Haldi ka Soy-doodh

Haldi ka Doodh is milk mixed with a number of cold-fighting spices and it is a great Indian housewives remedy that’s stood the tests of time and science. The star of this drink is turmeric, that golden spice that gives a lot of Indian food its fabulous color.

Its color, though, is not the real reason turmeric (haldi) is prized in an Indian kitchen. Instead, our grandmothers and their grandmothers have long known what scientists around the world have only recently started to verify– that curcumin, a component of turmeric, is a super antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with properties that help fight infection. What’s more, it also helps fight cancer, alleviate arthritis pain and soothe stomach disorders.

In India, in the absence of an antiseptic cream on hand, anyone knows to grab a pinch of turmeric and place it on a bleeding wound to nip in the bud any possibility of infection. It can be a bit messy– because turmeric does stain– but you can’t beat it for effectivness.

Turmeric is an essential component in almost any Indian spicy dish, and especially curries. I add it to almost anything Indian I cook, because — as I’ve said in these posts before– I strongly believe in food as medicine. But there are some things anyone new to cooking with turmeric would do well to keep in mind. For one, use it in small quantities: no recipe — unless made in bulk quantities– needs more than 1/2 tsp of it.

Turmeric is bitter in taste, and added at the wrong time it can ruin a dish with a raw, unpleasant flavor. So be sure to toast your turmeric– as you should any raw spice– in some oil before you add it to your dish. By this I don’t mean you should toast it separately. Just stir it in after you’ve sauteed the onions and garlic and ginger for a curry, so the turmeric mixes in with the oil. But don’t add it toward the end of cooking. Get it?

Today’s recipe, though, is an exception, because we aren’t adding any oils here. For haldi ka doodh, you’d typically add the turmeric and spices like black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom to some milk, simmer until it comes to a boil, allow it to stand, and then drink piping hot. Trust me, it’s delicious.

In my vegan kitchen, I substitute the milk with some vanilla soymilk and it tastes much better than the stinky-milk version.

Here goes the recipe. It’s simple enough, but I love you enough to share it with you in case you ever have the sniffles.

Haldi ka Soy-doodh

(Serves 2)


2 cups vanilla soymilk (I love the Kirkland brand from Costco because it practically has no aftertaste, the way some soymilk does)

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

4 cloves

3 green cardamom pods

1 1-inch stick of cinnamon

10 black peppercorns

Sugar to taste (or use any sweetener you prefer)

Crush the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, preferably, until they are very coarsely powdered.

Put the soymilk in a small saucepan, add the turmeric and powdered spices, stir, and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Watch the pot closely because it will overflow, just as milk would, and then you’d have a messy cleanup job on top of a cold. How awful!

Once the soymilk begins to boil, quickly turn off the heat and cover. Let it stand for a minute or two at the most.

Strain into a cup, add sugar, and drink hot.

Get well!

For other cold-fighters, check out my Blast-off-that-cold Soup and my Broccoli-Potato Soup=”separator”>

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  1. says

    Well said about curcumin and its anti-inflamatory properties…yeah, indegeous food is full of goodness:) I take this milk regularly during winter. But never tried with soy milk…must be tastee:)

  2. says

    Here’s a link to the formal copyright complaint process for wordpress. It looks like a pain in the behind (and won’t take care of non-wordpress people), but you should be able to shut the plagiarizer down.

  3. says

    I give my son some haldi ka doodh when he has cold, never tried with soy milk though. I’m going to try this today as he passed on some germs to me.

  4. says

    this was really really interesting, thank you for sharing.

    I have had my tumeric for awhile… what is it’s shelf life?

    I’ve had an amazing dish with just tumeric, green pepper, onion and salt and pepper… so good!!

  5. says

    I have the worse cold at the moment and I am going to make of of this to drink tonight. I do not wanna take alot of meds that would ruin my system in a few years. I am going to try this tonight to see how it goes. Thanks a bunch and Happy New Year

  6. says

    This looks great! I love the idea of food to fight a cold. Echinacea tea is good, too.

    That plagerist’s website is the worst, isn’t it? I just googled another random recipe and found it was lifted from the Meatless Mondays site – introduction and all.

