Saturday 21 July 2007

jamu kunyit

This post contains a recipe for a Balinese health drink, but before I get to that I thought I’d share some photos from our honeymoon in Bali (wedding photos here for those interested).

If you want to skip straight to the jamu, just scroll down to the bottom of this post. You can't miss the bright orange liquid!


This first photo, up above, is Jonas walking along a rice field at Yeh Pulu near Ubud.

Pura Dalem Agung - a holy temple in the Monkey Forest of Ubud.

This is Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) which was carved in the 11th century. During religious holidays the Balinese visit and make offerings.

Next to the Elephant Cave were these fountains of fresh water for bathing. The Balinese use the many fresh water pools and ponds to wash their clothes, do their cooking and clean themselves, but I suspect these baths spout holy water and are used for rituals since they were within the temple complex.

The spectacular rice terraces of Jatiluwih which means "truly wonderful". A farmer prepares the rice fields for planting.

In Hindu lore, Kumbakarna was said to be a giant and helped his evil brother Ravana, the demon king, to kidnap Sita then fight the god Rama and the monkey general Hanuman. Here he is fighting Hanuman's monkey soldiers.

In the village of Tapaksiring is Gunung Kawi, a series of rock cut candi (shrines) built in the 11th century. It's said to be Bali's oldest and largest monument. Each candi is said to represent various 11th century Balinese royals.

This old lady looks after this statue of Ganesh and encourages people to make offerings (ie give her cash). She flicked a lot of holy water on Jonas and I and said her only two words in English "mamma and pappa". I could tell she was a cheeky old bird!

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan - which translates to the temple at the end of lake Bratan.

The Balinese are Hindu and we happened to arrive during one of their most important religious festivals - Galungan - a time when the gods visit earth. There were a lot of ceremonies and religious procession and here you can see the Barong (a lion and dog hybrid) which is accompanied by drums and dances around like a Chinese dragon.

It's very interesting that the Balinese have no qualms about presenting statues of scary demons alongside those of friendly elephants or happy monkeys. There was something extra sinister about this lashing tongue and the terrified woman in the demon’s arms.

Pura Batu Bolong - the temple of the hole in the rock

This was our very first hotel. Barong Resort in Ubud. We had our own gorgeous courtyard and pool and they decorated our room with honeymoon flowers. Check out that massive bathtub filled with flowers!!!

And this was our second hotel, Sesari Bali in Seminyak. We had huge outdoor living spaces, a 3x7 metre pool and even an outdoor bathroom with massive tub and two showers.

Hope you enjoyed the holiday slide show ;)

Other Bali honeymoon related posts are:
Balinese cooking class
Dining out in Bali
Sirsak - soursop fruit
Salak - snakefruit

Now, onto my Weekend Herb Blogging.

Jamu Kunyit

I am glad I uploaded almost all of this post on Monday, since I have been seriously ill for the past few days. Jonas and I both caught a killer flu which we still haven’t shaken even after 5 full days in bed and we’ve been getting fevers of around 40’C (104’F)! Apparently it’s hitting the young and healthy the hardest since it preys on the body’s ability to protect itself so the stronger your immune system is the worse you get hit. Very scary.

So I’m glad that I only have to jot down a few sentences on top of notes and photos I’d already uploaded or otherwise I wouldn’t be joining in this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging. My ingredient this week, turmeric, is actually a rhizome rather than a herb, so I guess I’m cheating a bit.

Given my state of health at the moment though, it’s very apt that I’m presenting a jamu, a drink recommended by the Balinese cooking instructor at Casa Luna as a cure for almost any ailment.

Jamu basically means “tonic” or “cure-all” and is a system of local healings throughout Indonesia. It seems that most jamus are elixirs, but some can be body treatments such as creams or poultices.

In this jamu, fresh turmeric root is juiced then mixed with honey, lime juice and water to create a refreshing, earthy drink.

The brightly coloured turmeric stains your tongue but you can feel it seeping through your body doing good things to you. I only wish I could get my hands on the ingredients, but since both of us are sick we’re cooped up in our home relying on home delivery.

Jamu Kunyit

Anna’s version of a Balinese medicinal drink. Serves 1.

100g fresh turmeric root
100ml lime juice
1 ½ tablespoons honey

1. Juice turmeric.
2. Mix with honey and lime juice.
3. Top with water, mix and drink.

Turmeric is heavily used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, takes on similar effects as fluoride for teeth, heals psoriasis and joint inflammation, helps with digestive problems and more recently is being used to treat depression.

