A Way for Cooking in the Mountains of Papua, Not Familiar with the Cooking Oil Since there are no Coconut Trees

goodmorningpapua.com – Papuan people have an interesting cooking tradition. Long ago, the people of the mountains of Papua did not know about cooking oil, which is now so expensive. Papuan local wisdom might be an inspiration in cooking.

An archaeological researcher of the National Research and Innovation Agency, Hari Suroto, said the mountains of Papua are located at an altitude of 1650 to 4000 meters above sea level or masl. So, it can be ascertained that coconut trees as raw materials for cooking oil or coconut oil cannot be found there.

The maximum growth of coconut plants is in coastal areas or lowlands with an altitude of about 0 to 450 meters above sea level. If planted in the middle and highlands or around 450 to 1000 meters above sea level, coconut plants are difficult to bear fruit and do not grow well. “At an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level, coconut plants cannot grow at all,” said Hari Suroto.

In the past, before air transportation reached the interior of the Papuan mountains and before being familiar with wok, the Papuan mountain people did not know how to cook by frying. In culinary traditions in the mountains of Papua, the way to cook food ingredients is baking, grilling on a fireplace, cooking in hot ashes, and burning stones.

Baking and roasting of food is usually for game or pork. “Baked or grilled meat, apart from its delicious taste, also makes food last longer,” said Hari Suroto. Baking and roasting also helps reduce the fat content in meat. Papuan mountain communities usually use cassowary wood.

While the hot ash technique is usually used to cook tubers, such as taro, sweet potato, cassava, and corn. The stone-grilled cooking is done by burning the stone until it smolders red. Not far from where the stone was burned, there was already a puddle in the ground.

The hot stones resulting from the combustion are then laid out evenly in the hole. Furthermore, on the surface of the hot stone, various types of food are arranged, such as vegetables, taro, sweet potatoes, cassava, bananas, to pork. These foodstuffs are then covered with sweet potato leaves or vegetables.

After all the food ingredients are set up, put another hot stone. The various foodstuffs will be cooked from the hot coals earlier. After three hours, open the cover again. Everything is cooked and ready to eat.

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