Food, Lifestyle, 29.04.2016

Chatting with Tanita De Ruijt of Jamu Kitchen

Have you discovered Tamarind and Tumeric Tonic from Jamu Kitchen yet? We have… and we can’t get enough of it, so we decided to stock it at Frame Shop. We also popped along to Jamu Kitchen HQ – AKA founder Tanita de Ruijt’s beautiful London home – to find out more about the miracle elixir.

So Tanita, how did it all begin?
The journey began during my travels in Indonesia, where I started drinking refreshing herbal drinks based on a traditional system of medicine called Jamu on a daily basis.

Jamu tonics are commonly found at streetside stalls, or in unpretentious, inexpensive local shops throughout the islands of Java and Bali. So I asked one of the sellers to show me how to make them, and she did.

When I returned to London I started making some for friends whom insisted I bottle them up properly. It seemed like a great project to get stuck into and I set up my first Jamu Kitchen stall at Druid St Market last summer.

What is your own history and experience in the kitchen?
I’ve been passionate about the health food movement for a really long time now and worked at Rude Health since I left university – such an inspiring place to work.

But I’d have to blame my parents for planting the seeds. Not only did we grow up in Spain surrounded by fantastic, unprocessed food our entire lives, but their mutually exclusive approaches to food as well. My mother was a vegetarian that hosted detox retreats at our home for the likes of Tilda Swinton among others. And my father enjoyed the finer things in life and would spend months on end perfecting recipes like Paella and serving it to entire local villages as well as setting up his own micro beer brewery in the garage.

Since then it’s become my mission to show that these two extreme takes on food can be combined. It’s the idea of combining health with taste, and never compromising on either of these things.

Where does the name Jamu come from?
The system of Jamu uses everyday ingredients found in the kitchen to create medicinal concoctions. It immediately changed the way I looked at the food on my plate. All food is medicine – there’s much more to health than just fruit and veg.

There’s a lot of wisdom in cuisines and the cultural eating habits of people around the world, especially those that came before us. Jamu Kitchen is all about sharing these wisdoms, and celebrating old-world traditions that have sustained healthy people for centuries.

We’re rediscovering the joys of food, and the simplicity of eating well by looking to traditional food cultures in their purest state for guidance, inspiration, and new flavours.

What are the main health benefits of the tonic?
Our tonic is densely packed with the nutrients, vitamins, spices and herbs needed to support and stabilize the body so that it can do what it does best, better.

Turmeric Tamarind Tonic is traditionally drunk for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties – a great way of supporting our immune and digestive systems.

Food synergy plays a really important role when it comes to herbs and spices. Turmeric needs to be combined with other ingredients like black pepper, ginger or coconut oil in order to increase its bioavailability. The combination between turmeric and tamarind also helps increase our metabolism, our circulation, and cleanses our blood. It also helps to shift stubborn fat, aiding the weight loss process.

How much tonic is recommend every day and how is it best to drink it?
I recommend a shot of jamu on a daily basis as a support to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. If feeling under the weather, I’d drink half to a full bottle until the symptoms go away. It’s also great to drink before and after your menses.

Invogorate your system with a glass of jamu first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to get the metabolic juices flowing.

Refresh with some jamu on ice and a squeeze of lemon.

Restore post workout by warming some jamu on the stove and serving it as a warm cup of tea and a dollop of coconut oil.

What are your plans for Jamu Kitchen?
We’re currently working hard at making Jamu more available to everyone… and a few new ideas up our sleeves. Watch this space.

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