Sunday, 9 June 2013

Easy South Indian Milk Coffee

This milky coffee is more of an elixir than most other coffees, and this ridiculously easy recipe belongs in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not category.  While there are complex methods of making this beverage, this one sidesteps what you’d think of as common sense, and yet it produces wonders.

In India we had this gorgeous beverage every morning, and always assumed someone in a back kitchen was squeezing boiling hot coffee through a cloth for twenty minutes, producing the complicated version of South Indian milk coffee.  But one morning, it was delivered to our table as a jug of hot milk, and several packets of Nescafe.  Of course, as North Americans we were appalled, until we stirred the powder into the milk, and realized this was what we’d been drinking all along.

The adults in our family slunk into Indian grocery stores on secret missions, buying jars of what we assumed was an infinitely better version of Nescafe, and stashed them in our suitcases to bring home.  Once home we discovered we’d brought back a great deal of Nescafe, as we had each been so clandestine about our behavior.  But we were met with disaster.  It tasted just as dreadful as ever, and we wondered why it was no longer a delicious elixir.  And then I cracked the code: ignore the directions on the jar.  Do this instead: 

For each cup of milk coffee, use a tablespoon (heaping if you like it really strong) of Nescafe, and another teaspoon or more of sweetener.  I used jaggery, and was satisfied with a mildly sweet taste.  

Add about a quarter cup of whole milk and stir.  The granules will be almost but not quite fully dissolved.  Pop in the microwave, or use a small saucepan to heat.  Once heated, the granules will be fully dissolved.  Add the rest of the whole milk at this point, and heat the works.

When it’s piping hot, serve.  Oh gorgeousness.  This made such a wonderful breakfast with my leftover potato and paneer stuffed parathas from last night.  

Just to recap:

Not yet fully dissolved

  • 1 tablespoon (maybe heaping) Nescafe instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) sweetener  (Jaggery, sugar, or honey, or ahem, cough, cough, Nestle’s Quick)
  • 1 cup whole milk  (Don’t attempt this with non-fat or skimmed.  Only the full 3% will pull this off.)

Stir the coffee and sweetener with a small amount of milk.  Heat to dissolve.  Add rest of milk, heat and serve.

I haven't had coffee this good since I was in Portugal, drinking their 'galaos', a beverage I became literally addicted to.  Oh my.  Of course it's been thirty years, but I think this recipe has a similar taste.

Who would have thought a foodie would actually promote jarred instant coffee?  What taboos have you broken today?
Fully dissolved after heating

I couldn't bear the glum thought of regular coffee with my parathas this morning...