Jumat, 24 Februari 2012

Jamu Gendong 25 - Munthu-Ciri - Mutu-Coet - Mortar-Pestle

Mutu-Coét (Sundanese)
Mutu-Cowét (Sundanese)
Muntu-Ciri (Javanese)
Munthu-Ciri (Javanese)

Jamu Gendong, Mutu-Coet
Still about surviving traditional artifact or habit that is actually a practice of ‘sustainability’, another groups presented jamu gendong, the traditional herbal drinks with certain medicinal purposes (jamu) that are sold by a woman who carry (gendong) the jamu bottles on foot, going around a marketplace or a neighborhood, and mutu-coet, a set of mortar-and-pestle made of stone that is still used to crush or ground food ingredients.

Jamu gendong
The group that proposed the subject of jamu gendong compared the system to food supplements or medications that are sold in conventional shops and come in packed pills. The group suggested to retain the system, since jamu gendong does not provide only herbal drinks, but also a social exchange between the seller and the customers. The conversation led to the fact that almost all local medicines are actually ‘modernized jamu‘, which are produced in a mass quantity to reach wider customers and therefore should be available in a more practical form (pills, capsules) and sold in vacuumed packages. It was also mentioned that some jamu gendong sellers are also using instant jamu (that comes in sachets) instead of fresh ingredients that they ground and mix themselves.

Jamu bottles
There’s also an issue of jamu gendong as a consumption of people from the lower class, and is only upgraded by having them in a gendong setting in restaurants and hotels, with ‘exotic’ and ‘traditional’ taglines. Seems like genuine jamu gendong is diminishing, since it is indeed rarely seen anymore in marketplaces and streets, especially in urban areas. But the need remains: both the genuine needs of people who actually consume jamu gendong for its purposes and people who don’t want to see the tradition diminishes and gone.

Stone Alu-Lumpang or Indonesia Mortar-Pestle and Sundanese Mutu-Coet (Mutu-Cowet) or Javanese Muntu-Ciri (Munthu-Ciri)

The group that discussed mutu and coet, or pestle and mortar, stated that it’s not only the function of the set that’s irreplaceable, but also the myth that goes around it. It is believed, in Sundanese tradition, that a couple who wants to have a daughter should exchange a pestle with a mortar that belongs to a couple who wants to have a son, and vice versa. Mutu and coet are commonly made of volcanic stones and are known to be quite durable, the set is even handed down for generations. Food ingredients that are grounded with mutu and coet have different qualities in textures and taste, compared to those processed in an electric kitchen processor, and therefore are preferred in preparing (traditional) dishes. Like the jamu, it takes a certain skill to ground and mix food properly with mutu-coet, a skill that we might all lose when we stopped using them altogether.

Coét atawa cowét nyaéta parabot dapur nu sok dipaké pikeun wadah lamun urang ngarèndos/ngabubukkeun/ngagerus samara atawa sambel. Biasana dijieun tina batu atawa taneuh liat. Jaman kiwari geus loba bahan séjén nu sok dipaké nyieun ieu coèt, diantarana tina kayu. Bentukna oge aya cirina, nyaèta legok di tengahna. Ieu legok téh mangrupakeun widang nu dipake keur ngarendos téa.
Coèt ieu lamun dipaké pasti kudu ngagunakeun paralatan baturna anu disebut mutu.

Alat anu jadi pasangana coét, anu sok dipake ngarenos samara atawa sambel. lamun ditingali tina bentukna, hampir jiga tongkat pondok anu bengkok belah handapna saeutik, ngan tungtung lebah luhurna lewih leutik tibatan handapna.
Anu tungtung leuwih leutik tea, dipake jang nyekelan mutu eta supaya leuwih ka cangkreum ku leungen. Tungtung anu leuwih badag dipake jang ngalemeskeun samara atawa sambel tèa anu di wadahan dina coét.

Indonesian Mortar (Coet and Mutu)
The preparation of an Indonesian meal usually begins with the crushing of fresh indonesian kitchen spices (bumbu dapur) and herbs into a spice paste known as Bumbu. This hand grinding is accomplished with a cobek and ulek ulek (mortar and pestle) which pulverizes the ingredients and creates as a gestalt between them that is hard to match using a food processor or blender.

Not to worry how ever if you don't have access to a mortar as most novices won't notice the difference. You can always use a food processor, or simply mince things up into ultra-fine little bits. For a more authentic effect, run the bits over a few times with a dough roller to mash them together a little. If a blender is used it will probably be necessary to add additional liquid to get things going. Depending on the recipe add water, oil or coconut milk, and compesate by using fewer liquids later. You can also run your bumbu ingredients through an electric or hand cranked meat grinder for results similiar to a mortar.

What do they have to do with “sustainability”? Considering the issues of jamu gendong, mutu-coet and, previously, banana leaf as a food wrapper, they all come down to the matter of food and eating habit. It would lead to the discussion about fast food vs. slow food, energy-consumptive vs. labor-intensive process, time-saving vs. time-consuming, artificial vs. organic, etc. As people living in highly populated urban areas, with all those choices, we sometimes prefer to choose something fast and easy. We should be smarter in choosing what’s good not only for our body, but also for the resources they come from and the impacts they would cause.
Sundanese Mutu-Coet (Mutu-Cowet) or Javanese Muntu-Ciri (Munthu-Ciri)

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