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Kunyit Asem: 'Tea' & tonic drink in one
A traditional recipe that's good hot or chilled

Kunyit Asem 

This is a delicious combination of turmeric, tamarind, ginger and palm sugar -  served hot or cold.


It is a great cocktail mix with ice and vodka or a refreshing bellini with prosecco. 


Asem literally means sour. 

Serves 6-8


For the

  • 1.7 litres water

  • 1 long pandan leaf (if available - don't fret if not)

  • 80 gr tamarind pulp

  • 5 kaffir lime leaves

  • 50gr fresh turmeric

  • 50g fresh ginger

  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)

  • 100 gr palm sugar (or coconut sugar, brown sugar or even honey - 180ml) 

Tamarind blini.jpg


  1. Pound the fresh turmeric and ginger until fine, place in a medium pan and add the water.

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 25-30 mins. Make sure, the tamarind pulp dissolves properly. Honey can be used, on an individual serving basis.

  3. Strain and serve hot. If you prefer, set aside and allow to cool to room temperature and then chill in fridge.  

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