Bandrek comes from the Sundanese people of Java. Made from warm spices simmered in hot water and traditionally served in cold weather, bandrek tickles the tongue, warms the belly, and purportedly wards off colds.
In addition to ginger, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, it is usually made with lemongrass, which gives it an herbaceous, citrusy aroma, and/or pandan leaves, which we highly recommend adding if you can get your hands on them. After simmering for about 10 minutes, the liquid is sweetened with sugar, strained, and sometimes mixed with milk or coconut milk.
There are many variations, but these are the basic ingredients:
• cinnamon sticks
• palm sugar (can substitute brown sugar or jaggery)
Other ingredients may include:
• star anise
• coriander seeds
• cardamom pods
• chile peppers
• black peppercorns
• pandan leaves
• coconut milk
• young coconut meat
• sweetened condensed milk
We have made bandrek from a few different recipes and our favorite one comes from EatingAsia. Give it a try as written and then play around with it. We like to add peppercorns and pandan.
Get the recipe: Bandrek at EatingAsia
(Images: Emily Ho)