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Warm Milk Punch with Indian Spices

Warm Milk Punch with Indian Spices

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  • 1 1/4-inch thick slice fresh ginger
  • 3 bags Darjeeling tea or 3 tablespoons Darjeeling tea leaves
  • 4 3x1/2-inch strips orange peel
  • Additional cinnamon sticks (optional)

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine first 6 ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add tea bags or leaves and remove saucepan from heat. Cover pan and let mixture steep 30 minutes.

  • Strain liquid into another saucepan. Add milk and sugar to tea. Bring to simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Divide punch among 4 glasses. Garnish with orange peel strips and additional cinnamon sticks, if desired.

Reviews Section

Recipe Summary

  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ teaspoon honey, or to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cloves, and allspice together in a small bowl.

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes stir honey and vanilla extract into milk until completely dissolved. Whisk 1 teaspoon turmeric mixture into milk mixture reduce heat to medium-low and cook until flavors blend, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour mixture through a strainer.

1. Ginger

Known as the universal medicine (vishwabeshaja) in Ayurveda, ginger is beneficial for many conditions. Great for digestion, it alleviates gas and bloating, is an excellent anti-nausea remedy, boosts circulation, and relieves respiratory conditions such as a cough or mucus cold.

A cup of ginger tea (1 teaspoon grated ginger in a cup of hot water) along with a meal can help digestion go smoothly. Low appetite? Have a few pieces of grated ginger with some lime juice and salt 10–15 minutes before meals to spark your agni. Fresh ginger is not as pungent (hot) as dry ginger. If you have a sluggish appetite and slow digestion, make a tea with dry ginger powder (1 teaspoon brewed along with 3–4 cups of water) and drink it throughout the day, especially around mealtimes.

Warm Milk Punch with Indian Spices - Recipes

There is nothing quite like the irresistible aroma of fresh baked bread, especially during the colder months because the kitchen gets all warm and toasty too. For hours, my entire space was filled with the heavenly scent from this spiced bread. I could hardly wait for it to cool down before I was able to slice it and enjoy. If you are looking for an appetite stimulant, you can't do much better than homemade bread.

I don't usually make yeast breads. Generally I prefer to make quick breads that require little kneading. At the same time, I have fond memories of my mother's homemade white bread that rose to enormous heights. It was a special childhood treat. Armed with that memory, and inspired by a traditional bakery bread from Bangalore, I was curious and bold enough to try my own version. There are a plethora of recipes for this spiced and herbed bread and it took some time for me to draft a recipe. Never having been to India, or fortunate enough to know someone who makes this bread, I could only imagine the flavors based on my experience with Indian cuisine. Usually I am more a cook than a baker, but I do enjoy baking and I was up to the challenge of patience because yeast breads generally require a lot of kneading and resting time.

Considering this bread was virtually devoured in little time at all by my husband and best friend Basil, I would say it was a pretty successful effort. With the exception of a few air bubbles near the top of the loaf, the texture was soft and chewy with a delightful browned crust. The spices and herbs added a whole new depth to my experience with yeast breads. It's delicious served warm with a pat of butter, but keeps well for a day or two. With just a hint of heat, the cumin, onion and chilies are nicely balanced by the herbs.

Khara Bread (Indian Spiced Bakery-Style Bread)
Recipe by Lisa Turner
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 23, 2015

Soft warm bakery-style homemade white bread seasoned with herbs and Indian spices

Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 30 to 40 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon milk for brushing the top of the bread
  • 1 teaspoon nigella (kalonji or black onion) seeds for sprinkling on top of the bread (optional)

To make the masala blend, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and stir until they darken a few shades. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chilies and sauté for another minute. Stir in the fresh herbs and salt and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the dough, heat the milk and water together in a small saucepan over low heat until lukewarm. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the yeast and sugar until dissolved. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes until frothy. Then stir in the oil and salt. Gradually stir in the flour and herbs until a dough is formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 15 to 17 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth and not sticky. Add more flour during the kneading process as needed.

Shape the dough into a round and transfer to a greased bowl, turning the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let sit in a warm space until doubled in volume. This should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how warm it is in the kitchen.

Punch the dough down to deflate. Transfer the dough again to a lightly floured bowl and gently knead for another 7 minutes to help work out any air bubbles that have formed.

Shape the dough into a loaf and transfer to a greased 9 × 5 inch loaf pan. Cover the pan with the kitchen towel and let sit to rise in a warm place for another hour.

