KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — Some of us are better at being sick than others.
The more stoic among us just brave the aches and pains and get on with their day. Admirable, at least until one keels over from insufficient rest and a really bad virus.
Others make a beeline for the medicine cabinet or the nearest clinic to load up on antibiotics and antihistamines.
Maybe there’s a better way.
I first encountered this mellow yellow brew in the specialty coffee bars of Melbourne. While the Australian city is justifiably famous for flat whites and single origin coffees, sometimes you just want something that’s not caffeinated.
Enter the golden latte. Latte is Italian for milk, of course, and the beverage’s orange-lemony colour comes from the addition of turmeric powder. Some honey to sweeten the deal and I was hooked. Every sip seemed healing, body and soul.
I later learned from my best friend that mothers in India had for centuries brewed a concoction of milk, turmeric and other spices when their children had colds and various other ailments.
Certainly this is something we can manage on our own when we have a touch of the flu — it’s simple enough even when we are sick. (Or better yet have someone else make it for us!)
Most of us are more familiar with the use of turmeric in curries; it’s the spice that gives it such a brilliant colour.
Turmeric contains many bioactive compounds with medicinal properties such as curcumin, which has a strong anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies. It’s healing, the natural way.
The other spices back up the turmeric in different ways. Ginger is great for removing toxins from our bodies. The aromatic rhizome also has anti-inflammatory properties and aids digestion, a bonus when we are feeling poorly.
Cinnamon is full of polyphenols — powerful antioxidants that protect us from free radicals that damage our bodies.
Many of the golden lattes you’d find in Melburnian cafés incorporate a dash of nutmeg. I find the flavour of nutmeg too strong in this instance, when we are unwell.
Instead a dose of fresh vanilla might be just want the doctor ordered. Its aroma is subtler: a delicate, floral and almost spicy fragrance.
Use sparingly, however, as vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron; a little goes a long way.
Perhaps what makes this golden latte the ultimate beverage for curing any number of ailments is when you’re in perfect health yourself... and you make it for someone you love.
The meditative process of making it provides an opportunity to slow down and reflect on how blessed we are.
Here’s to a vibrant pick-me-up with some golden-hued turmeric latte; here’s to a gold rush of health!
GOLD RUSH LATTE
While golden latte typically uses cow’s milk, any type of milk can be used. For the more health-conscious, plant-based milks such as almond milk and oat milk can be used. I find these a bit thin though.
Instead, I prefer a half-and-half blend of cow’s milk and a plant-based milk. The use of both full-cream milk and coconut milk in this recipe creates a fuller mouthfeel and richer flavour while cutting down the amount of lactose.
Also some people find dairy may have an inflammatory effect, which isn’t great when one is under the weather.
Either canned or fresh coconut milk will do though fresh is best. Try making the coconut milk at home by mixing twice the amount of water to unsweetened shredded coconut.
Pour once through a sieve to catch most of the coconut solids, then a couple more times through a muslin cloth or cheesecloth. (Probably not something we’d attempt when unwell but definitely worth the effort if you’re making the golden latte for someone you love.)
You may adjust the amounts of the ingredients according to your personal preference — more ginger if you like it spicy; skipping the optional honey at the end if you don’t have a sweet tooth. Raw, organic honey that is unprocessed hits the spot.
250ml full-cream milk
250ml coconut milk
1 medium piece of ginger, crushed
½ tablespoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 tablespoon organic honey, if desired
Additional ground cinnamon for garnish, if desired
Add the full-cream milk, coconut milk and piece of crushed ginger into a pot. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil then lower heat to a simmer.
Using a fine-mesh strainer to avoid any large lumps, add the turmeric powder and ground cinnamon.
Allow the mixture to simmer over a medium heat, making sure to whisk continuously.
After five minutes, add the seeds scraped directly from the vanilla bean. Continue to whisk.
After another five minutes, remove the pot from the heat and pour into two glasses, again using a fine-mesh strainer to catch the piece of ginger and to remove any unsightly lumps.
Stir in some organic honey to taste at this point if you like and not before as too high a heat would destroy much of the honey’s beneficial properties.
Garnish with a powdering of ground cinnamon, if desired, and serve immediately.
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