Friday, 9 September 2016

turmeric ginger and pandan latte

turmeric has, for millennia, been revered in India and south-east asia as a spice, fabric dye, food colouring, medicine, health tonic and beauty aid. asian women use it topically to heal and beautify their skin. it's indispensable in traditional post-natal care in indonesia, to hasten the healing and tightening of the traumatised birth canal, and help women regain their pre-pregnancy figures.

newer studies are beginning to reveal the astonishing, myriad benefits of turmeric, including preventing the formation of carcinogenic HCA on grilled meat, satay being a staggeringly delicious case in point. no small thing that, for a foodie.

you know turmeric as the curry spice that's seriously good for you, right? but did you know how delicious it can be, as a star ingredient? this is so good, i guzzle it steaming hot, in a hefty, huggable mug, cold in a tall frosty glass, or sip it, pinky sticking out, from a dainty bone china teacup. i love it first thing in the morning, while deciding on breakfast, last thing at night, in bed, with my favourite book, or any time in between.

i've been downing turmeric concoctions since the age of 13, at my mum's urging, while she had in turn, been drinking them at her mother's insistence, from the onset of puberty, as a general health, beauty and uterine tonic. in some asian communities, cocktails of fresh turmeric with raw egg yolks and honey are believed to make skinny lasses blossom into voluptuous womanhood, while turmeric and tamarind are said to turn chubby girls into lithe beauties.

it seems there's nothing this miraculous, golden root cannot do.

makes 4 cups

blended milk

4 cups low fodmap plant milk (rice, oat, sunflower seed or macadamia nut milk)
5 cm (2 in) length fresh turmeric root, peeled and thickly sliced
2.5 cm(1 in) length fresh ginger root, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
a pinch of salt

4 pandan leaves, washed and knotted into 2 bundles
4 teaspoons maple syrup or 8 - 12 drops stevia

  • put blended milk ingredients into blender and blitz until very smooth
  • filter milk through clean muslin or double layers of cheesecloth, into a saucepan
  • discard residue in muslin
  • add pandan leaves and sweetener of choice into milk in saucepan
  • heat milk very gently over low heat for 10  minutes or until it reaches a steady simmer 
  • turn off heat, cover pot and leave to infuse for 15 more minutes
  • when ready to serve, heat again to desired temperature, but do not let it boil
  • discard pandan leaves and pour into cups
  • if you like a frothy head, briskly whisk latte in the pan before pouring into cups
  • if you cannot find fresh pandan, don't use frozen leaves or pandan flavouring as they are a far cry from the real thing
  • substitute instead with 1 bashed fresh lemongrass stalk, or a vanilla pod, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 cinnamon stick
  • a combination of fresh lemongrass and vanilla is in fact a better substitute for pandan leaves
  • instead of serving hot, cool latte after infusing for 15 minutes then refrigerate and serve cold on its own or as the liquid component in a smoothie
  • if you have a high speed blender and the mixture is very smooth, you may want to skip filtering the milk

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