Make Turmeric Tea, the traditional way with just 3 ingredients! Turmeric, the bright yellow spice that originated in India, lends its beautiful golden hue to the latest evergreen food trend – “Turmeric tea”. But is healthful turmeric tea really that recent? And how do you make it at home with fresh ingredients whenever you want, instead of relying on your store bought packs?
What is Turmeric Tea?
Turmeric tea is exactly as the name implies, a tea made by boiling fresh or dried and powdered turmeric root with plain water. It can sometimes include other ingredients, such as spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves & sweeteners like honey, or citrus.
Turmeric is the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant, a relative of the equally famous ginger (which is also known for the medicinal and culinary uses of its rhizomes). Although turmeric tea made splashy health headlines in the 2010s, turmeric itself has been used for medical purposes for over 4,500 years.
It’s even been a part of Ayurvedic medicine, a type of natural healing from India, since 500 BCE.
The culinary use of turmeric in English is first mentioned in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747. She calls for using it in an Indian pickle recipe, a later edition called for it in an Indian-style curry too. It eventually became an indispensable part of commercial, ready-made curry powders.
Considering turmeric’s long history in both medicine and cuisine, its modern resurgence in contemporary turmeric tea makes sense.
Turmeric tea is arguably most famous for its health benefits. It’s a decent source of minerals, such as manganese, iron, and copper. While turmeric contains antioxidants and essential oils, the spice is most well-known for containing curcuminoids.
Curcuminoids are a group of phenols that make yellow, the most famous is curcumin. The health benefits of curcumin and curcuminoids are hotly debated within the scientific community.
About Traditional Turmeric Tea
But Turmeric tea is not new to Indians and has been consumed since ages for symptomatic relief & treatment of Arthritis, seasonal flu, allergies, digestive troubles & many more.
The fresh root would be fried in Ghee & boiled in water with many healing spices to make a drink known as “Kashayam”, a medicinal concoction. Till day, this spiced turmeric kashayam is used to treat various kinds of ailments in Indian ayurvedic retreats.
It is also one of the widely used home remedy in South India during the monsoon & winters. There are numerous recipes to make this turmeric tea & each is customized to suit the body type and overall health.
In this post I share a few different ways to make Indian Turmeric Tea easily at home. I also share tips for better absorption of curcumin in the turmeric.
Curcumin’s possible benefits are complicated by its low bioavailability, meaning that it is very difficult for human bodies to absorb. Experts suggest to pair it with certain ingredients like black pepper & healthy fats to increase the body’s intake.
And yes, you can add them to your turmeric tea!
How to Make Turmeric Tea (Stepwise Photos)
To make turmeric tea you only need 3 main ingredients – Turmeric, black pepper and ghee or any healthy fats. Other ingredients are all optional. You can make turmeric tea with fresh turmeric root or with dried ground turmeric (Turmeric powder).
To make turmeric tea with fresh turmeric rhizome, you first need to peel and cut one inch of fresh turmeric into small slices or grate. Crush or crack a few black pepper corn. Choose your fats – oil or ghee. Pepper and ghee help in better absorption.
If you want you may use fresh ginger (or dried ground ginger) and lemon. But lemon is not used traditionally. Wash and grate ginger or slice or chop it.
Mix together ¼ to ½ teaspoon of dried, powdered turmeric with 1¼ cup of water. Add ⅛ teaspoon black pepper and ½ teaspoon ghee or cold pressed oil like extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil or avocado, depending on your diet. If you want you can also add the ghee/oil later just before straining the tea.
If you want add ¼ to ½ teaspoon grated ginger (¼ to ½ inch).
Optionally If you want you can use the crushed spices like – 1 cardamom, 1 clove, 1 inch True cinnamon (not cassia), ¼ teaspoon each of cumin, carom seeds and fennel seeds. All these spices work on the digestive and respiratory system. They also help to detox the body. You need to coarsely crush the spices using a mortar pestle before adding to the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Ground turmeric requires only 3 to 4 mins, fresh grated turmeric requires about 5 mins and chopped turmeric requires about 9 to 10 mins of boiling. If using spices, you need to boil for 10 mins
Then remove from the heat and Let sit for 2 to 3 mins. Strain the turmeric tea.
