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Soothing . . . Turmeric coffee – comfort in a cup. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

has long been considered a star of Asian cuisine, particularly in savoury dishes.

Now the versatile spice widely acknowledged for its medicinal and comforting health-giving qualities is becoming popular served in a latte, a drink made with warm milk in cafes and restaurants.

Mike Maguire, head chef and co-owner of Rangiora’s award-winning Station Cafe and Restaurant says organic turmeric lattes are a new option on their menu.

“We use turmeric in our cooking and heard turmeric lattes were good for you, so we thought we would give them a try.”

Turmeric is one of the new super foods, he says. Celebrity chef and healthy eating advocate Nadia Lim calls turmeric “a rock star ingredient” and she is a big fan of turmeric lattes.

“It is a really nice alternative to having a normal latte or coffee.

But a turmeric latte is actually really good for you, turmeric being a great anti-inflammatory and it is full of anti-oxidants as well, and I reckon if you have one of these every morning you will probably avoid getting a cold or the flu,” she says on her You Tube video showing how to make them.

Rachel Kelly, author of a new book “The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food”, with nutritional therapist Alice Makintosh, is also a fan of turmeric, calling it one of her happiness foods.

While Kiwis are just starting to catch on to the comforting, health-giving qualities of turmeric lattes, Fernside artist Padi Nistala-James, who was born in India, says haldi doodh (turmeric milk, in the Hindi language) is a traditional Indian beverage served in small terracotta pots and recommended as a soporific night cap.

“It is an amazingly soothing drink,” she says. It is a traditional drink in Padi’s family. She remembers her grandmother making it when she was a child and now makes it herself by heating fresh raw milk, adding freshly grated turmeric and honey to taste with a pinch of freshly ground pepper to add a touch of heat.