In the West they are realising that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can help all matter if ailments including pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer's and cystic fibrosis.

Tumeric is also used in the cosmetic industry in sunscreens, hair removal products and scar treatments.

It’s nice that this Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by The Chocolate Lady at In Mol Araan, because I imagine she’ll enjoy this Balinese tonic.



  1. Sounds like a strong remedy. Will have to keep it in mind when I next get hit with a bad cold.

    Hope you're feeling better soon!

  2. Get well soon Anna..And that was a very informative post...

  3. Very sorry to hear that you're both sick. Five days is a long time, and such a high fever! Very scary indeed. Hope you're much, much better soon.

    Loved seeing the photos of Bali. I had a friend who lived there a long time ago (when I was about your age, which was a *very* long time ago, lol). I've always regretted I didn't go see her.

    The drink sounds quite interesting. I've never seen fresh turmeric, but I've been reading about it recently.

  4. Love the photos! Really makes me want to visit Bali. Most of my in-laws have been and love it!

    I had no idea turmeric was so good for us - I think of it as something I put into pickles!

    Horrid being so sick, hope you are both seriously on the mend!

  5. Glad to hear that you are starting to feel better. I heard about the flu. My partner's sis was also knocked out for four days, and she still feels very tired after two weeks.

    Jamu - I have a jamu phobia. It reminds me too much of sick days when my grandma would try to make me drink jamu....

    p/s: whoooaaa....the massive bathtub filled with flowers looks amazing!

  6. I am sorry to feel you've been ill. Get better soon!

    Your pictures of Bali are wonderful!

  7. I hope you are feeling much better--I am sure that the Jamu Kunyit is helping. We don't see fresh tumeric too often, but I will be keeping an eye out for it now.

  8. how interesting that we both featured fresh tumeric for this round of WHB :) I have never made it into a tonic/drink and I will definitely give this a try as I have a weakened immune system :) hope you get better soon!

  9. Hi Anna, I just found your blog by way of Milk & Cookies. Love, Love, Love your blog and piccys! So sad you and Jonas are ailing and hope you are both better pronto. I'm in the U.S. and I'm at so I hope you visit. My blog is brand new - only 3 posts!

    I would love to email with you about your cool recipe organization before I get a ton of recipes in mine and have to redo them. I'm new to the blogosphere. TIA {hugs}!

  10. I do wish both you and Jonas a speedy recovery. The flu is so unpleasant, to say the least. Thanks for the beautiful photos; I enjoyed my virtual tour. Take care!

  11. What a fantastic post! Your photos are just stunning and unbelievably beautiful. I hope you get better soon :)

  12. that drink looks awesome. can't wait to add a little vodka and see how it tastes then...w

  13. I hated this jamu while I was a teenager, my mom used to ask me to drink this after my period. But now, I miss this jamu.

  14. Jamu, oh Jamu...
    I remember my mom used to have me drink this by force. Our nannies would hold my hand down while mom pinch my nose and have me gag it..After a few attempts, I start to like it, especially when it's warm.
    I have two picky little ones now, and there's no way I'm gonna do what mom used to do to me.
    However, I put them in the rice, add some sauted garlic and a pinch of salt, voila, both of them love the recipe without a fight from me.

  15. Anna, hope that you're feeling well. I know from experience that the drink is very helpful, and has practically gotten me back to health everytime I get sick, but watch out. There was a time when I drank a bit too much jamu, and it sorta left me with gas. XD
    happy travels!

  16. Jamu Kanyit, what a wonderful tonic.
    Don't kill it with vodka whatever you do - pointless waste of Jamu Gwen.

    Jamu Kunyit is a drink that is highly regarded in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine.
    turmeric is also a natural liver detoxifier and a kidney cleanser. It speeds metabolism and aids in weight management. Plus, it alleviates conditions of depression, psoriasis, damaged skin, arthritis, and more.

    Try adding ginger and tamarind as well to really boost its efficacy. A fresh raw egg yolk (chicken or duck egg) has been shown scientifically to enhance the bioavailability of the main ingredient, Curcumin, by many times due to its creating a fat soluble emulsion that enables Curcumin to be made bioavailable to cells throughout the body. Alternately, for those who may not be up to drinking raw egg yolk then mixing with Virgin Coconut Oil can improve the bio-availability, antioxidant and anticancer effect as well.

    Oh and Balinese - practice Civa-Buddhism a unique and extremely ancient combination of Hindu and Buddhist teachings. Practices found now where else in the world. Many Indian Hindu's are amazed to discover practices and teachings they thought lost to Hindu practice still alive and thriving in Bali


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