I’m living in a country whose nature is fulfilled with beneficial resources. Here in Indonesia, the elders were used to cure their disease by drinking brewed herbs and their recipes are still used from generation to generation. It’s common in our families to have comfy hot spiced drinks contain ginger, curcuma, or turmeric to overcome minor diseases such as influenza or cold.
One of the classic comfort beverages is Bandrek. Bandrek is known as West Java origin, particularly on the highlands. Containing ginger, this beverage were created by the Sundanese (the West Java natives) to cope the cold weather or to prevent the seasonal sickness. In addition, some other spices such as star anise, chili pepper, or white peppercorns; are sometimes also putted in to give extra spicy taste. On its development, the liquid used for the main ingredients are also improving; from water to milk, tea, coffee, or even chocolate milk.
The main spice for bandrek, ginger, is varying in kinds. Indonesia has three well known type of ginger that differs in size and colors; the yellowish rhizome that has smaller fingers (known as jahe emprit or small ginger), the usual internationally known ginger that has bigger fingers in white-yellowish color (known as jahe gajah or elephant ginger due to its size), and the pinky tiny ginger (known as jahe merah or red ginger).
|In clockwise order from upper left: jahe emprit, jahe gajah, and jahe merah (image source: 1, 2, 3)|
One point that is better be highlighted is the smaller the size, the spicier it will be, as the percentage of essential oil to the rhizome mass is higher. The tendency to use specific kind of ginger will be depended on the recipe purpose. Actually for Bandrek or any hot beverages, it’s preferable to use the spicier; jahe merah or jahe emprit, yet, they both actually are hard to find in the nearby market, so I then decided to use the common ginger and added an extra grinded of it for this recipe.
Anyway, about this recipe, I opted to have milk as additional liquid to make it taste creamier. If you’re not fancy milk, you may substitute it with coffee, tea, or just mineral water.
Bandrek Susu (Milk Bandrek)
Yield: 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 m
Total time: 45 m
- 500 ml milk
- 500 ml water
- 6 cm ginger
- 2 pandan leaves (screw pine), cleaned (or substituted with 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 stick lemongrass, cleaned and crushed
- 2 tsp white peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom seeds, grinded
- 5 cloves
- ½ c crushed gula jawa (palm sugar or brown sugar are allowed as substitute)
- ¼ tsp salt
- Divide ginger to two same sizes. Peel and roast ginger over stove flame.
- Grate the first 3 cm of ginger, set aside. Slice the second half, crush every slice.
- In sauce pan, warm milk and water on low heat, add gula jawa and pandan, stir constantly until gula jawa dissolved.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir occasionally until it’s boiled
- Pass the liquid through strainer, remove the spices