Recipe: Haldi Ksheerapaka / Turmeric Milk
"The modern marvel is in its marketing, and not the product itself, for this turmeric elixir has been favored by Indian grandmothers and mothers for centuries. It is a wonderful way to end a long day, or help in recovering from an illness. It is easy to put together, and makes for a fragrant brew." ~ Seven Pots of Tea, (c) Nandita Godbole, 2020
Turmeric Milk is an old Ayurvedic cure for a variety of ailments: colds, coughs, fevers, in post-illness recovery - you name it. Every household has its own way of making it but the changes are very subtle and deliberate.
The basic Turmeric Ksheerapak or Turmeric Milk or the mother recipe has two essential ingredients, turmeric, and milk, preferably from a cow. Cow milk is cooling, and enhances the healing potential of this beverage. Any additional spices will alter the beneficial qualities of the brew, and are added with care. My husbands' family makes a slightly different kind of Turmeric Milk - more on that another time.
However, more often, any "modern" recipes out there that call it golden-milk or something else, causing eye rolls everywhere! Why is it problematic? Because it swaps out beneficial ingredients for things that don't have the same Ayurvedic purpose.
To help my readers better understand this, I included a hefty chapter on more than 80 spices that I used in the cookbook, Seven Pots of Tea: an Ayurvedic approach to sips & nosh, and their specific Ayurvedic considerations including rasa, vipak, virya and more. If you want to know about Ayurveda, and see how it can benefit you, you need to learn about it from the granular level. Literally.
Although my book includes 50+ recipes of eats and drinks, my goal was to use this as an opportunity to simultaneously educate readers with valuable information around herbs and spices. This way, they can choose based on what works for them, aka, by their dosha, and avoid random substitutions!
Ayurveda is very clear in how ingredients are treated for maximum benefit. In my book, I have included the correct terminologies for each kind of Ayurvedic brew or preparation. As in this case, a Ksheerapaka, is a brew made in dairy. Throughout the book, you will encounter terms like this – Ayurvedic terms that will clue you into how each beverage is prepared. And if you are paying attention, it will begin to sink in!
I hope you enjoy learning about Turmeric, and make yourself a soothing cup of Haldi Ksheerapak!
Both, the spice note & the recipe that follows are part of "Seven Pots of Tea: an Ayurvedic approach to sips & nosh, (C) Nandita Godbole, 2020.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
A relative of ginger, this well-loved and well-documented rhizome has long healed people in India and is an important herb/spice in Ayurveda. Turmeric leaves also contain curcumin, and are edible in small quantities. They have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, are a digestive aid, and release a warm aroma when steamed or cooked. The turmeric rhizome is antibacterial, helps with bone and joint health, is anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and helps the nervous system. Turmeric powder must be allowed to cook into the dish with the help of a warming medium like oil or milk, not just sprinkled onto a drink or dish. Raw turmeric rhizomes are safe to eat and makes a delicious addition to teas and tisanes. Both fresh and dried turmeric rhizomes are bitter, astringent, and pungent, with a pungent post-digestive effect. Turmeric is considered warming and increases both Vata and Pitta, but decreases Kapha. Image credit: C. longa: Kiritkar and Basu, 1918, Plate 937
(Growing Turmeric &) How To Use
Turmeric plants can be grown in gardens that do not receive winter snow. Its rhizomes can be harvested in late summer or early Fall when the leaves have died down. Fresh turmeric rhizomes are best used fresh. Scrape the skin of the turmeric and dry it. Thinly slice the turmeric rhizome and allow it to air dry. Store this, along with turmeric skin to add to turmeric-based teas and tisanes. These rhizomes can be dried whole, but are difficult to use in their dried form in everyday cooking.
Recipe: Haldi Ksheerapaka
Makes: 2 cups Cook Time: 3-5 minutes
2 cups cold whole milk 1 tsp organic turmeric powder 2 green cardamom pods, optional Pinch of nutmeg, optional Honey, to taste
Combine all the ingredients except honey, into a small heavy-bottom saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer the milk for two minutes. Carefully strain into desired cups with a side of honey.
Milk, cow: sweet >> sweet, cooling, increases Kapha, decreases Vata & Pitta Turmeric, fresh root, dried root powder: bitter, astringent, pungent >> pungent, warming, increases Vata & Pitta, decreases Kapha Cardamom, green: sweet, pungent >> pungent, warming, Increase Pitta**, decreases Vata & Kapha Nutmeg: sweet, pungent, astringent >> pungent, warming, increases Pitta, decreases Vata & Kapha Honey: sweet, astringent, pungent >> sweet, warming, increases Pitta, decreases Kapha & Vata
Want to see a quick video? Jump over to my Youtube channel to this clip.
Note: This was part of a press-pack I did with Melissa's Produce, who has routinely either sponsored or provided some of the ingredients I use across this particular book.