Turmeric tea or turmeric milk, aka golden milk, is made with the rhizome, or underground root, of the turmeric plant. It’s then either used fresh, or dried and grinded down into powder as a spice, and is heated in water, milk or a plant based milk, and served immediately to enjoy the warming tea.
The History of Turmeric
This bright orange root isn’t only a spice in its homeland India, it’s a medicine, used in religion or marriage ceremonies, and even as a cloth dying agent, and has been used for centuries. It’s most popularly known as a spice and added to recipes for a touch of flavor and full-bodied color.
The miraculous turmeric gets its color and health properties from the curcumin, which has been known to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agents.
The turmeric plant has large leaves, but usually grows under 3 feet tall. It produces a flower atop, but the rhizome underground is what we know as turmeric. The root has a dark outer skin, but when cut has a bright orange-red flesh. It looks and works a lot like ginger, and is often used hand-in-hand together in cooking and in tea.
In 2500 BCE, pots were found to have residue of ginger, garlic, and turmeric near New Delhi. Since 500 BCE, turmeric has been used as part of Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient natural healing system used in India that is still used today. They used its juices to aid in digestion, congestion, pain, and a paste to help heal bruises, wounds, skin conditions, and much more.
Some medicine techniques added turmeric to milk, because milk had a lot of fats for the turmeric to be digested properly. This is how the turmeric milk ancient recipe, haldi doodh, has been turned into the turmeric tea and lattes of today.
How to Make It
Bring one cup of water or your milk of choice to a rolling boil. Stir in turmeric powder or fresh turmeric, and other spices. Cover, and let steep for 5 minutes. Add the sweetener, and enjoy.
The age-old recipe wants the consumer to be able to ingest all of the curcumin from the turmeric properly, and recommend to brew the fresh or powdered turmeric in a high-fat milk. A good plant based or vegan alternative would be coconut milk.
If brewing with water or a low-fat milk, consider black pepper as an addition. Adding something like black pepper, because of the high amount of the compound piperine could help your body absorb food properties better.
Some milks are naturally sweet, and in this case won’t need a sweetener, but as always to taste something sweet anything like sugar, honey, or agave could be used to enhance the flavorful sweet notes of turmeric and milk.
Spices like cinnamon, ginger, or cardamom could be added to mesh with the bold turmeric flavor. The ancient haldi doodh is made with vanilla, clove, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, star anise, coconut oil or ghee, and honey or jaggery (palm tree sap).
Citrus may also pair well with it. By adding a lemon or orange slice to it there will be a fresh aroma, and citrusy taste.
This milk tea will have a bold earthy and spicy flavor, and depending on your milk or sweeteners, it won’t be very sweet. The pepper taste can be compared to horseradish or mustard. The earthy flavor is what most spices have -a dry, yet punchy taste.
The milk makes the tea feel creamy, and if using turmeric powder, the tea will feel slightly dry on the mouth, but smooth from the milk. Fresh turmeric will keep the milk tea feeling silky.
Any additives listed above will blend with the turmeric, and not hide any of its flavors. The cinnamon and pepper dance naturally with it, and something like ginger or cardamom would slightly pop up from time-to-time.
How to Store
If unfinished, store tea in the fridge in a glass or sealed container for 2 to 3 days to make use of its beneficial properties and pronounced flavor. Reheat when ready to use.
Turmeric doesn’t contain any caffeine, so enjoy the flavor and health benefits without a jolt of energy. This makes it perfect for nighttime or evening enjoyment.
Consider the type of sweetener used if worried about an energy boost or crash.
More Nutrient Information
If making turmeric tea with just water, there will be no fats, proteins, fiber, or sugar in this tea. There will be about 8 calories and 1 g of carbs.
If making turmeric tea with high-fat milk there may be around 140 calories, 1 g of protein, 8 g of fat, 15 g of carbs, and less than 1 g of fiber. Also depending on the milk and sweeteners used there could be around 10 g of sugar.
There are numerous nutrients in turmeric tea such as vitamin c, b3, and b6, calcium, copper, manganese, iron, potassium, and zinc.
It’s no wonder turmeric tea has been around for centuries, because it’s easy to make and has loads of reasons to drink it. It’s been used and passed down as an ancient remedy for illnesses like colds and much more in India, and today has been sold as a modern drink.
It’s simple to dress this tea up with different milks, spices, and sweeteners, because any flavor alongside it enhances its earthy and spicy taste. It gives a natural warm feeling when ingested, and feels like a grandmother’s hug.
If looking for a low calorie and no caffeine tea replacement, turmeric tea would make a good stop. It can be made with water, which would be even less calories or fat compared to the traditional milk recipes. Either way, turmeric has loads of beneficial vitamins and nutrients in one warm cup of tea. It’s easy to save and go back for more.