Indonesia Eats

Turmeric (Kunyit)


Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn. syn. Curcuma domestica Val) is a family of Zingiberaceae (ginger family). It’s native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 and 30 °C.  In Indonesia, turmeric is not only used for cooking but it’s a natural remedy. Kunyit asam (or the Javanese says kunir asem), an Indonesian traditional beverage as well as natural remedy (known as jamu in bahasa Indonesia) that is made from a mix of turmeric and tamarind and turned into a juice. This jamu is belief to refreshing women’s body while they are on period. Also it helps to battle the flu and canker sore. Some Indonesians love to drink kunyit asam with ice cubes so this herbal medicine turns into a refreshing beverage for a hot day.

There are so many good things about turmeric. Turmeric contains antioxidant. People with liver problem can use turmeric as well to improve their liver performance. Turmeric is not only for consumption but it’s used for cosmetic industry. Many people in Indonesia, grind the turmeric with jicama into a paste for facial and body mask. The purpose of this mask is to shine and smooth the skin.

Beside the roots, the leaves of turmeric are also used for a curry based dish especially the Sumatran curries such as the famous Rendang and Sate Padang (Padang Beef Sate) from Minangkabau, West Sumatra. Take a look my rendang recipe if you want to know what the purpose of adding turmeric leaves in food.

Other Turmeric names:
Indonesian and Malaysian: Kunyit
Acehnese: Kunyèt
Madurese: Konyet
Javanese: Kunir
Sundanese: Koneng

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4 thoughts on “Turmeric (Kunyit)”

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  2. Thanks, a great description of this herb. I get a news letter from Doctor Mercola and the health benefits are many, including fighting cancer.
    I live in Florida and could grow kunyit or kunir. Where can I purchase the corms?

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