Back home, in India, I grew up drinking masala chai, turmeric milk, and masala milk.
Over the years, I saw masala chai latte being served in coffee shops. Now, many coffee shops across the United States are serving golden milk lattes (made with turmeric and milk). This golden milk latte is a non-caffeinated alternative to masala chai latte, which, at one point, was a reduced caffeine alternative to coffee.
And before masala milk latte hits the stores, I am sharing my own, homemade recipe.
Masala milk (masala doodh) is a special drink that, in India, is made for the moon god. It is a made on the special full moon night of Kojagiri Poornima, which happens in late fall. To make this latte, reduced whole milk is flavored with nuts, spices, and sweetened with sugar.
This milk is then offered to the moon god, and one must make sure that the subtle, beautiful, bright full moonlight falls on the milk, which is then served to family members. As a child, this was an after dinner “treat” for me.
As a ritual, my mom and now my sister-in-law diligently make this recipe each year to please the moon god. I vividly remember all the ladies in our apartment complex would prepare this drink, and then, along with their kids, would come up to the terrace of our building and offer this milk to the moon god, sometimes patiently waiting for the moon to show up as it hid behind the clouds.
The beautiful, bright night of a full moon filled with the aroma of the saffron infused milk is divine. To resemble the color of moon, at home, we serve this milk in a silver glass.
Masala Milk Latte
4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup almonds
1/8 cup pistachios
4 green cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon ground green cardamom
10 saffron strands
4 teaspoons cane sugar
1/8 teaspoons salt
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat milk and let it cook for 15 additional minutes. Stir once every couple of minutes and stir in the thin film of milk that forms on top of the milk.
Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, blend all the remaining ingredients.
Add this mixture to the milk. Stir. Cook for an additional five minutes. Serve.
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