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Jamu Juice: A Recipe Guide To The Indonesian Wellness Drink

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Jamu

One of the stereotypical "problems" of being a Libra is that we can't make decisions. It's true that I can be somewhat indecisive when it comes to food or beverage.

Our Favorite Jamu Variations

You know that friend that always asks the waiter for their recommendation between 2 completely different types of food on a menu, makes a choice, and then changes their mind again 3 seconds later after the table order has been recapped? ...That's me!

Needless to say, with preparing every type of food at home these days, my refrigerator just doesn't have the real estate to serve as my multi-option healthy beverage vending machine (I wish), so I've devised a workaround. 

I was chatting with a friend, Vannessa Ong, one of the 4th generation Jamu families in Indonesia, about an Indonesian Jamu juice recipe she developed and has served as an all-around health booster.

See Related: 3 Wellness Rituals That Will Change Your Life

Jamu taste find fresh turmeric traditional medicine

Jamu is a traditional Indonesian drink that can boost the immune system like a tonic while using natural ingredients such as fresh turmeric and ginger, black pepper, lime juice, tamarind paste, and lemon juice, depending on the Jamu recipe you use.

But my friend's was a simple 3-ingredient turmeric Jamu recipe. Unfortunately, 2 out of the 3 ingredients - Temulawak, a cousin of the Tumeric plant, and palm sugar - were rather hard to source in the US.

So I made my own version of Bali and Indonesian Jamu and tonic that's friendly to US shoppers and can be stored for up to a week in the fridge. I highly recommend this Jamu juice recipe if you’re new to Jamu but want something fun, flexible, and easy to make. 

I created this palate-friendly turmeric Jamu as a concentrate - with simple ingredients that can be the base of multiple drinks - from a latte to a summer spritzer.

Coconut water recipes blend herbs

The key to optimizing flavors is the proportion of the ingredients to one another. When dealing with spices and herbs, it's much more about balancing the flavor nuances than about wondering whether the ingredient is good for you.

Because most likely, they already are.

You can't afford to add fillers in a 3-ingredient recipe. But with this Jamu recipe below , you can play with your own sweetness level preferences. Make, store, and enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits you can derive from this drink Jamu!

Ginger-Turmeric Jamu Concentrate: 

I made a jar of this concentrate, kept it in my refrigerator in a small glass bottle, and just really enjoyed the variety of drinks I could make with it. 

Spice chilled heat medicine roots treat

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 15-25 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups-5 cups Water
  • 1 cup Ginger Powder
  • 1/3 cup Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (helps make the active curcumin in Turmeric more bioavailable)
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar (if you are near an Asian market), or coconut sugar. 

Add-ons if desired:

Other Jamu recipes that are indigenous to Indonesia call for these ingredients. But you are free to choose what you add and what you don't. In fact, let me know which combinations you like the most!

  • Honey
  • Lime
  • Tamarind
  • Lemon

Bali healing liquid freeze sweetened fruits liquid

Directions: 

Make Jamu juice concentrate by boiling 4 cups water in a small saucepan, and add the fresh ground turmeric and ginger powders together. Keep at a simmer or low boil and stir slowly until the turmeric ginger powder expands, which should be about 5-10 minutes.

You will see the fresh turmeric ginger mixture thicken as the ingredients slowly cook. Add the sugar and pepper and stir for an additional minute or two, or until the sugar dissolves.

The mixture should taste very earthy, spicy, and grassy , with a mild sweetness to round out the flavor and take off the “edge” of the spices. Let the mixture cool and store it in a covered jar in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

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Making a Ginger-Turmeric Latte

Smoothies morning

Mix 1 cup of milk (dairy, soy, oat, almond, nut milk bag, etc.) and 3 tablespoons of the fresh ginger root and fresh turmeric root concentrate in a blender until smooth. Pour into a 4-cup glass and drink in these herbs, hot or cold.

Add a little sweetener such as agave or honey if desired. And if it's too sweet, try adding a little bit of black pepper or tamarind.

Making a Ginger Hot Chocolate

Drinking pulp

Mix milk together with a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa and honey if desired along with the turmeric and ginger concentrate in a blender until smooth. Pour into a glass and heat up, adding additional honey to the recipe if needed. Drink up this tonic!

The chocolate and ginger mask the grassiness of the turmeric and you’ll experience a delicious anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-filled Jamu juice beverage that tastes like an exotically indulgent hot cocoa all the way from Bali or Indonesia.

Making a Ginger-Turmeric Tea

Pulp rice

Mix 1 tablespoon of the concentrate with a cup full of hot water. Stir into the glass you drink from or mix in a blender for a smoother finish.

Add additional honey to the recipe if needed. Or, add lime or tamarind for a tangy kick that will also help you get rid of some extra body fat.

Making a Cranberry Ginger Spritzer

Cooked drink

Add 1 tablespoon of the concentrate to an equal parts mix of cranberry juice and seltzer. Mix in the blender and adjust the proportions to taste.

Add ice to keep it cold, a little bit of lime juice or tamarind to make it more spritz-like, and enjoy your very own Jamu spritzer!

As for the ingredients themselves: 

Jamu recipes

Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger root helps digestion, reduces nausea, and contains gingerol which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Fresh ginger is energizing and calming without being a sedative (So it's great before bed to warm and relax, or if you're feeling lethargic - odd combo but true.) 

Turmeric ingredient

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Traditional turmeric Jamu from Indonesia is perfect for flu season, helps with overall blood health, and contains curcumin, which is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which can help ease joint pain, soothe nerves, and lower anxiety. It may even lower the chance of heart disease and eliminate body fat due to its anti-carcinogenic effects.

Palm sugar

Health Benefits of Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is an unrefined sugar native to Bali with a lower GI (Glycemic Index) than white or brown sugar. It has a delicious, natural caramel flavor and contains minerals and vitamins including Vitamin B. 

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