The Interview: Jamu Kitchen on their Turmeric Tamarind Tonic

I have been talking a lot lately about my love of the powerful Indian spice turmeric, (you can posts here and here,) and so it is with great excitement that I would like to introduce you today to Tanita de Ruijt, founder of London-based wellness brand, Jamu Kitchen.

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A blurring of the lines between food and medicine, their Turmeric Tamarind Tonic is wellness in a bottle, perfect to take in the mornings as an immunity and anti-inflammatory boost. Trust me, it makes all the difference to getting yourself through the day.

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What is a tonic? Tanita describes it as:

  1. Anything that enlivens or strengthens (I like to believe that gin totally counts).
  2. An invigorating, refreshing, or restorative agent or influence (yep, still gin).
  3. A classification of herbs or spices proven to target a multitude of systems aimed at increasing overall vitality and longevity (ahh nuts, so gin isn’t a tonic then…!).

All sounds pretty amazing right!?

We caught up with Tanita, to ask her about the creation of this wonderful golden elixir, her story of how it came to be and her top tips on how best to drink it.

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ByBethany: What it is you love most about turmeric as an ingredient? 

Tanita: Probably the smell. The entire room lights up with warm scents of orange while I brew our tonic.

ByBethany: What inspired you to create Jamu Kitchen? 

Tanita: It’s been a long awaited part of my food journey. I’ve been passionate about the health food movement for a long time now and worked at Rude Health since I left university – such an inspiring place to work.

But ultimately I’d have to blame my parents for planting the seeds of my passion. 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.

It all clicked during my travels in Indonesia, where they use their kitchen staple ingredients to create medicinal concoctions known as Jamu; an integrated system of inner and outer healthy & beauty. It immediately changed the way I looked at the food on my plate. Good food is medicine.

ByBethany: How do you source your ingredients?

Tanita: I buy my fresh whole roots from my organic wholesaler. The freshness and quality of your roots is vital if you want to reap the medicinal qualities of these foods.

ByBethany: What is your favourite recipe using Jamu?

Tanita: Simple. Empty one bottle of Jamu into a saucepan, heat gently and add a splash of lime juice. Delicious and incredibly restorative!

We can’t wait to give it a try!

You can find Jamu Kitchen here, a list of their stockists is at the bottom.
Follow on Instagram here, Twitter here.

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