A few days back, while walking in a store, I happened to see a large variety of packaged and flavoured milk on the shelves. There were coffee, cocoa, rose syrup, strawberry flavoured to name a few. This segment has opened up and is increasing day by day as milk companies are overflowing with the supply of milk and they are constantly finding new ways to sell milk. On the other hand, consumers are also always on the lookout for something new and are willing to experiment. Needless to say that the flavoured milk comes at an extra price which may or may not match the nutritional benefits.
So what could be some additional ways to make your milk interesting and at the same time nutritious and easy to make.
Well, there is a host of options in terms of additions you could make to your milk ranging from fruits, nuts, syrups, cereals etc.
Homemade shakes like Strawberry shake, Choco shake, Thandai etc are much better in terms of taste, nutrition and health benefits. Plus you know what exactly is going into it and can easily tailor it to suit your needs.
The one I am going to talk to you about is a powder which I would fondly like to call “Milk Masala” – a mixture of spices and nuts. The addition of milk masala to the ordinary plain milk makes it tastier and healthier and makes it a balanced food in itself.
Milk masala? Whats that? Does milk need any masala?
The answer is that of course, you can have plain milk as it is a complete and balanced food in itself. But the addition of milk masala to the ordinary plain milk makes it tastier and healthier.
Milk masala is nothing but a mix of some nuts and spices. It can be easily stored for a long time say about a month or so. Thus it becomes handy to add to milk or other Indian sweets.
Milk masala powder, when added to milk, can be had at any time of the day. When taken in the morning it gives you nutrition and strength for the whole day. If taken at night, it induces good sleep and revitalises your body.
Milk masala is very similar to Thandai powder with the difference that Thandai powder is apt for summers as it helps you remain cool in the scorching heat and milk masala is apt for winters keeping your body warm.
Milk masala has spices like cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and dry ginger powder which gives sufficient warmth to the body.
Though called Milk masala, it can be easily added to sweets like Rasmalai, kheer, kulfi, halwa etc. It gives instant aroma and flavour when added to milk or to any of the sweets.
Milk masala has enormous health benefits. Lets quickly have a look at in what ways we are benefitted by it…so that next time when we drink it we enjoy it all the more.
Almonds: the best tonic for brain and heart and also known for its antioxidant properties. It is always recommended to have few almonds daily.
Saffron: the Divine spice, that not only imparts lovely colour but also prevents from arthritis and cancer and also improves vision.
Peppercorns: the king of spices, is an antibacterial and rich source of iron, potassium, Vitamins and Dietary Fiber.
Dry Ginger Powder (Saunth): Highly aromatic, when added to warm milk or tea gives relief from cold, acidity indigestion and viral fever. Read more here...
Cinnamon: one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet.It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors, and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits. To know more read here.
Cashews and Pistachios being warm are always a big yes in winters.
I am sure, now you are even more tempted to have it.
I have taken almonds, cashews and pistachios in equal measure, you can adjust as per your liking. Similarly, you are free to adjust the quantity of spices. You can add turmeric powder also to this masala powder, not only for the colour but because of its immense benefits. I have not added as I want to use this powder for adding to sweets also and there the taste and colour of turmeric may not be compatible. However, I add turmeric powder directly while making milk.
Here we will be grinding almonds and cashews separately for the simple reason that the former takes longer to grind whereas cashews are powdered easily and quickly.
Very important thing and that is that please take the nuts at room temperature. In case, you store these in the refrigerator then take out at least an hour before making this powder.
One more thing I would like to mention here and that is that always grind nuts by pulsing them. If ground constantly then nuts release their oil and instead of dry powder you end up getting a moist powder, which can neither be stored for long nor does it mixes properly with milk etc. What is Pulse? Pulse is a button/knob on mixer grinders which stops grinding the moment you release the button. When you press the pulse button the blender or food processor will work at its fastest speed, but it will stop when you release the button. The difference with the other speeds or functions is that the blender or food processor stops when you release the button. You can read more about pulsing here.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: Nil
Yields: 100 g
2 Tbsp (40 g) Almonds
2 Tbsp (30 g) Cashews
2 Tbsp (20 g) Pistachios, unsalted
2 Tsp (10 g) Peppercorns (Kali Mirch)
15-16 (10 gms) Green Cardamom (chhoti elaichi)
1 Tsp Nutmeg Powder (Jaifal)
2 Tsp Dry Ginger Powder (Saunth)
1 Tsp Cinnamon Powder (Dalchini)
Few strands Saffron
- Heat a pan and lightly dry roast almonds, cashews and pistachios. Though you can use the nuts without roasting also but roasting augments their flavour.
- Grind almonds into a fine powder. For grinding almonds, use the ‘pulse’ key 4 to 5 times and not the regular method.’This is because if run the usual way then almonds release oil and the powder becomes little mushy instead of being totally dry.
- Now grind cashews, pistachios, cardamom, saffron and peppercorns into a fine powder. Again run the mixer on pulse mode only for 3 to 4 times, at short intervals only as the jar will become very hot while grinding these hot spices.
- In a bowl take powdered almonds, cashews-pistachio-cardamom-saffron-peppercorn powder, dry ginger powder, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder. Mix everything nicely and store in an airtight container.
- Use as follows:
While making milk, heat milk. Add a teaspoon of the milk masala powder and honey. Top with Cardamom powder (optional), slivered almonds and serve.
Serve it in clay pot, if possible.
Sprinkle Milk masala powder on kheer, halwa etc in the last.
Detailed Recipe With Pics
Lightly roast almonds. Grind using pulse button when completely cool.
Lightly roast cashews and pistachios.
Grind cashews, pistachios, peppercorns, cardamom, saffron again using pulse mode.
In a bowl, take the almond powder, cashews mix, cinnamon, dry ginger powder and mix nicely.
Store in an airtight container. Use as and when required.
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