  7. Anonymous says

    Hi Vaishali
    Great recipe. I never liked the concept of Haldi ka Doodh but after your notes about cardamom and all, I feel like making it sometime.
    Plagiarists are hopeless.

  8. says

    I recently tasted the (hesitatingly) Vanilla Soy milk, really loved the taste. Combinig Haldi to it is fab and healthy too.

    Happy 2010 to you! :)

  9. says

    I’m pleasantly surprised to know this actually tastes good! When we were in India last, my husband’s aunts recommended he drink it to kick a cold, and I teased him about it b/c we were sure it would be gross (as in “drink it, drink it)!

    sorry to hear about the plagiarism…just saw that a blogger i like/respect did this w/a recipe from food network.

  10. says

    Vaishali, how did you know that I had a bad case of sniffles? I am trying to be vegan for the whole month of January as an experiment and I was missing the haldi ka doodh. I never thought to try making it with soymilk, since I have only ever had soymilk cold (like in my cereal). I am surely going to go home tonight and have this before I go to bed, and give some to AJ as well.

    By the way, I went to Deb’s blog and gave him/her a piece of my mind. My comment might not be approved though, I am guessing.

  11. says

    Vaisahali,Initially I missed reading about ur notes on Plagiarism.I feel sorry for you.I totally agree people can adapt/get ideas from others but plagiarismis unacceptable .

  12. says

    I always didn’t like the after taste the soya milk gave! Probably I should try the costco one.
    Plagiarism is untolerable- people who does never accept or realize!

  13. says

    I have turmeric milk all the time when down with cold and flu though havent tried soy milk as yet, tasted once and didnt like the taste but your recipe to add spices certainly looks promising, will try and let you know :-)
    Sorry to hear about plagiarism, some people just dont have conscience!!

  14. says

    Malar, thanks!

    Apricot, thanks for the link– I’ll check it out.

    Pavani, thanks– hope it helps you feel better! :)

    Dairy Free Betty, Turmeric has a pretty long shelf life– I would daresay you could use it even if it had been standing around for months or a couple of years! Mine usually runs out every six months or so.

    Priya, Thanks

    Caribbeanvegan, thanks and a happy new year to you!

    Claire, thanks. I have heard about the cold-soothing properties of echinacea but never tried the tea. Will do sometime.

    Anonymous, Shri, Voracious, Thanks!

    Asha, thanks and a happy new year to you!

    Maya, thanks!

    Nithya, yes, it is surprisingly good– it’s key not to add too much of the turmeric or it could get bitter, but with just the right amount, the sugar and the spices, Desi says it tastes like payasam :) He used to hate the concept but once he’d tasted it, he became a fan :)

    Empowerment, Sorry about the sniffles and hope you feel better soon.
    Thanks for giving Deb a piece of your mind– I notice she’s added a credit line to the recipe, although she still hasn’t added a link.

    Maya, Cham, Parita, thanks, all, and yes, plagiarists are the worst.

  15. says

    I am always administering this to the family when they catch cold but haven’t tried with soymilk at all! I just didn’t think it would be as effective.

    I checked that site and found your site mentioned now but he/she still hasn’t hyperlinked!

  16. says


    Happy new year to you, desi and furry friends. Hali ka soy doodh is good in this winter season. I should try it even when I am not sick, looks good.

  17. says

    Love this post! Since marrying an Indian guy, haldi has become my favorite “cure-all!”

    And it’s not vegan, I know… but a little Bailey’s tipped in never hurt anyone. :)

  18. says

    I loooove this recipe, thankyou so much for posting it! I make it when I’m not even sick as it’s a great comfort drink when it’s a bit nippy out & I need some tlc.
    I added some fresh ginger & orange zest to mine & sweetened with maple syrup & I feel better already :)
    Thankyou so much Vaishali

    • says

      Silvia, how awful! Sorry to hear that. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, so I guess it might have some positive effect on pain, but even if it did, you might have to take large quantities to see a difference. I am no doctor but I would advise not to rely on turmeric to alleviate pain. Among other things, it definitely is not going to act instantly.

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