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Brush the top of the loaf with milk and sprinkle with some nigella seeds if desired. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the bread is golden on top and it sounds hollow when tapped. Let the loaf sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently run a knife along the edges of the bread and carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

The Niche Warm Drinks That Will Get You Through a Chilly Spring

Here’s the thing, the arrival of spring doesn’t necessarily mean the snow (or rain, or sleet, or 30 degree temperatures) are over. On the upside, more cold weather means more excuses to make and sip warm drinks that will get you through that next cold spell. And while nobody’s talking smack about mulled wine or hot cocoa (especially with fresh whipped cream on top), after three months of snowstorms and cold days, you might be looking to mix up your mug. Whether you’re searching for a new boozy cocktail for aprés-ski, something hot to fill your thermos with, or just a tasty drink to fend off the cold, we’ve got options that’ll knock your thick, fuzzy socks off.

Brewed Cacao

Cacao is like the cooler, older sibling of chocolate and coffee. If you find yourself getting jittery from one too many espressos but don’t want all of the sugar and cream from hot chocolate, give brewed cacao a try. It’s basically the same idea as coffee but made from ground cacao beans, resulting in a fruity brew with a slightly chocolate-y taste. Instead of caffeine, brewed cacao also has something called theobromine, a milder, longer-lasting stimulant. The nicest thing is that it can be brewed with a French press (or even added to coffee grounds).

Coffee Milk Tea

No, that’s not a typo. Many of us are either firmly rooted in the coffee camp or team tea, but in places like Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Ethiopia many people prefer to combine the two instead. Often mixed with condensed milk or just milk and sugar, the resulting combo is warm, creamy, and deliciously fragrant. The best versions are arguably served in Chinese bakeries, but it’s also really easy to make at home. Simply pop your tea of choice in a cup and add hot coffee instead of water, so that the tea brews right in the coffee. Get the Hong Kong Yuanyang Tea recipe.


Nowadays, you can find matcha-flavored anything, but you’re missing out if you haven’t tried the real deal. Simply brewed with water and whisked, the tea has an earthy, almost creamy taste. Some research has also suggested that it’s good for you, since it contains various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are associated with better heart health and a boosted metabolism. Matcha comes in different grades, so when picking out a powder to drink straight up, try to go for ceremonial or premium grades. See our Guide to Matcha Green Tea for more.

Atole (Warm Corn Drink)

If you’re looking for a heartier beverage to face yet another cold morning, atole might be the perfect answer. The Mexican drink is usually made from masa harina (or corn flour), brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Other spices like star anise or nutmeg are used too, for an added kick. It’s super easy to adjust thickness by changing the amount of water or milk added, so you can have a more-filling atole as breakfast (as is typical in Mexico) or a thinner one for a light, afternoon beverage. As a bonus, it also comes in seemingly endless varieties. Champurrado, for example, is chocolate-based atole. Other popular mix-ins are pineapple, peanuts, and savory flavors like chile arbol.

Mushroom Coffee

A few years ago, it seemed like mushroom coffee was poised to become the next turmeric latte. Most varieties mix coffee with finely ground mushrooms like chaga, reishi, and cordyceps, which some research suggests have health benefits like anti-inflammation and antioxidants. Other enthusiasts think that they enhance focus and lower anxiety (which could also be a by-product of lower caffeine levels). Either way, mushroom coffee is a delicious option if you’re not ready to nix caffeine for good.

Spiced Milk

It sounds simple, but nothing beats a fragrant, creamy mug of spiced milk on a cold day. The Dutch have anijsmelk, or star anise-infused milk. Parts of India like Chennai have masala paal, with almonds and pistachios, and insomniacs everywhere have turned to a warm cup of milk and cinnamon late at night. The brilliance of this beverage is how versatile the ingredients are. You can pretty much make it with any spices that you have on hand, and sub in with your alt milk of choice.

Lebanese White Coffee

White coffee is a bit of a misnomer, since there are no coffee beans involved in this Lebanese version. Instead, the drink (often had in lieu of coffee) is a combination of water, orange blossom water, and sugar. It’s amazingly fragrant and caffeine-free, and it’s said to help with digestion. If you have trouble finding orange blossom water, you can substitute with other flower waters, like rosewater, instead. Get the Lebanese White Coffee recipe.

Amazake (Hot Sweet Sake)

You’ve probably had hot sakes before, but amazake is a whole different category. Traditionally served at Japanese shrines and teahouses, it’s thick, sweet, and soothing. Technically, most amazake has some alcohol content, but it’s much lower than other sakes. If you can’t find it at a specialty store, it’s actually quite simple to make at home with just a few ingredients. All you need is rice, water, and something called rice koji, akin to a starter for sourdough or kombucha, that you can find on Amazon. Check out this Amazake recipe.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

There are a lot of delicious ways to spike hot chocolate: Bailey’s, amaretto, any number of cream-based liqueurs. But the best option of all might be red wine. It makes sense when you think about it—grapes and chocolate go together, so why shouldn’t red wine and hot cocoa? The mix is less sweet and more complex than other spiked chocolates, with the wine bringing out the fruitiness of the chocolate. Be careful not to go overboard with wine though—too much acidity will curdle the milk. Get this Red Wine Hot Chocolate recipe.

