Beating Jakarta’s Wet Season with Javanese “Jamu Jatem”

It seems this week the Wet Season has arrived in Jakarta, which means it’s time to take extra care of ourselves and avoid the dreaded, *’masuk angin’ – a health condition which probably best equates to the Western concept of general unwellness or, ‘feeling under the weather’. So what better way to keep well than to head back to the AJB Kitchen and brew up a pot of Jamu. Today’s we’re making ‘Jamu Jatem’, a recipe which contains Jahe (ginger) and Temulawak (a rhizome in the ginger family), amongst other jamu staple ingredients.  

So what are the perceived benefits of consuming this drink? The list is long, but here are the main ones. Drinks rich in Temulawak are used to relieve nausea, dizziness as well as symptoms of cold. They are also consumed to improve appetite, especially in children. For centuries, Temulawak oil has been used in traditional medicine for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.

However, just a little heads up – unlike our previous AJB recipes for Jamu Kunyit Asam, Jamu Beras Kencur or Wedang Jahe (Ginger tea), all of which are sweet and pleasant to drink, Jamu Jatem is bitter and earthy. It can take some getting used to but once your palate has adjusted, your body will thank you (read to the end of this post for a Presidential recommendation!) 

So grab your eco-shopping bags and head to your nearest supermarket or pasar to pick up the ingredients listed below. We hope you enjoy preparing Jamu Jatem and of course, let us know how you go in the Comments section at the end of this post. 

Selamat Mencoba!
(Enjoy your experience preparing your own Jamu!)



How to Make Jamu Jatem


80g temulawak
100g ginger (jahe)
15g red ginger (jahe merah)
40g tamarind (asam java)
200ml hot water
200g palm sugar (shaved)
2 pandan leaves
2 litres fresh water


Wash, peel and finely slice temulawak, ginger and red ginger.

Dry roast the rhizomes in a hot, non-stick pan until an observable colour change occurs and fragrance is released.

In a large saucepan, bring to the boil 2 litres fresh water along with pandan leaves and sugar.

Meanwhile as you wait for the water to boil, mix tamarind paste into 200ml hot water and stir to separate tamarind seeds from pulp.

Strain with a sieve to separate the tamarind water from the fibrous material. Keep the tamarind water and discard the seeds and fibres.

Next, into a blender, add the roasted rhizomes and tamarind water. Blend until smooth.

Once saucepan is boiling, add rhizome paste and return to boil for a further 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and strain your jamu to separate the liquid from any solid matter. Take care as the liquid is very hot!

Serve immediately, especially on rainy days or pour jamu into sterilised bottles and refrigerate.

Cooks Notes

This jamu recipe is potent and strong in flavour so a daily morning dose of 150ml is probably enough (although I like a little more).

If you find the recipe too spicy, leave out the red ginger as this is particularly strong.

You may wish to add a squeeze of lime for that extra Vitamin C hit.

What is *Masuk Angin?  – If you live in Indonesia then no doubt you’ve heard of the term, ‘masuk angin’. It literally translates as ‘wind entering’ and implies that wind is trapped inside the body. Perhaps the closest Western equivalent would be ‘catching a cold’.

Indonesians believe that wind can make you sick so it is better to remove the wind from your body. There are various methods, but the most common is burping, passing wind or *‘kerokan’. However, ‘masuk angin’ may also include symptoms such as bloating, chills, indigestion, heartburn and an upset stomach. So it essentially ranges from ‘catching a cold’ to ‘feeling off colour’ – but nothing more serious than this.

*Kerokan – This is the name of the traditional practice of scraping the skin of one’s neck and back with a smooth-sided coin to induce welts on the skin. This is believed to relieve ‘masuk angin’ by allowing the bad air to escape the body.

Kerokan in action. Jl. Barito, South Jakarta

About today’s star ingredient ‘Temulawak’
The botanical name for Temulawak is Curcuma xanthorrhiza but is also known as Java Ginger and Javanese Tumeric (as like Turmeric, Temulawak is rich in curcurmin, giving it its characteristic orange colour). Native to Indonesia, Temulawak belongs to the Ginger family and is cultivated in Malaysia, Thailand and the Phillipines.


And finally, did you know that Indonesian President Bapak Joko Widodo is a fan of Jamu Jatem?
In 2015 President Jokowi (then Governor of Jakarta), announced he had consumed a glass of Jamu Temulawak Jahe (Jatem) each morning for the past 17 years. He explained that it gave him vitality as well as improved digestive function.

“Saya sudah lebih dari 17 tahun minum Temulawak Jahe setiap pagi” – Bapak Joko Widodo

That’s enough of an endorsement for us! Wishing you good health always 🙂


Words: Jo Stevens            Photography: A Journey Bespoke

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