Culinary Coconuts and Bananas on an Uninhabited Island in Nabire Papua

goodmorningpapua.com – An uninhabited island in the Nabire area, Papua, has natural resources in the form of coconuts and bananas. The island is named Pulau Kapotar or Pulau Panjang. It is located in the Moora Islands, the southern part of the Cendrawasih Bay area or off the coast of Nabire, Papua.

Among tourism activists, many people name it Mowirin Island. In fact, an archaeological researcher at the National Research and Innovation Agency [BRIN], Hari Suroto, explained that Mowirin is actually the name of one of the beaches on the island. Coconut trees grow in almost every corner of Kapotar Island.

The trees and coconuts on this island are so unique. The tree is very tall so that those who want to enjoy the coconuts do not have to bother climbing it. “Just wait until the coconuts fall on their own,” said Archaeological Researcher at the National Research and Innovation Agency, Hari Suroto, March 13, 2022.

Coconut trees grow naturally on the beach. Some have been cultivated intensively by the people who live on Mambor Island, south of Kapotar Island. “Residents of Mambor Island only occasionally come to Kapotar Island to look for sea cucumbers at low tide, clean gardens or harvest coconuts,” said Hari Suroto.

People just collect coconuts that have fallen on the ground. They peeled the coconuts and then sold them to Nabire City. There are also those who collect coconuts to collectors to be sent to Moanemani, Dogiyai, which is located in the mountains of Papua.

One coconut is valued at IDR 3,000. However, when he arrived in the mountains of Papua, the price had more than tripled, which was Rp. 10 thousand per item. To note, coconut trees cannot grow in the mountains of Papua.

Kapotar Island coconuts have thick flesh, are tougher, and less watery. Meanwhile, the young coconuts on this island taste fresh. The taste is sweet, slightly sour and appearing to like fizzy on the tongue. The flesh of young coconuts is clear white and has a soft texture. Tourists usually seek the young coconuts from Kapotar Island.

Besides being sold in the form of fruit, the people of Mambor Island process coconuts into coconut oil. They use coconut oil to fry fish and saute vegetables. “Fish or vegetables are cooked without seasoning, only with homemade coconut oil,” said Hari Suroto. The cooking process uses firewood.

Typical cuisine from Mambor Island that uses coconut called banana horn and taro cooked with coconut milk. How to cook it, plantain and taro are boiled using coconut milk until it absorbs. The only seasoning is salt. The taste is savory and is usually served with stir-fried papaya leaves.

The Papaya leaves processed by “mamas” [mothers] of Mambor Island, according to Hari Suroto, do not taste bitter. How to cook it, while sauteing, put the garlic and onion into the hot coconut oil. Then add papaya leaf vegetables without salt. Coconut oil has become a stir fry seasoning with a fragrant aroma and savory taste. “It turns out that it is salt that makes papaya vegetables bitter,” he said.

Another recipe so that papaya leaves are not bitter is to process them with melinjo leaves, gedi leaves, pumpkin shoots, katuk leaves, and sago mushrooms. All cooked without salt, using only coconut oil.

Another coconut-based dish is the banana stick of the sky grilled. This banana is eaten with raw old coconut, without being grated. The taste is a combination of sweet banana and savory old coconut.

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