Java’s Jamu

One doesn’t need to travel to Indonesia to experience the wonders of Jamu. It is enough for you to know that Indonesia produces and exports 75% medicinal herbs in the world and it is the second after USA in number of Spa centers. The production of the first shampoos is traced back to Indonesia, which is also the home of the most luscious oils and body scrubs. Although Indonesia’s herbal medicine system is not as well recorded and widely used as the ones in China and India, its well endowed natural environment has encouraged its people to use herbal cures and remedies for generations.

The most known and widely used health elixir is Jamu- a life enhancing tonic that its said to cure illnesses, promote blood circulation, increase metabolism, relieve aches and pains, ease digestion, reduce inflammation and correct any type of malfunction.

The ingredients used to make Jamu are almost always different and depending on the symptoms that need to be treated and the taste of the person who makes the drink! As many as 150 ingredients can be used to make Jamu and today I have relied on the recipe from my Spa Style Asia guide, a present I received from the resort spa center during my stay at the Maldives. It is a recipe from the Alamkulkul Resort in Indonesia.

Finding the exotic ingredients was fairly easy because luckily I live in London. You can find most of the items in any Asian supermarket- I bought the fresh tamarind and pandan leaves at a supermarket in China town. If, however, there is no Asian community where you live you can order almost everything online!

It took me around 20 min to make Jamu and another 30 min too cool it in the fridge. I must be honest though and let you know that I didn’t particularly enjoy the taste of the turmeric in the drink- next time I will add cinnamon and some coconut milk to make it tastier. Nevertheless Indonesians swear by the health benefits so my verdict is: try it and see how you feel!

Enjoy

For 1 litre of Jamu

3 limes, sliced into pieces
100 g fresh tamarind, or tamarind paste
80 g freshly grated turmeric (I would use less, turmeric has quite a strong taste!)
2 tbsp honey
80 g palm sugar
1 pandan leaf

Add all ingredients in already boiling water and let them boil for another 10 min. Pass through a sift and refrigerate for another 30 min. Enjoy cold any time of the day!

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