Hot Spiced Drink from Indonesia: Bandrek

From our recent posts, we know that many of you love masala chai as much as we do. Here's another aromatic, spiced beverage to try. Indonesian bandrek doesn't contain tea, but it features many of the same ingredients, such as cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Simmer a pot of this on the stove, and your house will smell amazing. (It's also an excellent sore throat soother!)

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:
• ginger
• cinnamon sticks
• cloves
• lemongrass
• 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

Related: Jahe Wangi: Instant Ginger Tea from Indonesia

(Images: Emily Ho)