Turmeric in Sweets? Try these Delicious Blueberry Peach Turmeric Muffins!

We all know Turmeric from Indian, Thai and Indonesian food.  It gives curry its yellow color and adds a slightly bitter, mustardy flavor. Turmeric is also one of the most important Indonesian Jamu ingredients with all kinds of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  But sweets?  Absolutely!  After playing around with various amounts of Turmeric and fruit combinations, I went bold – voila, curry colored muffins that are fluffy and aromatic with beautiful pops of purple color and juicy peach.

What’s key?  Use whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat flour to get a more delicate texture.  Buttermilk or Kefir ups the fluffiness factor.  Cinnamon and brown sugar adds depth while also balancing the assertiveness of Turmeric.  And lots of real butter….butter makes everything in life better… Enjoy for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1/4 Oat Bran

1/4 Flax Seeds

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

1 tbs+1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tbs Cinnamon

1/2 cup+1 tbs Brown Sugar

1/2 cup+ 1 tbs Butter, melted

2/3 cup Kefir or Buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Banana, ripe and mashed

1 cup Peaches, chopped (canned peaches ok)

1 cup Fresh Blueberries (frozen Blueberries seep too much juice and alter the curry color)

 

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tray with muffin liners.

With a hand mixer, combine brown sugar, butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add eggs and mix until smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, spices and salt.  Add the dry combination to the wet mixture while continuing to blend with hand mixer.  Once the mixture is smooth and fluffy, add mashed banana and mix well.  Put away hand mixer and carefully fold in chopped peaches and blueberries.  Fill muffin cups and bake 20 minutes.  Insert a toothpick into a muffin.  If there is no dough stuck to it when you pull it out, the muffins are done.

ENJOY!

Cleanse & Tone Correctly!

CLEANSING & TONING CORRECTLY: WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT & WHAT DO I LOOK FOR?

With all the focus on powerful serums, eye creams and masks, you may be putting little thought into your cleanser and toner – if you even use a toner at all.  The truth is, your skin depends on them to look and feel its best.  Everything else in your skincare regimen – serums, creams, masks – will work BETTER if Step 1 and 2 is done right.  So what to look for?

CLEANSING: KEEPING IT GENTLE IS KEY

Freeing your skin of dirt, pollutants and make-up is crucial because they can irritate skin and block other treatment products from being absorbed properly. At the same time, keeping it gentle is key because stripping can trigger irritation as well and make your skin overly sensitive to active treatment products.  Our ever-so-lightly foaming, sulfate-free Rice Facial Cleanser leaves skin feeling clean, ready for the next step, but also soft and supple thanks to a touch of nourishing Candlenut Oil.

Try the Rice Facial Cleanser – 4.5 oz, $29, All Skin Types

EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR TONER!

This is your chance to soothe, refresh, hydrate and balance skin’s pH.  Not all toners are created equal, though.  Avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol, and instead look for hydrating and antioxidant-rich, soothing ingredients.  Our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner, while oil-free and alcohol-free, quenches thirsty skin, soothes and smoothes with a combination of Hyaluronic Acid, Green, White & Black Teas, Rice Bran, and Tamarind Seed.  The result: Skin is saturated with vital hydration and stays soft, supple throughout the day.  You will notice the difference!

Try the Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner – 4.5 fl oz, $32, All Skin Types

 

CLEANSING TIP!
 Match Made In Cleansing Heaven:
Pair Our Rice Facial Cleanser With Your Favorite Cleansing Brush

Do you love the deep clean and face massage you get from your favorite electric cleansing brush?  Next time, pair it with our Rice Facial Cleanser! Since cleansing brushes provide a deeper and more thorough cleanse (including makeup removal,) it’s all the more important that you pair it with a gentle cleanser that won’t strip skin.  Refrain from using a scrub together with your brush and stick to no more than 2-3 times per week.

 

Turmeric? Tumeric? Turmer-what?

Turmeric.

We’ve been hearing about this super food for months, but what is it? A powder? A root? A magical health elixir?

Thankfully, the JUARA Turmeric Benefits Guide is here to answer all of your questions!

So, let’s start with the basics. What is turmeric?

Part of the ginger family, turmeric is a native plant to southeast India. Turmeric is most popularly used in two forms: raw and dried. Turmeric has been used for almost 1000 years in cuisine, medicine, makeup, skin care, and clothes dying.

What are the health benefits of turmeric?

