Indulge in the simplicity and warmth of Masala Doodh, a beloved Indian beverage made by infusing warm milk with the Doodh Masala, a classic spice blend incorporating fragrant spices like cardamom, nutmeg, saffron, and a medley of nuts like almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
You can make larger batch of the masala and also control the amount of sweetness or use any type of milk that suits your dietary preferences.
Perfect as a light and wholesome dessert or simply as a comforting cup of warm milk to nourish your soul!
Indian cuisine boasts a variety of milk-based warm beverages. There’s the widely popular doodh patti chai (tea brewed in milk), and then, of course, there’s Nescafe (a milky coffee synonymous with the brand name for instant coffee). There is haldi doodh (which has gained worldwide popularity in recent years as turmeric latte), an ancient Indian remedy, and finally, there’s Masala Doodh (Warm Spiced Milk). It is not only a favorite drink for many but also a beloved Indian dessert, especially enjoyed during Kojagiri Pornima festivities, a tradition I grew up with.
Kojagiri Pournima brings back sweet memories from my childhood days. While I wasn’t deeply immersed in the religious significance of this day, I always looked forward to the little gift I received each year. As the eldest of three siblings, I was honored on this day for being the eldest child in the family. Even today, I cherish the tradition, receiving a thoughtful phone call from my mom. Now, I carry on the tradition by giving a small gift to my little girl.
This day also evokes memories of the good old times with my friends from Prabhat Road, Lane no. 9! Our neighborhood in Pune would gather on our bungalow’s terrace to celebrate the full moon night, playing games and singing ‘antakshari’ songs under the moonlight. Sometimes, we kids would put on a dance number or a skit to entertain everyone. Following the entertainment, we’d enjoy a potluck dinner, culminating with the special dessert drink… the Masala Doodh.
The Doodh Masala
The Masala Doodh is made by boiling milk with sugar and a special masala , composed of nuts and spices. This unique blend of spices, often referred to as ‘Doodh Masala,’ made by incorporating fragrant spices like cardamom, nutmeg, saffron, and a medley of nuts like almonds, cashews, and pistachios. When mixed in with warm milk, it infuses the milk with its rich flavors and aromatic undertones. It not only adds depth and warmth to the beverage but also holds a cherished place in Indian culinary traditions.
When I was studying at Rutgers, my dear friend Rupa, who was also my roommate at the time, showed me how to craft this masala at home. Unable to find the pre-packaged version in Indian stores, we embarked on a culinary journey to create our own signature blend. Since then, I’ve always made a small batch of the classic spice mix whenever I crave Masala Doodh. Over time, I’ve experimented with various milk alternatives like almond, soy, or coconut milk. Additionally, I tend to use less sugar as I prefer my drinks to be less sweet, but you can control the amount of sugar or use a sweetener of choice to suit your dietary needs.
8–10 green cardamom seeds, coarsely crushed (see FAQs & Notes)
quartered piece of nutmeg, grated (see FAQs & Notes)
1/2 tsp saffron strands
For Masala Doodh (Warm Spiced Milk)
2cups milk of choice
sweetener of choice, to taste
3–4 saffron strands, for garnishing
Combine all the ingredients for the Doodh Masala in a coffee or spice grinder and grind to a coarse-fine powder.
In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
Add the sweetener and along with all of the prepared Doodh Masala.
Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, ensuring the milk doesn’t boil over the pan.
Take the pan off the heat and let it sit for about 5 mins, so that the masala get a chance to infuse the milk and lend it a golden yellow color from the saffron.
Pour in individual glasses/cups (straining is optional and strongly discouraged).
Garnish with saffron strands and serve warm.
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Recipe FAQ’s and Notes
Can I make a larger batch of the masala and save for another time?
Absolutely! Double or triple my masala recipe and store it in an airtight jar away from direct sunlight. The masala will stay fresh for about a month. To extend its life, you can refrigerate it for up to 6 months.
Can't find blanched slivered almonds?
You can use raw sliced or whole blanched almonds. Alternatively, use blanched almond flour if you have it handy.
What are cashew pieces?
My grocery store sells broken raw cashew pieces for baking or cooking purposes that I use in this recipe. You can always use whole raw cashews and chop them slightly to help the spice grinder.
Don't have whole cardamom pods?
Use ½ tsp ground cardamom instead!
Ground nutmeg instead of whole?
Absolutely! Use ½ tsp ground nutmeg.
Stir in ¼- ½ tsp of turmeric along with the Doodh Masala in the milk for a vibrant golden color and added health benefits.
If you’re feeling lazy to make your own Doodh Masala, you can absolutely buy the readymade one. Its available on Amazon!
Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.