Press down the ingredients to extract all of the turmeric goodness.
For those who are put off by the idea of drinking nothing but turmeric & spices because of its strong flavor, you are in luck. There are plenty of add-ins that both enhance the taste and the nutritional content of the tea.
You may add jaggery or palm jaggery while boiling. Squeeze in some lemon juice for a citrusy flavor and tang. This tea is best served hot or at least warm. You can also stir in organic honey to the warm turmeric tea (not to the hot tea).
Add-ins for Golden Tea
Want ways to enhance your turmeric tea? Here are some ideas for add-ins.
• Add healthy fats to your turmeric tea. Healthy fats can include avocado oil, coconut oil, or ghee. Since the curcumin found in turmeric is not easily absorbed by the body, adding some healthy fats to your turmeric tea may increase your body’s uptake.
• Throw in fresh or dried ginger. Ginger is great for treating nausea and indigestion–perfect to add to turmeric tea after a little indulgence or while recovering from an illness.
• Stir in a little honey. Not only will honey sweeten your turmeric tea, it also gives it an antioxidant boost. Honey has anti-microbial properties and can help soothe coughing and sore throats too.
• Drop in a slice of lemon. Lemons are deliciously tangy and chock full of the useful antioxidant vitamin C. If you include the pulp of the lemon, not just the juice, you also get a nice helping of soluble fiber to promote digestive and heart health.
How to Make Instant Turmeric Tea Mix
Sometimes you want to make yourself a hot cup of tea without thinking too hard about chopping or measuring. That’s where instant turmeric tea mix comes into play!
It only takes a few minutes to put together and can last for weeks stored in a cool, dry place. Custom tea blends also make excellent birthday and holiday gifts for your favorite tea lover!
To make the instant turmeric tea, combine dried and powdered turmeric, Indian dried ginger powder, and ground black pepper. If the pepper sounds odd, there’s a reason for it: the chemical piperine in black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with ratio amounts to see which blend you like.
Once the instant tea is mixed, you can store it in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, consider portioning it out into disposable tea bags instead.
When you finally decide you want a nourishing cup of turmeric tea, all you need to do is stir some instant mix into boiling water, let it steep, and then strain.
You can even make cold brew turmeric tea with either 4 inches of fresh turmeric or 3 teaspoons of dried powdered turmeric in 4 cups of water. Just let it steep in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then strain and enjoy!
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder (or 1 inch fresh turmeric root, grated or chopped/sliced)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ginger grated (optional, ½ inch root)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper (3 to 4 whole pepper corn crushed)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon ghee or cold pressed extra virgin oil (avocado/ olive/coconut)
- 1¼ cup water (¼ cup more if using optional spices)
- 1 clove
- 1 cardamom
- 1 inch True cinnamon (not cassia)
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds
How to Make Turmeric Tea
- Add turmeric, ginger, black pepper and ghee to a pot. Pour water and mix well. If using oil add it later before straining the tea.
- If using the whole spices, crush them coarsely in a mortar & pestle and add them to the pot.
- Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.
- Boil turmeric tea for 3 to 4 mins if made with ground turmeric. Or for 5 mins if made with grated fresh root. Or boil for 9 to 10 mins if made with chopped fresh turmeric & spices.
- Let the turmeric tea rest for 2 to 3 mins and strain to a cup.
- Turmeric tea is best served hot or warm. You may stir in honey if you prefer but only in warm turmeric tea (not hot). If you want stir in some lemon juice. If you feel the tea is too strong for your taste, simply add more hot water (not cold) to dilute.
- If you use optional spices in your tea, the color would be different.
- Optional spices work on the respiratory and digestive system.
- If you have digestive issues, first consult your doctor before including this in your diet.
- Turmeric can affect your medications. Please consult your Doctor if you are on any medication.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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