When ingested, turmeric has historically been used to heal stomach and liver ailments. Turmeric powder concoctions have been used to bring down fevers. It can also be used as an anti-bacterial salve on open wounds. Those who consume turmeric on a regular basis report a reduction in arthritis pain, heartburn, sensitive stomachs, headaches, colds, and menstrual cramps. It may also help those with diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. How? New research showed that daily turmeric ingestion decreased DNA damage by half in a test of blood cells exposed to oxidation. (Percival SS et al. Bioavailability of herbs and spices in humans as determined by ex vivo inflammatory suppression and DNA strand breaks. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012; 31(4):288-94 in Greger M, Stone G. How Not to Die. Flatiron Books, New York 2015, p352.)

What can turmeric do for my skin?

Turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory and redness reducing properties, can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions including eczema, allergic hives, and even chicken pox! Turmeric is also a great treatment for acne, as it is both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory (not to mention anti-oxidant and anti-neoplastic) (Vaugh AR. et al. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systemic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Phytother Res. 2016 Aug;30(8):1243-64).

Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence.

. The JUARA Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask maximizes the healing properties of turmeric by combining it with kaolin clay!

Are there any side effects of ingesting or topically applying turmeric?

There are no known side effects for applying turmeric directly onto the skin. When ingesting turmeric, however, it is important to remember that turmeric is a blood thinner. Consuming turmeric daily makes it more difficult for your blood to clot, so lessen your turmeric intake if you take medicine that thins your blood, or speak to your doctor.

 

Do you still have questions about Turmeric and its uses? Leave a comment on our Facebook page!

5 Principles of an Effective Core Skincare Regimen

“Regimen” may sound restrictive and boring, but a consistent daily regimen is in fact your skin’s best friend.  Like with anything in life, a consistent regimen tells you over time what’s working and what needs change because it gives you a solid benchmark to start from.  In that way, it not only helps your skin, but it also helps you to get to know your skin better.  How to get started?

Select 4-5 products for daily use that provide a solid framework for your skin type and address your top concerns.  You can add extra treatment products, like masks or special items, once you feel comfortable with your core and confident that you will stick to it AM and PM.  Here are the key elements and principles in a great core:

1. Cleanse:  Gentle is King

A good cleanser removes dirt and make-up without stripping skin.  Feeling refreshed is good.  Feeling “squeaky clean” is overkill.  When you strip your skin of its own natural lipid barrier, it’s hard to add it back through product. With a good cleanser, your skin should still feel comfortable and not taught for a whole minute or so after cleansing and before applying a moisturizer.

2.  Tone: Focus on Hydration and Skin-Friendly Ingredients

All skin types, including oily skin, can get dehydrated.  Dehydration means that your skin is lacking water and can result in fine dry lines, irritation and redness.  Look for a toner with water-binding ingredients, like Hyaluronic Acid or Tamarind Seed Extract.  It will plump skin and keep it soft and supple while also making your moisturizer more productive.  Avoid irritating and drying ingredients like alcohol.

3.  Treat: Commit to an Antioxidant-Rich Serum

Antioxidants help prevent premature skin-aging and can even reverse existing signs of aging, such as dullness, lines and wrinkles, large pores and loss of firmness.  They also improve redness and other signs of stress.  Serums, which are highly concentrated formulations, are great ways to provide skin directly with an extra dose of antioxidants and nutrients.  What specific ingredients to look for?  Botanicals rich in antioxidants include Turmeric, Clove Flower, Indian Gooseberry, Tea Extracts, Goji Berry and Kombucha.

4.  Moisturize:  Enhance and Balance 

Whether you have dry or oily skin, the point is to help your skin reach and maintain a healthy balance.  If you are dry, choose a moisturizer that enhances and helps rebuild your skin’s own lipid barrier with ingredient that are rich in essential fatty acids, phyto-sterols and/ or ceramide (e.g. Candlenut Oil and Rice Bran Oil).  If you are oily, look for ingredients that help purify pores, reduce shine and balance sebum-production (e.g. Ginger, Cinnamon).

5.  Protect Daily

Whether you prefer a straight sun screen, a moisturizer or foundation with built-in protection, or a protective powder, consistency is key.  Look for a minimum of SPF15 for daily use and make sure it provides broad-spectrum (meaning UVB + UBA) protection.

