Beras Kencur: An Easy Jamu Recipe Your Kids Will Enjoy

I think by now my kids, (at least my 2 older ones) have figured out that Mommy’s daytime pre-occupation, JUARA, has something to do with healthy skin, funny-looking ingredients and mysterious herbal elixirs (a.k.a. Jamu).

Jamu is Indonesia’s system of traditional herbal medicine using natural roots, flowers, leaves and seeds, for both prevention as well as treatment of a variety of ailments.  Jamu is said to have originated 1300 years ago at the Javanese Royal Courts, but it is still practiced today and is widely available in all of Indonesia.  Ingredients frequently used in Jamu include Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon and Tamarind.Hello

While my kids have largely resisted most of my home-made Jamu concoctions, despite my many promises that these drinks will give them superhero powers, I have finally found one easy recipe, “Beras Kencur,” that was actually quite a hit with the kids.  Beras Kencur, made of Galangal (aromatic ginger), Cinnamon and Rice is a popular JAMU drink and natural remedy for a variety of common ailments, including lack of energy and a cold or cough.  Interestingly, it is also known to stimulate appetite in children so that they actually eat well during meal times (as opposed to the chronic snacking that happens as a result of not eating enough during the regular meals).

I have adapted and simplified the traditional Beras Kencur recipe to include ingredients that are available at any regular grocery store in the US:  Rice, regular Ginger (instead of Galangal, a.k.a. aromatic ginger), Cinnamon sticks and Coconut Sugar or Honey.  For an added yumminess-factor, traditional Beras Kencur is often flavored with Pandan Leaf, which gives it a sugar-cookie aroma but since Pandan Leaf is hard to find, even in NYC, I use good old Vanilla extract.

My kids love anything and everything that has to do with the holiday season so when I heard “tastes like Gingerbread Cookies”, I knew I had a winner.

How to Make Easy Beras Kencur:

  1. Boil 1 tablespoon of rice flour (in a pinch, you can also use left-over plain, steamed rice), a cinnamon stick, a few slices of fresh ginger and a couple of drops of vanilla extract in 3 cups of water for about 20 minutes.
  2. Strain.
  3. Let cool for 20 minutes.  Add Coconut sugar to taste.  Serve warm or chilled

Have you ever tried the original Beras Kencur in Indonesia? Let us know what you think and how this modification works for you!