Turmeric twist Food

Sunshine in a spoon

Turmeric-infused gin cocktail;   | Photo Credit: different versions of Turmeric latte Photos: Special arrangement

While the chai latte has found a permanent footing for itself on the menus of some of the toniest tea houses and coolest coffee shops around the world with its spicy, exotic appeal tantalising Western taste buds, there’s another, newer trend that’s also in danger of being ‘culturally co-opted’… one sip at a time! The turmeric latte or what we know as good old haldi wala doodh — an elixir with antiseptic and immunity-boosting properties believed to banish ills with a few gulps — is enjoying an outing like no other.

Known multifariously as ‘golden milk’ or ‘sunshine milk’, its various iterations (read hot, iced, saffroned, spiced)are almost as numerous as its fad-loving fans are.

Golden Milk Iced Coffee

The Pantry, Mumbai (Rs. 195+)

With its use of the very au courant chia seeds in addition to organic turmeric, this one seems to be riding the trend bandwagon on full steam! Basically, a blend of chia seeds, organic turmeric and organic honey all whizzed up together with cold brewed coffee and milk, the drink is further spiced up with the addition of cinnamon, mojo plantation vanilla and cardamom. And for those with a preference for something warm, the guys at The Pantry have also come up with an organic honey and haldi latte (Rs. 145+).

Muskmelon Panna cotta with Turmeric Leaf Ice-cream

Toast & Tonic, Bengaluru (Rs. 250+)

Relying on the in-house food philosophy to create international desserts with an influence of seasonal and local ingredients, turmeric leaf finds itself imparting its unusual, perfumed flavour to this dessert that has a back story of its own. Relying on his childhood memories, Chef Girish Nayak, the restobar’s pastry chef says, “As a kid, my mum used to make me rich kheer with turmeric leaf in it and used to serve it with freshly chopped local muskmelon called chibbuda. I wanted to recreate this memory at Toast & Tonic. In South Karnataka, where I come from, turmeric leaf is a widely-used ingredient in desserts. So, we made a muskmelon panna cotta and serve it with turmeric leaf ice cream.”

Turmeric, Maple and Almond Latte

The Korner House, Mumbai (Rs. 300)

Another iteration laced with nostalgia, this turmeric latte — the sum of its fresh turmeric root, maple syrup, milk and nutmeg parts — is a result of the sheer trauma faced by its creator and head chef at The Korner House, Vicky Ratnani, as a child. “Memories of my mother forcing haldi doodh down my throat was my biggest inspiration behind creating this latte. Working with fresh turmeric root has always been fascinating for me. We need to wake up and start inspiring ourselves more to delve deeper into our own culture. We as a country are not exploring enough and a larger part of us is still unaware of the wonders of indigenous ingredients and food,” believes Ratnani. Amen to that!

The City of Nizam Turmeric-infused Gin Cocktail

Ek Bar, New Delhi (Rs. 500+)

Billing itself as a cocktail bar dispensing desi flavours-redolent libations, Ek Bar shows us that the turmeric trend needn’t always be limited to the healthier side of eating and drinking! So, what they have come up with is this ultra-potent, fresh turmeric root-infused Bombay Sapphire gin cocktail that is topped with orange syrup and a spritz of tonic water.

Turmeric-infused Dry Fruit Milk Sorbet

Jeon, Mumbai (Rs. 350+)

A unique take on a ‘sorbet’, this drinkable one is served warm and can be had as a dessert or even before the start of the main course as a palate cleanser. The drink contains reduced milk that is infused with roasted turmeric powder and dry fruits along with rose water. It is later topped with delicate strands of saffron and almond slivers which give it a distinct flavour and then served with a trio of mini fresh fruit tartlets.

Turmeric Latte

Nosh, Suryagarh, Jaisalmer (Rs. 375+)

Imbued with a host of heat-generating spices like peppercorns, cinnamon, dried ginger and nutmeg, this latte also has copious amounts of ghee and jaggery added to it, making it the perfect antidote to the chilly winters of Jaisalmer. Served as part of the ‘stay well’ breakfast buffet at the hotel’s only restaurant Nosh, this latte was developed by New Delhi-based nutritionist and blogger Sangeeta Khanna who says she’s a major fan of desi superfoods like turmeric. “I was inspired mainly by our Indian traditions and also by the immense anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric that is enhanced by the addition of pepper and the spices to add to turmeric’s flavour and healing properties,” says Khanna.

Eureka — The Turmeric-infused Gin Cocktail

Bodega Cantina-Y-Bar, Kolkata (Rs. 325+)

This served-in-a-bulb cocktail is a potent blend of turmeric-infused gin, Campari, kafir lime leaves, Martini Rosso and house-pressed orange juice. “Turmeric is a very earthy ingredient and adds a unique flavour to the drink,” says Urvika Kanoi, co-founder and chef at this Park Street restobar. “Not only is it healthy and versatile, but it also imparts a vibrant colour and we wanted to incorporate the smell and colour of it in a cocktail — a drink that is both radiant and aromatic.”

Chai Latte with Turmeric Foam

212 All Good, Mumbai (Rs. 125+)

An interesting ‘chaimera’ (do pardon the pun!) of both a chai latte and a turmeric latte, this hot drink is done in a coffee style with a base of homemade masala chai and haldi foam to give a mouthfeel of a cappuccino while drinking it. The masala chai base uses traditionally brewed tea with quintessentially Indian herbs and spices including lemongrass and finished off with a foam which is infused with turmeric powder.

“The inclusion of turmeric is also a classic example of the restaurant embracing feedback,” says Tanai Shirali, beverage developer and director of operations at this brand new ‘healthy eating’ restaurant. “Throughout our conversations with guests, turmeric milk consistently came up as requests and made a perfect fit for 212 All Good, which is built from a promise to create incredibly wholesome food and drinks that are shy of preservatives and embrace everything that is good for your gut.”

TURMERIC LATTE

(2 servings)

Ingredients

1 tsp turmeric powder

A generous pinch of pepper powder

A pinch of cinnamon powder

A pinch of ginger powder or more if you like

A half pinch of nutmeg powder

1 tsp ghee

1 cup full fat milk

1 cup water

Jaggery or honey to taste

Procedure

* Mix the milk and water together and bring to simmer. (This is important as the simmering milk when mixed with the hot turmeric mix cooked in ghee makes a smooth emulsion with very little sedimentation of the turmeric solids.)

* Now heat the ghee in a pan and tip in the turmeric powder. Keep the flame low and let the turmeric powder get cooked for a couple of seconds, till it gets aromatic. Now take the pan off the heat and sprinkle the other spice powders, mix well by shaking the pan a little or using a spatula.

* Pour the hot milk and water mix over this pan and bring to a light boil. Take off heat, add the sweetener of your choice and serve immediately.

(Recipe courtesy: Sangeeta Khanna)

Raul Dias is a Mumbai-based food and travel writer who is an ardent devotee of the peripatetic way of life.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 9:32:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/Sunshine-in-a-spoon/article16931587.ece

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