Hot Bourbon Milk Punch

Just a Little Bit of Bacon

Milk punch is a classic New Orleans cocktail. It’s usually made with a base of bourbon or dark rum mixed with milk, sugar, vanilla, and spices like nutmeg. Poured over ice, the punch is an incredible start to Mardi Gras. But mixed with hot milk instead of cold, it’s the ideal mug to cradle while watching a movie in bed (or any other hygge activity). Because it’s so simple, it’s also a great plan B for all of those times that you forget to pick up a bar of chocolate for hot cocoa. Garnish with some freshly grated cinnamon and snuggle in. Get this Hot Bourbon Milk Punch recipe.

Shopping List

If you want to try some of these options at home, you can buy most of your supplies online.

  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 2 whole cloves
  • one thin slice of fresh ginger
  • a half inch chunk of cinnamon stick
  • two whole black peppercorns
  • one generous teaspoon of loose leaf black tea
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk (or Half and Half)
  • sugar to taste

I don't use fresh ginger all that often, but the flavor just can't be beat, so instead of going to the store every time I need fresh ginger (because it has spoiled in my fridge), I keep my hand of ginger in a ziplock bag in the freezer. I cut off or grate what I need, while the ginger is still frozen, and pop the remaining ginger back in the freezer, where it stays fresh until the next time I need to use it.

Partially crush the spices using a mortar and pestle. You don't need to pulverize them entirely.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes. Strain the spices and tea leaves, add sugar to taste, and serve.

I tried making this a second time with unsweetened almond milk, thinking that the creamy mouth-feel of almond milk would make a wonderful chai, but cut the calories significantly. I do not know what it is about the almond milk and these ingredients, but it did NOT work. Th almond-milk chai tasted incredibly bitter (lots and lots of tannins), which I did not experience with the milk-based chai, despite the long steeping time for both. I'll try again with a light, unsweetened coconut milk, but for now, I'm sticking with the classic recipe.

Want more fabulous warm drink recipes? Check out these delightful beverages from my blogger friends in the Taste Creations Blog Hop:

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Remember osmosis? That is, you thought by placing a textbook on your head while you slept, you would magically absorb the knowledge? Well, osmosis plays a large role in steeping tea. All steeping really does is transfer the goodness from the tea leaf to the water (or other liquid). Water just happens to be the preferred liquid due to its neutral taste and abundance in modern society. However, if you wanted to switch it up, other liquids work as well, like milk.

The one thing you need to be conscious of if you do brew your tea in milk is the flavor. Milk has a much stronger taste than water and its viscosity is also thicker making it harder for you to taste the actual tea. Therefore, you need to use a strong tasting tea.

Rum Milk Punch

Rum Milk Punch is one of our favorite holiday treats. Sometimes made with brandy or bourbon, we love what spiced rum does for this boozy beverage. Our Apple Pie Spice simple syrup sweetens this punch perfectly with just the right amount of warm spices.

Ingredients for the Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Apple Pie Spice

Directions for the Simple Syrup:
Simmer the water and sugar in a small pot until it's clear and thickened a bit-about 5 mins. Whisk in the Apple Pie Spice. Set aside. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients for the Rum Punch:
1 cup Spiced Rum
2 cups whole milk
2 cups half & half
1/2 cup Spiced Simple Syrup
1 Tbl Vanilla Puree
Dash grated nutmeg

Directions for the Rum Punch:
Combine the rum, milk, half & half, Spiced Simple Syrup and Vanilla Puree in a pitcher. To serve on the rocks, pour into glasses over ice. For a frothy version, shake portions in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Strain into highball or shot glasses. No matter how you serve it, dust glasses with a few scrapings of fresh nutmeg.

There’s one more charming thing about punch: It gives you a reason to buy a beautiful piece of equipment—and that excuse still holds if you’re serving the unboozy variety. Nineteenth-century doctor and man of letters Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a poem called “On Lending a Punch-Bowl” that waxed rhapsodic on everything his antique punch bowl had seen:

I love the memory of the past,—its pressed yet fragrant flowers,—

The moss that clothes its broken walls,—the ivy on its towers—

Nay, this poor bawble it bequeathed,—my eyes grow moist and dim,

To think of all the vanished joys that danced around its brim.

Typical punch bowls of 2019 are much less fancy than the ones from the 17 th , 18 th , and 19 th centuries that you can view in collections like that of Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Not many people have bowls like Holmes’, featuring cherubs with rubbable noses. But if you have the space to store it, buy a nicer punch bowl like this elegant one from Crate & Barrel and imagine your children using it to celebrate whatever New Year’s has turned into in 2069.