Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) offers a Tea Experience on the first Saturday of each month. It's an opportunity to discover and learn more about the teas, the culture, and the traditions of Asia and the Pacific Islands.
On January 10th, I attended the Indonesian Tea Experience presented by Maria Afni and featuring bandrek. Bandrek is a cold weather drink originating in Java. It is similar to masala chai, yet it does not contain tea.
Standard ingredients are ginger (roasted), cinnamon sticks, cloves, lemongrass, and gula jawa (palm sugar). A wide variety of optional ingredients may be used, including pandan leaves, peppercorns, star anise, and cardamom.
For this event, we were treated to the following recipe:
2 whole ginger roots, peeled and oven-roasted until they have darkened
1 cinnamon stick
2 pandan leaves
Gula jawa (palm sugar)
Add ginger, cinnamon, pandan, and cloves to 1 liter (1000ml) of water.
Bring to a boil, simmering for approximately 10 minutes.
Add palm sugar to taste, strain, and serve.
This was my first opportunity to taste bandrek. It's a delicious tisane with the soothing and warming characteristics of masala chai and a uniquely flavorful aroma and taste provided by the palm sugar. I'm looking forward to making it at home during the cold winter months to come.
Thanks to Maria and APCC for hosting this event!