over a low heat for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the turmeric to heat up fully and takes away a lot the bitter heat it contains.
- When happily simmering away and boiling hot pour into a mug.
- Sprinkle a small pinch of saffron or cinnamon over the top – optional
- Drink slowly and enjoy.
I’ve tried this in a mug in the microwave and it does work. However, the bitter heat of the turmeric is much stronger as it doesn’t get the chance to fully cook through and my preference is always in a saucepan.
Another version of this that I make is a saffron milk. Ingredients are the same except I substitute the turmeric with a generous pinch of saffron. Equally delicious. We call this “kessar varru doodh” – milk with saffron. This type of drink is made for times of celebration such as Diwali and weddings, but everyone is much more generous with the spicing and sugaring of the milk and lots of nuts are also added to it. It’s so yummy.
If you do choose to try this, have a play around with the spicing and make it to your palate, and I hope that you enjoy.