Bandrek (pronounced as BUN DRAG) brings sweet memory of my dad to me. My dad was the one who introduced me to this drink calls bandrek. I used to go for a jogging with my dad on weekend morning when I was probably around 10 or so. Super early as a matter of fact, 5 am and waking up in the morning was quite a drag! believe me on that one!
I wasn’t looking forward to the run if you ask me. I was looking forward to few things actually. First, the vespa ride. I love riding on the vespa with my dad. The cool air in the morning blew on my face, the quiet street and town, the sun rise. Second, this bandrek drink. My dad would make a stop halfway to make sure I got my dose of bandrek. The locals in Indonesia believe that bandrek helps to prevent cold and keep your body warm especially if the weather is cool. Third, the BREAKFAST!! The half-boiled fresh eggs from free-range chickens ;), the milk tea (teh susu), the kue kue (Indonesian-style cakes). Those are some of the best-time spent with my dad. Now, I understand why making great memories with you loved ones is so important. Those memories keep the person you love alive in your heart I miss you dad!
So, okay, sorry, got a bit emotional there back to bandrek. Bandrek is a very popular warm beverage in Indonesia, especially in North Sumatra, made of spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger. The beverage is also flavored with lemongrass and sweetened with gula jawa (Indonesian palm sugar). It is usually served hot and that’s why it is so comforting. The cool air we have in North Sumatra is nothing compare to the winter we have here in Minnesota brrrrr!!!! So, bandrek definitely suits the occasion
- 5 cups of water
- 2 thumb-size ginger (peeled and bruise with the side of the knife or blunt heavy object to release flavor)
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 3 stalks of fresh lemongrass (bend into half or smaller)
- Start with about 4 Tbsp of gula jawa or more to taste(usually comes in a block, shave thinly with a knife to get at least 4 Tbsp)
- 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add in water, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and lemongrass and bring to a boil then lower the heat to let it gently simmer until the spices and herb release a wonderful aroma, about 10 minutes. Add in the gula jawa and stir until it dissolves
- Remove the pan from the heat, add in the lime juice and have a taste. It should be slightly sweet and tart, but not to tart. Adjust this by adding more gula jawa and/or lime juice. Strain the beverage into serving glasses and serve hot