Recipe: Spiced Turmeric Oat Milk (cultural appropriation-free)

Spiced Turmeric Oat Milk is a delicious adaptation of the traditional Indian drink, "Haldi Doodh" (Hindi for "Turmeric Milk"). Variations of this drink are certainly trendy these days, with seemingly every coffee shop offering their version of a "Golden Milk Latte." We encourage you to indulge in this recipe, but inform yourself on its origins. This isn't an exotic new drink, and turmeric is not a revolutionary discovery by your favorite healthy living content platform. 


-2 cups oat milk (or milk of your choice)
-1 tsp grated fresh turmeric (powdered works well too)
-1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
-Spices: 1 cinnamon stick, 1 clove, 1/2 star anise, 1 smashed cardamom pod, 2 black peppercorns, a pinch of nutmeg powder, a pinch of salt
-1/8 tsp of coconut oil or ghee (use both for a richer taste) -1tbsp raw manuka honey

Add all ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil. Whisk and simmer for 10 min. Strain into a mug and enjoy.

Cultural Context
Haldi Doodh is a traditional Indian drink used as a home remedy to help with recovery when feeling under the weather. The start ingredient, Turmeric, is native to India, and has long been used in Indian cooking for color and flavor. It's also been used in Ayuverdic medicine for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties - these benefits have garnered significant attention in the US over the last several years. This root's reputation as a "superfood" (this is a marketing term, not an actual classification) has caused many to use Turmeric in new and interesting ways, including our spiced oat milk adaptation of Haldi Doodh. Traditionally, the drink isn't consumed with additional spices or sweetener, and the earthy taste of turmeric isn't one that Indians seek out on its own as a singular flavor.

When I made this recipe, my little sister loved it. My dad on the other hand, took one sip and said "not for me." My dad's sentiments are relatable for those who have experienced the Haldi Doodh tradition - they associate it with being sick as the taste is reminiscent of the medicinal drink in its original form. Our adaptation of Haldi Doodh doesn't mean it's a better version, it just means it fits well with our specific needs, desires, and behaviors. I've got an appetite for sugar and an appreciation for efficiency thanks to my American upbringing, which makes me find this sweet, multi-functional beverage appealing. I've grown up eating turmeric daily and consuming chai regularly thanks to my Indian roots, so it's exciting to use ingredients and flavors I'm familiar with in a novel way. Finally, I'm an urban millennial who loves coffee culture so you KNOW I appreciate a warm beverage!

Profiting off an aspect taken from traditional Indian culture without acknowledgment to its origins is cultural appropriation. This is an especially sinister behavior when predominantly white communities profit off of non-white cultural practices, as it feeds the systemic racism that originated from colonialism and still exists today. 

Our Take
If something seems "exotic" to you, there's probably more to the story. Take that extra minute to google, to ask a question, to seek out a story. You'll be smarter for it and taking the time to learn about cultures different from our own can enrich our lives in so many ways.

Here at SHAI, we're wildly inspired by mashups and reinterpretations. We are creating a new culture that that reflects our own identity at the intersection of heritage and upbringing, and we seek to support creators exploring this intersection while paying homage to cultural roots. We will continue to reclaim our culture and spread awareness on India's rich traditions, and we hope you join us in doing so.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published