Welcome to the next installment of my Meet the Spice Blend series, where I'm sharing the inspiration for, back stories of, and uses for my ever-expanding collection of small batch, handcrafted spice blends. Next up, let's meet Tropical Sunshine (formerly known as Toasted Coconut Turmeric Blend)!!
The Inspiration - Golden Milk
Golden milk, commonly known as "haldi doodh" in Hindi, is a traditional Indian drink made from milk infused with turmeric (haldi) and often accompanied by other spices such as black pepper, ginger, and cardamom. This warm, yellow-hued beverage has deep roots in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient holistic healing system from India, where it has been consumed for its purported anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and rejuvenating properties for thousands of years. Beyond its medicinal values, golden milk holds a special place in the cultural tapestry of the Indian subcontinent. It is often given to those feeling under the weather, as a bedtime drink, or even to the injured as a natural remedy to speed up the healing process. In recent years, with the global popularization of turmeric's health benefits, golden milk has transcended its native borders and has been embraced worldwide as a trendy "superfood" beverage. Through this, it not only introduces people to the rich tapestry of Indian culinary traditions but also showcases the timeless wisdom of Ayurvedic practices in contemporary wellness routines.
I am an expert on neither Ayurvedic practices nor nutrition, but I do know that I love a comforting mug of golden milk at the end of the day (although I use a plant-based milk substitute because we never have milk in the house), and it only made sense to me that such delicious flavors could work in all kinds of other culinary creations. And so Tropical Sunshine was born.
Flavor Profile - Tropical Sunshine
Tropical Sunshine is a small-batch spice blend that encapsulates the essence of golden milk with a delightful twist. Taking inspiration from the traditional beverage, this concoction elevates the experience by introducing the lush, island flavors of toasted coconut, which gives it a subtle, sweet undertone reminiscent of a tropical paradise. Ginger and turmeric, both central to many Asian cuisines and known for their therapeutic properties, provide a spicy warmth. Ceylon cinnamon lends a delicate aromatic sweetness that harmoniously melds with the rich, exotic notes of ground vanilla powder. Cardamom adds its unique citrusy and floral touch, while nutmeg imparts a gentle woodsy flavor. The blend is rounded off with a hint of black pepper, not just for its spicy kick, but also to enhance the absorption of turmeric's active compound, curcumin. Tropical Sunshine is not merely a spice blend; it's an evocative experience that whisks you away on a sensory journey to sun-kissed shores.
Versatility in the Kitchen - Tropical Sunshine
Tropical Sunshine's versatile blend of spices lends itself beautifully to a range of culinary applications. Here are some suggestions to infuse its tropical warmth into your dishes:
1. Warm Beverage: Steep a teaspoon of Tropical Sunshine in hot milk (or any plant-based alternative) for a tropical take on golden milk. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup if desired.
2. Smoothie Booster: Add a pinch of Tropical Sunshine to your morning smoothie. The mix of spices can particularly complement a banana, mango, or pineapple-based smoothie.
3. Baking: Incorporate Tropical Sunshine into muffins, pancakes, or waffles for a tropical-spiced flavor. Think coconut-turmeric muffins or vanilla-cardamom pancakes.
4. Oatmeal or Porridge: Sprinkle some Tropical Sunshine into your morning oats or any grain-based porridge. Pair with fresh fruits like mango or banana and a drizzle of honey.
5. Rice Dishes: Mix Tropical Sunshine into coconut rice or sprinkle over jasmine rice for a subtle hint of warmth and aroma.
6. Desserts: Infuse Tropical Sunshine into your puddings, custards, or even ice creams. A coconut-turmeric panna cotta or vanilla and spice-infused creme brûlée can be delightful.
7. Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favorite vegetables in olive oil, a sprinkle of Tropical Sunshine, and roast them. The flavors pair exceptionally well with root vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes.
8. Marinades: Use Tropical Sunshine as a base for marinades, especially for poultry or fish. The tropical notes can complement grilled or baked dishes remarkably.
9. Soups and Curries: Add a dash of Tropical Sunshine to coconut-based soups or broths for an extra layer of complexity.
10. Tropical Sunshine Butter: Mix Tropical Sunshine into softened butter, creating a spiced butter perfect for spreading on toast, muffins, or using in cooking.
11. Yogurt or Ice Cream Topping: Mix a bit of Tropical Sunshine with some granola and sprinkle over your yogurt or ice cream for a sweet and spicy crunch.
With its evocative mix of flavors, Tropical Sunshine can be your secret weapon to transport regular dishes into the realm of the exotic. Experiment and let the blend inspire creativity in your kitchen!
A Bite of Good Recipes that use Tropical Sunshine
Looking for some more concrete guidance on how to use Tropical Sunshine? Check out these A Bite of Good recipes!
Toasted Coconut Turmeric Grilled Chicken Wings - The chicken wing recipe that made me LOVE chicken wings...
Weeknight Coconut Curry Noodle Soup - I'm a sucker for a good noodle soup. This one takes things up a notch with a dreamy broth and delectable turkey meatballs.
Tropical Turmeric Granola - Make a big batch of this tasty granola for easy breakfasts, snacks, and even desserts.
Sunshine Peach Pie - One of my favorite ways to use up some of those late Summer peaches before they're gone.
Sunshine Smoothie - A busy morning's best friend.
Golden Oatmeal Mix - Make a big batch of this gorgeous oatmeal mix for busy weekday mornings or even camping trips.
Ready to get your own Tropical Sunshine? Get it here.