It’s winter, and winter is all about hot drinks, blankets, and endless repeats of The West Wing. In the former camp, I’m partial to a hot chocolate or a nice pot of chai, but for something a little less cloying without the caffeine hit of tea or coffee, I’ve been making haldi doodh, a turmeric and milk-based drink of Indian origin laced with ginger, cardamom, vanilla, chilli, pepper and cinnamon. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also billed as an antiseptic and antibacterial wonderdrink, brimming with antioxidants and believed to relieve all manner of maladies, from coughs and colds, to psoriasis and rosacea, and migraines and arthritic pain. It’s also a complete winner in the flavour department, with the spicy richness imparting some highly soothing and nourishing feels. Below is the recipe I followed, but feel free to sub out the coconut milk for full cream or almond milk, and the powdered spices for fresh (and vice versa).
Pour 2 cups of coconut, almond or full cream milk into a pan. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 black peppercorns, 3 cracked cardamom pods, a 2cm knob of fresh ginger, a stick of cinammon, the seeds from half a vanilla pod, and a pinch of chilli powder. Stir to combine, then heat for around 2 minutes or until the milk is hot. Add honey if you like things a little sweeter, then strain and serve in two mugs (preferably with a side of dark chocolate brownies).