Spices in Gorontalo Rituals and Dishes

Posted by OmarTarakiNiodeFoundation
15 May 2017 | blogpost

Jaringan Masyarakat Negeri Rempah (A Network of Spice Land Society) is a hub that brings communities from across Indonesia who are keen to learn and to reinvigorate the history of spices that have formed Indonesia.

The network invited Rahung Nasution and Reno Andam Suri as well as Amanda Katili and Zainal Monoarfa representing Omar Niode Foundation for a sharing session on Food and Spices.

 Image: Jaringan Masyarakat Negeri Rempah

The Foundation decided on Gorontalo Rituals and Dishes as its topic to explain the use of spices in the area. Located on the Wallacea Zone, a transition between the Asian and Australian continents, Gorontalo has distinctive nutritious dishes with herbs and spices. Its culinary varieties include snacks, drinks, appetizers, main courses and desserts.

Due to its location in Tomini Bay on the island of Sulawesi, a trade and education center in the past, the foods in Gorontalo embrace the influence of taste from the islands of Ternate and Tidore, the Sulawesi tribes of Bugis, and Makasar, and the countries of China and Saudi Arabia.

 Image: Suzanty Sitorus

Spices are commonly used in Gorontalo traditional ceremonies such as prayers and rituals. One ritual is summoning spirits for successful harvesting or healing illnesses, now a forbidden practice.

Traditional dishes with herbs and spices are also widely available in Gorontalo, including those that have been introduced to other countries such as binthe biluhuta, traditional corn soup; grilled chicken Iloni with candlenuts; and morongi, shredded spicy chicken cooked for 6 hours.

The culinary delights of an area can be enhanced with innovative products that can build appetites. Hence on the sharing session Omar Niode Foundation presented a product called Kecap Rempah Gorontalo, a taste enhancer similar to soya sauce, and made of 16 ingredients.

Kecap, or soy sauce, is one of the culinary condiments that is always available in Indonesian menu. Kecap Rempah Gorontalo is not soy based, rather coconut water based with herbs and spices that are very easy to find both in traditional markets or directly from farmers.

 Image: Zainal Monoarfa.

Kecap Rempah Gorontalo, created by Zainal Monoarfa of Terminal Benih Gorontalo and his family is made from various types of ingredients, namely pahangga (Gorontalo palm sugar), coconut water, salt, garlic, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, lemon grass, pepper, coriander, cumin, anise, galangal, bay leaves, and lemon leaves.

 Image: Zainal Monoarfa.

Terminal Benih Gorontalo chose kecap as a medium to introduce spices and their historical glory to a number of communities, especially the young generation through the exchange of ideas and knowledge and community cooperations that support seeds preservation. At this event Omar Niode Foundation also distributed a selection of recipe cards, as well as organized food tasting of Gorontalo dishes.