I remember that my uncle and aunt in Jakarta made their own jamu. They had a large clientele who would come to their house and pick up their order of special Jamu.
Jamu is a traditional Indonesian herbal medicine that has been used for centuries to promote health and well-being. It is made from a variety of natural ingredients, such as roots, leaves, bark, and fruits, that are mixed together in specific combinations to create remedies for different ailments.
There are many different types of jamu, each with its own unique properties and uses. Some of the most popular types include:
- Jamu Gendong: This is a type of jamu that is traditionally sold by women who carry it around in a basket, or “gendong,” and dispense it to customers on the street. It is usually made from a mixture of ginger, turmeric, and other herbs, and is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Jamu Beras Kencur: This is a type of jamu that is made from rice and kencur (a type of ginger), and is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Jamu Pegel Linu: This is a type of jamu that is made from a mixture of various herbs and is believed to help with joint pain and stiffness.
- Jamu Tawon: This is a jamu made from honeybee venom and believed to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.’
- Jamu Kunyit (Kunir) Asam: This is a type of jamu made from turmeric and tamarind and is believed to have detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also said to be good for the skin and can help reduce symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions. In addition, it helps reduce menstrual cramps, eliminates body odor, and controls weight.
It is important to note that while jamu is considered safe and has been traditionally used for centuries, it is not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before consuming it.
Another word for Kunyit is Kunir. Jamu Kunir Asam has a unique sweet and sour taste with a distinct turmeric flavor. The taste may take some getting used to, particularly for those who are not accustomed to herbal beverages. I often make it as a refreshing drink, by pouring it over ice and drinking it on a hot day.
Sultan Agung Wimbo shares his recipe for his jam-inspired drink: Kunir Asem Elixir. One of the top 7 beverages offered by the Good Vibes Society – the name of his company based in Southern California.
Listen to our podcast The Rice Table – where he shares his story. LINK.
PREP TIME 20 MINS
TOTAL TIME 20 MINS
SERVINGS 4 CUPS
0.5x turmeric roots (or 2 tsp turmeric powder)
1x ginger roots
2x tamarind extract (or 100 gr seedless tamarind or juice of 2 limes)
5 cups water
50 gr palm sugar (or more to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon powder
4 kaffir lime leaves or mint leaves
Wash the turmeric and ginger roots thoroughly and use a small brush to remove any dirt. There is no need to peel the skin unless desired.
Optional step: Blanch the turmeric roots by placing them in a saucepan and covering with water. Boil for 5 minutes, then discard the water. This helps to reduce the raw taste, but is not necessary.
If using seedless tamarind instead of ready-to-use tamarind extract:
Mix the tamarinds with 4-5 Tbsp of warm water and mash with a spoon.
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Strain the juice through a sieve and discard the solid. Transfer to a glass jar or bottles.
Jamu is traditionally served warm in Indonesia, so you can heat it up briefly in the microwave or in a saucepan before consuming. If you prefer it chilled, refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
Recipe provided by Sultan Agung Wimbo.