As a student in the Intermediate Herbal Course offered by The Herbal Academy of New England, I have spent a lot of time reading about the use of herbs to boost natural immunity and support good health. One of the preparations that continued to appear in my search results was Golden Milk. I was intrigued by its color and interesting components. I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Each recipe I that read seemed to include turmeric and some form of milk, but that is where the similarities ended. There was a wealth of different recipes for golden milk, each with a slightly different base of ingredients to draw upon for flavor. The more I read, the more I discovered that there were as many different ways to create golden milk as there were people who loved to incorporate it into their daily diets.
A few constants seems to remain true throughout the recipes. They each used some form of milk for a base and incorporated a source of healthy fat to enrich the flavor. Each one contained turmeric which contributed the beautiful golden color the drink was named for. Luckily, I had a bag of Flavor of the Earth’s Organic Turmeric that I couldn’t wait to use sitting right in the farmhouse kitchen. I just had to decide what other ingredients I wanted to work into the recipe.
I was drawn to a recipe from The Nourished Kitchen which also included ginger and ghee. I loved the idea of adding a buttery element to the recipe. I had a supply of candied ginger slices in the refrigerator, which seemed like a wonderful way to incorporate the gingery zing that I love with a touch of sweetness. I had a copy of The Nourished Kitchen’s cookbook that I received to review, so I was also eager to try one of Jennifer McGruther’s recipes for myself.
I tried several different versions of this recipe before deciding that this one was my clear favorite. The rich flavor of the ghee and bright note of the candied ginger really enriched the herbal notes from the turmeric. Together, it was the perfect blend of flavors paired with a beautiful color and intoxicating aroma.
I have found this drink to be a wonderful way to warm up on a brisk fall day. The aroma and taste are so rich and luscious that I find myself coming back for more. With the long New England winter fast approaching, I’m certain to be reaching for this drink often.
Golden Milk with Turmeric, Ginger, and Ghee
This recipe is quite simple to prepare once you have created the base ingredients. I like to use turmeric paste rather than dry turmeric as I find that it is much easier to fully incorporate into the milk. The ghee adds a delightful buttery flavor that I love. I keep a steady supply of candied ginger slices in our refrigerator, so they were an easy choice for adding ginger to the mix.
Each of these components can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. If you prefer, you could substitute dry turmeric powder, freshly grated ginger with a touch of honey, and a teaspoon of either butter of coconut oil. I use cow milk when preparing this recipe, but you can substitute whatever kind of milk you have on hand. Feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your taste buds.
Prepare a batch of turmeric paste by combining 1/4 cup turmeric powder and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir (using a spoon that you don’t mind turning a lovely yellow color from the turmeric) until the turmeric is fully incorporated into the water. As the mixture warms, it will become a lovely thick paste similar in consistency to natural nut butter. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.
Prepare the ghee by placing one stick of butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. I use organic, grass-fed butter when available, but you can prepare the ghee using whatever kind of butter you typically use in your kitchen. Melt the butter and continue to cook, stirring occasionally as the butter solids begin to separate and a foamy layer forms on the top of the mixture. The butter will make a popping sound as it cooks which signals that the solids are separating. The sound will subside when the ghee is finished cooking. Using a spoon, you can part the foamy layer to inspect the butter below. It should be golden-yellow and clear.. The butter is now clarified. Remove the pan from the heat to cool for 15 minutes.
Once the ghee has cooled, you can either strain it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove the butter solids or carefully remove the solids from the top using a spoon. The ghee can be stored in the refrigerator for use in any dish that calls for butter. Ghee has a much higher smoking point than butter and a more intense flavor. You’ll find that it adds amazing flavor to any recipe that calls for butter.
Now, we’re ready to make the golden milk. You can either prepare it much as you would a cup of hot chocolate by placing all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally until the milk warms to the desired temperature. Or, you can place the ingredients in the bottom of a mug, and add steamed milk to the mug, stirring to incorporate the ingredients. Either way, the turmeric, ghee, and ginger will infuse their flavor into the milk as it is heated and the end results will be aromatic and delicious.
I prefer the version made with steamed milk, which I prepare in the following manner. Combine 1 teaspoon of the turmeric paste, 1 teaspoon ghee, and a few slices of the candied ginger in the bottom of a mug. I like to muddle the ginger slices a bit with the end of the handle of a wooden spoon in order to release more of the ginger flavor before adding the steamed milk. Slowly add warm, steamed milk to the mug, stirring gently. Taste and add a drizzle of the ginger simple syrup or honey to sweeten if desired. Enjoy!