Recipe Spotlight: Turmeric Eggs & Tamarind with Brussels Slaw

One of my favorite jamu (herbal tonics) from Indonesia is the Kunir Asem. It is a combination of Turmeric and Tamarind blended in a superjuice (as I like to call it) with water, lime, a pinch of salt and palm sugar (or agave/honey.) Together, turmeric and tamarind together have a positive effect on your digestive system and helps fight inflammation in your system. But sometimes I don’t feel like making up a beverage – it’s not so convenient, but I know what is – breakfast. And brunch. We all enjoy it so why not combine that Indonesian grassy spice of turmeric and the tangy sweet flavor of tamarind fruit in our everyday routine? Make the exotic accessible in this easy to make recipe I created this weekend on my own leisurely brunch – and for sure I’ll be making it again!

And for all things JUARA Skincare that contain Turmeric, click HERE to see and learn about how Turmeric can benefit your skin! (I, for one, made the recipe below after applying the Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask for a full experience and inspiration!)

Scrambled Turmeric Eggs with Tamarind Sauce – Serves 1.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of milk

1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or garlic powder as a shortcut)

2 big pinches or 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

pinch of sea salt

generous crack/shakes of black pepper (helps turmeric be more bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body)

coconut oil (to heat in the pan, plus it’s good for you and turmeric is also more effective when mixed with a fat/oil)

Optional: Add a 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala or Everyday Spice mix (from Trader Joe’s or of your choice)

1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) Tamarind Sauce/Tamarind Chutney found in the Asian/Indian section of supermarkets. Often the sauces are pre-made, great for dips, sauces or condiments.

Scramble the eggs, milk, garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper (and optional spices) together. Heat coconut oil in a pan to medium, and scramble the eggs until fluffy and cooked. (You can always vary by making it into an omelette and adding spinach too).

Brussels Slaw – Serves 1:

3-4 Brussel Sprouts, raw, finely chopped

1 tsbp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Juice of 1/4 Lemon

Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional: Add baby kale or chopped cucumber for additional greens or crunch

Blend all ingredients together and serve. Add more lemon juice, or any other ingredient to flavor the brussel sprouts to taste. This is supposed to be a clean, light and fresh salad to complement the richer flavor and softer texture of the scrambled eggs.

How to serve: Plate the scrambled eggs on a plate, and top with tamarind sauce. Surround the eggs with a ring of brussels slaw. Enjoy the delicious texture combination and healthy flavors together!

Mental Anti-Aging Practices

As the co-founder of JUARA, I’m often told “You don’t look your age.” To which I say jokingly, but not really, “Well of course… I use JUARA. You’re looking at the original guinea pig!” But in addition, they also say “Well, it’s also because you don’t ACT your age.” Now that’s a different thing. Judgment aside, I think they mean “You have more energy, always on the go, excited about something, and therefore look younger!” I did some thinking – against what standard am I supposed to act? I don’t feel ANY age – only my arthritic hip reminds me I’m not in my 20’s. But I do feel alive – and I think it shows.

There is an Indonesian philosophy about beauty called Rupasampat Wahyabiantara, which focuses on harmony between inner and outer beauty. With time, outer beauty may gracefully age, but inner beauty, knowledge and a youthful attitude can still blossom through time. I have a few, what I call, mental anti-aging practices I’ve found helpful over the years, which has not only kept me energized, but has also emanated youthfulness on the face. Speaking from my own experiences, here are a few I’d love to share, and plan on taking well into the new year!

Always learn something new, or improve something

Whether it’s another skill, another language, sport or just learning a different perspective of how others think, having an orientation of learning not only triggers neurons in the brain to create more new brain cells (you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!), but it also keeps the mind fresh, youthful and curious – not to mention current since the world is changing so quickly! The beauty of watching little children, as I watch my young nephews grow form babies through toddlerhood, is the wonder they have at everything. The positive sense that there is something out there that we can learn is beautiful, and feeling that way does brighten the eyes encourage the smile – both awesome and natural beauty enhancers, au naturale!

Practice gratitude to reduce stress

We know stress is a part of our everyday lives. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, from work, family, or just life! And stress doesn’t only bring on the frownies including furrowed brows and a frown (hello wrinkles!) but it also triggers an inflammation in the body which can also have negative effects on the skin including aging. A little exercise I like to do when I’m feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed is to stop and just breathe for a minute, then think of 3 things that I am truly grateful for at that moment. It can be simple – like my Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum that I can apply and it’s like an instant feel-good pick-me-up (this is not a plug from a brand owner, it is genuinely true…), friends who make sure I’m ok since I travel so much, and a bed at home which supports me well when I need to collapse at the end of a long, long weary day – we’ve all had those! Simple pleasures, really. And it does reduce stress. And Turmeric – adding Turmeric to your diet also helps your body better manage stress.

