Turmeric Milk: Not Just A Pretty Spice

December 7, 2011

in Memory, Recipe, Spice

turmeric milkTurmeric. I love everything about this spice: its brilliant yellow orange color, its deliciously pungent smell, its slightly bitter taste, its ability to add a pop of color to everything it touches and I love the way it lyrically rolls off my tongue. Tur-mer-ric.

Growing up in an Indian household, I was introduced to turmeric at a very early age. As a kid, it showed up in almost all my meals and in the form of a dot placed on my forehead by the Hindu priest after prayers. Around puberty, it showed up in a skincare cream that promised a glowing blemish-free face and it delivered (see awesome 80s ad below). In college, it made its presence known in my suitcase when it accidentally tie-dyed my clothes. At our wedding, it made an appearance in the form of a tiny cone-like structure to represent Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles.

turmericA year ago, its absence was made known when my husband, a man who started out with a pantry of 3 crusty dusty spices, unexpectedly yelled out in disbelief “We’re out of turr-merr-rrick??!!”, as he gathered the ingredients for his spicy salmon recipe. He was devastated and I was pleased. Mission accomplished. A cook was born.

But, the most vivid memory I have of turmeric was when I was 10 and battling a cough. An aunt, who had recently found her calling as a self-taught Ayurvedic healer, dipped a cotton swab into a small pot of turmeric and honey, and swirled it in my mouth coating the back of my sore throat. When she first suggested it, I was curious and excited; curious of this mystic healing power she possessed in her little cotton wand and excited for the story I would get to tell of me as the girl with a golden throat.

It was nasty! I gagged. I coughed up fire. Smoke billowed from my mouth. It felt horrible but I’m pretty sure it cured my sore throat.

Years later, I read that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is considered to be a potent antioxidant and antiseptic in Eastern and Western medicine, and that adding black pepper enhances these healing properties. It has numerous medicinal benefits, some of which include being a stomach soother, a powerful anti-inflammatory, a natural antiseptic for wounds and a liver cleanser. My torturing aunt was on to something!


She also introduced me to another cure for sore throats and winter blues – warm milk with turmeric and honey. It is deliciously creamy, mildly spicy, perfectly soothing and, thankfully, painless.

With winter and flu season around the corner, I think it’s time to resurrect this recipe with almond milk. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear about the ways you use this incredible spice.

For a bite-sized description of turmeric check out Short & Spicy: Turmeric.


{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Kettle Confections April 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I’ve been adding cocoa and honey to my goat milk, can’t wait to try tumeric with honey :)


Anjali April 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Yum! Sounds luscious. I’ll have to try it out. Thank you! Let me know what you think of the turmeric and almond milk. :-)


Yumna June 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm

This is lovely- I just made some almond milk at home, and am currently enjoying this new delicious and soothing flavour. It’s wonderful!


Anjali June 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Hi Yumna, I’m so glad that you’re enjoying this recipe. Thank you for writing. Did you make the almond milk from scratch? I’ve been meaning to learn how to do so myself. I can’t get enough!


James October 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Thanks for the recipe. I love turmeric and I can’t wait to try it… in about 5 mins time!

BTW, the advert is amusing, though I’ve got the jingle going around in my head now: “Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream… Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream!”


Anjali October 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm

You’re welcome! Thanks for reading. Let me know how it turns out. And the jingle – I know! It just stays with you. I used to find myself humming it as a kid without even knowing it. ;-)


James October 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I put some extra turmeric in, and a bit more pepper too. It was wonderful! I can see this being a family favourite drink! I’m hooked on your blog now as well!


Anjali October 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

So glad you liked it! I like adding pepper too. I’m excited that you’re hooked. Mission accomplished! ;-)


val swyryn October 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Very good! Although I couldn’t get my husband to try it. He said he’d stick to putting tumeric in his lentils. When I told him it was made with almond milk, he said that was crazy- almonds don’t have nipples. He has a point. :)


Anjali October 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Lol. I love turmeric in almost anything but especially in lentils. Glad you tried it!


val swyryn October 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

OK, I just took this recipe a step further & added a big spoonful (love my precise measurement?) of pumpkin puree. YUM!


Anjali October 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

Oooh, that sounds lovely! Especially with all the pumpkins around right now. Thank you!! I’ll have to try it.


val swyryn October 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Let me know how you like t!

Jsesica October 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I just happened across this recipe tonight while browsing recipes and coincidentally, I have a sore throat! I’ll be trying this tomorrow – thank you for sharing this recipe! I always drink hot herbal tea with lemon and honey for a sore throat, but it only really helps as it’s going down your throat. And my mom always tells me to gargle with warm salt water, but that’s gag-inducing – this turmeric milk sounds like a much more palatable option.


Anjali October 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

Hi Jessica, Sorry to hear you have a sore throat but I’m glad you’re giving this a try. It works for me and I hope it does for you too. Wishing you a speedy & tasty recovery. :-)


Bernadette Chopra October 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Thanks Anji for reminding us of this ‘sometimes forgotten’ super spice!! This drink was the sure cure for everything under the sun when I was growing up in India! And yes, it did make a great face pack too! Thanks !!!


Anjali October 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

Hi Berny! I’m so glad you liked this. I used to use it in a face pack of chickpeas growing up as well. Made me want to eat it right off my face while I waited for the pack to dry. :-)


Mariam October 17, 2012 at 3:57 am

Hello Anjali! Loved your Tumeric Milk Chai recipe!! Whipped it up for my dad as he was dealing with a nasty bout of the sniffles – it was a hit! Thanks! :)


Anjali October 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

Hi Mariam! Awesome! I hope your Dad’s feeling better. So glad you both liked it.


Nikki | Days With Us March 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I made your delicious Turmeric Milk this morning; it was incredibly delicious and helpful for my sore throat. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I LOVED IT, and look forward to making it again soon.


Anjali March 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

Hi Nikki, Thank you for your note. I’m so glad you liked this and it worked. It’s always the drink I reach for when I’m not feeling so well. I hope you’re feeling better!


Siksha January 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Hi I loved your turmeric almond milk recipe , I did however try something new with it I added cumin seed n extra ginger to it was divine!!! Thanks for reminding us off golden oldie remedies!!!


Anjali January 21, 2014 at 6:23 pm

You’re so welcome! Cumin and extra ginger sounds AMAZING. I’m going to have to give that a try. Thanks for the tip!


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