Turmeric and Ginger White Hot Chocolate

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A velvety smooth hot drink, with the warmth intensified by the inclusion of various spices.

Home remedies were, and still are, very much part of my upbringing. Whilst we value professional medical opinions – sometimes the cure to a wheezy chest is a shot of brandy and honey, a spicy chicken curry and your chest wrapped up in flannel clothing ( as an asthmatic teen, my grandmom used to do this for me ever so often).

Recently, I had a bit of a runny nose and my mum was reading my the proverbial riot act for not eating enough spicy food, drinking enough hot drinks and keeping warm. Her solution was to have a strongly brewed cup of Hurdee Milk. Hurdee is the Hindi word for turmeric, and featured a lot as a home remedy growing up. This was accompanied by a strong ginger taste to the milk, which was said to “cut the cold” (cutting sounds very gangster, I don’t even know what that means. It’s Durban Indian speak, I think). Like many medicines, it didn’t taste great, so I do not attach fond memories to it (It did work at curing that cold, though!).

Unrelated to this, I have been following Sadie’s Bubble of Yum hot drink series this past winter, as she took classics and added her own twist on them. I too, wanted to create a lovely warm beverage to enjoy in front of the fire.

Whilst, I love a good white hot chocolate, it sometimes can become a bit too sweet. I thus had the idea to temper the sweetness with the spiciness of the ginger and turmeric. This added a wonderful balance and beautiful golden hue to the drink. Whilst in South Africa spring has officially sprung, the rain has not left and the mornings and evenings are still nippy, so definitely an option to sneak in a hot drink or two.

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  • Do not be confused by the milk measurements. In total you will need around 875ml milk. You will begin with 500ml, which is reduced to 125ml. You will then add a further 375ml to bring the total milk content to 500ml again.
  • This is quite a simple recipe to make, with a few basic ingredients. The depth of flavour relies on the quality of spices which you choose to use.
  • I always prefer freshly ground spices, as the flavour profile is so much stronger and more punchy. The implication however, is that you need less of it than store-ground spices.
  • Spices affect the taste, but not overall texture or thickness, so you can adjust to your own preference.
  • Boiling the milk in the spices and reducing the milk is an important step in concentrating the flavour, so do not ignore this.
  • If you are patient, you can let the spices infuse in the milk for a few hours. Patience is a virtue however, and not one which I posses.
  • As always, a good quality white chocolate makes all the difference. Aim for at least 30% cocoa solids. None of that “creamy white confection”. If not, the drink will be sickly sweet.


  • 875ml full cream milk
  • 500ml fresh cream
  • 120g fresh root ginger, cleaned and grated
  • 1 Tbs tumeric
  • 10 green cardamom pods, crushed and seeds released
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • about 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 270g good quality white chocolate, at least 30% cocoa solids
  • additional whipping cream, to serve


  1. Place 500ml of milk into a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Add in the grated ginger, turmeric, cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, ginger powder and salt.
  3. Heat gently at first, and gradually bring up to a boil. You want to reduce the milk to 125ml or until you have a nice concentrated spicy flavour. This can take a good ten minutes.
  4. Stir in the cornflour.
  5. Then top up the reduced milk mixture to make 500ml. (*see notes above).
  6. Add in the fresh cream and continue to heat on the stove, until the mixture comes up to a boil.
  7. Remove the milk and cream mixture from the stove and strain out the spices.
  8. Stir in the white chocolate immediately, so that it melts into the hot milk/cream mixture. Pour into your mugs.
  9. Finally, top with whipped cream, whipped to soft peaks, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Recipe by adventureswithsugar.com

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