Do something that you believe in

There’s nothing that radiates youthful, positive energy like someone who is absolutely passionate about something they are doing, large or small. 2016, to say the least, has been hard on a lot of us for many reasons. 2017 is a time for not just reflection but change. We’ve had to think about what is important to us, now it’s time to act. Dedicating mindspace and time to support a cause that you feel strongly about can give you energy (vs imagine doing chores or tasks you abhore… how draining is that?). For me, supporting education has been important since Indonesia is a country where many children and young adults don’t have access to a good education – which means limited life/career opportunities – so I volunteer in organizations to help. It’s fulfilling, and I always feel energized after – and yes, in general, it does show on my skin when it’s been a good day, vs a bad.

I can’t understate the importance of a healthy skin maintenance routine. I view it as a form of self care, respecting our bodies and how we treat it. The time we spend on our skin is time spent nourishing ourselves! We formulate JUARA products using clean ingredients in the Indonesian heritage combined with safe technology that makes the products work, leaving us feeling really good after – because that’s how we should feel. I still remind myself why we named our skincare line JUARA, which means winner/champion, because to be champions of our destiny, mind and body, a good inside-out mental + physical practice is an important part of the journey!

Let’s Drink in the New Year!

And no, I’m not referring to the  “would you like that shaken or stirred?” drink variety. I’m talking more of the post holiday Jamu inspired easy-to-make herbal drinks that specifically address digestion and cleansing because, well, the holidays. Maybe your new year comes filled with resolutions, new goals, and aspirations. Perhaps we tell ourselves “I promise to eat better and exercise more.” Every. Single. Year. But to help get into that mode, let’s reset our bodies and give our systems an encouraging boost from all the holiday feasting with this easy to make, delicious and natural tea from Indonesia!

Wedang Jahe

This gingery spicy drink can be drunk hot or cold, and is easy to make. Ginger, a root in the same family as turmeric, cardammon, and galangal, is used heavily in Jamu tradition to aid with overfull or upset tummies and nausea. It is warming and great for circulation. Lemongrass contains vitamins A and C, folate, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese – plus a delightfully pungent and flowery citrus aroma. BOTH are also known to be anti-inflammatory (great for our digestive tract overworked from indulgence), anti-bacterial (great for upset tummies), and contain anti-oxidant properties. Prepared together, it’s like a match made in heaven, or at least that’s what your body will think. This traditional drink’s recipe is loose and simple – play with the ingredient amounts to taste, the way people in Indonesia make their own versions.

  • Combine 2 parts fresh ginger (washed and sliced thin) with 1 part fresh lemongrass (chopped roughly is best) with several cups of water.
  • Bring to an easy boil for at least 20 minutes to bring out the flavor and nutrients out.
  • Optional: We add a Pandan Leaf towards the end to add a sweet, green fragrance to the tea, but in the US, you can substitute with a dash of vanilla extract after done boiling, for aroma.
  • Pour the tea (without the ginger and lemongrass bits) into mugs of choice. Sweeten with honey, agave, palm sugar, or brown sugar, or coconut sugar.

The great part is if you don’t drink all the tea at once, it’s easy to store the remaining unsweetened tea in the fridge, with the ginger/lemongrass bits still in it. The tea will just become more flavorful! Reheat whenever you want more.

Pro tip:

If you’re a ginger lover, before you slice it, crack or crush/slightly flatten the ginger so the surface breaks and you can see the inside (like how you crush garlic with a side of a knife.) Then pan sear (without oil) until the skin shows a light tan. The cooking heat brings out the ginger’s pungent flavor so when sliced and boiled packs an extra punch.

Presentation tip:

In Indonesia, wedang jahe is often served in clear mugs, with a thin but tall talk of lemongrass in the mug for decoration. You can also include a few slices of the ginger in the clear mug – it will look pretty – and your body will thank you!

For another good health drink that’s a little heavier but also great for the liver, check out the recipe of another Jamu staple, Kunir Asem here. It’s an oldie but a goodie – as these recipes are centuries old and timeless!

Don’t Knock the Eggnog! Spice it up.

Happy Holidays! Time for holiday cheer, or at least holiday drinks to keep the festive season going. One of my favorites is actually good ol’ eggnog with its creaminess. Sometimes I’ll add a little rum to it, but other times, I get a little more creative with my Indonesian inspirations.

Choosing Eggnog: If you’re not going to make your own and find yourself wandering down the aisle of Whole Foods (or your favorite grocery store) browsing eggnog varieties, one thing I like to look for is organic milk, and as few “thickeners” as possible, such as guar gum, carrageenan, etc. They are not necessarily bad or “dirty” ingredients per se, but if you can get eggnog with the shortest ingredient list with ingredients such as organic milk, cream, sugar and eggs, why not? If nothing else, it tastes better – to me at least.

