Jamu is the traditional Indonesian medicine that utilizes natural ingredients like roots, herbs, and spices.
It has been practiced in Indonesia for centuries to maintain good health and to treat ailments. While there are hundreds of combinations, this version is made with fresh turmeric, ginger, lime and honey.
Where I Learned About Jamu
As a visitor to Bali, Indonesia, I experienced Jamu in a number of ways but this bright orange, turmeric-based Jamu seemed to be the most common.
I saw it in the markets, at restaurants, and hotels. I had the pleasure of staying at family-owned accommodations where they offered cooking classes and tutorials on various Indonesian ingredients. That’s where I learned more about this deliciously revitalizing drink.
As I traveled throughout Bali for the next six weeks or so, I couldn’t get enough of this drink and couldn’t wait to get home and recreate it. Whether you drink it for the health benefits or the zingy, refreshing taste, you’ll always want to keep a batch on hand.
How to Make Jamu
Boil fresh turmeric and ginger in water to enhance the extraction, then add the lime juice and honey before straining and chilling. I love the assertive flavor in this recipe, but you can also treat it as a concentrate and dilute it with additional water to your liking.
- It’ll last up to a week in the fridge.
- While this drink is typically served cold, you can sip on it as a hot tea as well.
What does Jamu Taste Like?
The flavor of this Jamu recipe is deliciously potent. The turmeric lends its pungent earthiness, ginger its spice, lime juice adds a bit of tartness, and the honey rounds it out with a touch of sweetness.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a root in the ginger family originally from South Asia. Under its thin brown skin, turmeric is a bright orange-yellow. It’s this color that makes turmeric responsible for curry powder’s signature hue. And it stains! So, take care as you handle it.
Turmeric is lauded for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, among other health benefits, thanks to a chemical compound it contains, called curcumin.
Studies have shown that you can increase the absorption of this compound with the addition of black pepper, which is why you often see them together. Feel free to add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper to your jamu!
- You can find fresh turmeric in the produce section of the grocery store or any Asian, Indian or health food store.
- Store turmeric in your refrigerator for a couple weeks or in your freezer for several months.
- When using fresh turmeric first scrub away any dirt. The skin is not typically eaten and can be scraped off with a paring knife or a spoon. If you’re straining it out, as in this recipe, peeling it first is not necessary.
Swaps and Substitutions
If you don’t have honey, or want to make the Jamu vegan, use agave, maple syrup or other sweetener of your choice. No lime? Lemon will work just as well.
More Delicious Drink Recipes!
- Coconut Golden Milk
- Winter Spiced Orange Mocktail
- How to Make Ginger Switchel
- Pear-Ginger Shrub
- Earl Grey Tea and Tonic
- Homemade Ginger Ale
Jamu (Indonesian Turmeric Ginger Drink)
- 1 cup cleaned and chopped fresh turmeric
- 1/2 cup cleaned and chopped fresh ginger
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, from 2-3 limes
Blend the turmeric and ginger
Into a blender add the turmeric, ginger, and water. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan set over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the mixture simmers for about 15 minutes.
Add lime juice and honey
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the honey and lime juice. Stir to combine.
Strain and refrigerate the mixture
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Then pour the strained mixture into a glass bottle or jar and refrigerate until chilled.
Enjoy this drink warm, at room temperature or cold. You can adjust the drink by adding additional still or tonic water. Serve with or without ice.