Eggnog with Antioxidants? Yes!

I don’t usually associate Eggnog with a health drink, however you can sneak a little bit of spice in there to boost its health benefits without compromising taste – like a pinch of turmeric powder plus a crack of black pepper. Not only does turmeric have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits, it also becomes more easily absorbed by your body in the presence of oils/fats (and if there’s one thing eggnog has, it’s fat!) In small amounts, turmeric powder is fairly flavor-neutral, without the earthy flavor of its natural counterpart often used in Indonesian cuisines or health tonics like Indonesian jamu. The black pepper additionally aids in the absorption of turmeric’s benefits into the body, making it more bio-available, so go ahead – add a little spice to a holiday season!\

Cup o’ Holiday Java…

Coming from a tropical island of coffee and coconuts, I love mixing eggnog with coffee & coconut oil served warm. Coconut oil is great with coffee not only because of coconut oil’s great benefits, but in particular because it helps the caffeine release more slowly in your system so you get a more sustained energy boost vs the big jolt and crash. For festive cheer, I like a good amount of eggnog in it, making it quite yummy and comforting, whether in the office or at home. Add more excitement? Sprinkle with cinnamon, also a common ingredient used in Indonesian beverages to add warmth and sweetness without the sugar. The thick sweetness of the eggnog is cut by the deep, dark, bitter taste of coffee – it’s almost like a super rich, lightly sweetened café-au-lait with a hint of spices. Move over Pumpkin Latte, here comes something new.

Just typing this up got me in the mood for some eggnog – let’s see which one of the two I’m going to make now! Got any interesting holiday concoctions to share?

Post-Halloween Skin Savers

On October 30th, your sexy clown Halloween costume seems like the PERFECT idea.

On November 1st… not so much.

All of that clown makeup, candy and booze wrecked your skin.

So What Do You Do?

Here are 3 simple steps to detox your skin (and body) after a so-much-fun-it-bordered-on-too-much-fun Halloween!

1. Cleanse with a Gentle Scrub.

Let’s be honest, you probably aren’t going to wash your face when you get home at 2am. When you wake up, you’re going to look like a very, very sad clown. Reverse the damage by cleansing with a scrub! The exfoliation will help to lift the makeup, sweat and dirt out of your pores to ready them for the next step. Our JUARA Enzyme Radiance Scrub does double duty as a cleansing scrub with all natural jojoba and bamboo beads PLUS quick fruit enzyme mask, so skin is freshly clean, healthy, and ready to receive further treatment!

2. Detox with a Mask…or Two!

So now your face is red, blotchy, and that pimple on your chin that’s been plaguing you since middle school is back with a vengeance. Apply a deep pore cleansing mask to detox your skin, allowing those nasty blemishes to surface and then fade away. The JUARA Rose & Willowbark Blemish-Free Mask will purify skin while calming it down, so say bye-bye to that red zit and hello to refined pores.

Blemish free already? Try our Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask to clear your pores of the same dirt and makeup, but also give it a healthy, “I wasn’t at a party but at a yoga class…” type of radiant complexion. Feeling doubly ambitious? Use the Rose & Willowbark Blemish-Free Mask, and after, follow with the Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance mask for a true deep clean and rejuvenated glow.

3. Flush Out Toxins with Ginger-Turmeric Tea

Once your face is taken care of, it’s time to address your body. That Halloween party was such a blast that it left you bloated, dehydrated and hungover. While the mask is cleansing your pores, mix up a soothing ginger-turmeric tea to detox and de-bloat. Make sure to keep drinking water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and happy. We’re loving the easy-to-find Trader Joe’s Ginger-Turmeric Tea, or if you want to go homemade, just chop equal parts of ginger and turmeric, boil, and sweeten with honey!

4. Tone, Tone, Tone!

After the deep pore cleansing mask, you’re going to need to tone and hydrate your skin throughout the day to allow blemishes to subside, or skin to rehydrate after festivities! our JUARA Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is a skin soothing thirst quencher – with a chock full of oil-free hydrating ingredients including Tamarind and antioxidant teas.

Halloween may be a great reason to do a deep cleanse routine, but this is also a great any other time you have to wear lots of makeup, (aka for a stage, party, or everyday). Actually, whenever you feel the need for a love-my-skin recovery routine, feel free to give these steps a go so say bye to the “BOO!” in your skin and say hello to “YAY!”

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons & Ciera Holzenthal

 

 

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!