Cooking in Indonesia: From the pot to the plate
Lontong, oseng-oseng and Tempe Bacam sounds like beautiful landscapes in some remote country.
Actually, it remains to the taste buds of the great traveler, some of the well-known traditional Indonesian dishes. The rice cakes with peanut sauce, coconut-milk based soups, fried soy toasted with spices, simmered vegetables and fresh fish and meat with gravy should definitely tempt you if you travel in this country.
A woman is walking across the pasar (market), along stalls full of flavours and colours: durian, cumin, rambutan, ginger, papaya, chilies, sawo... Something gets her attention and she stops, she stares at the vegetables, spices, meats, fish and soy imaging their heavenly taste. It’s also time to get news from the area. After tough bargaining, the housewife has all the ingredients she needs and the cooking can begin.
How do you cook?
In the countryside, a woman cooks from 45 minutes to one hour in the morning, standing up or sitting down near their pot, watching the meal simmering and wielding a long spoon to stir the food.
Once the woman has finished preparing the meal, it’s time to process the palm sugar.
For this the traditional stove can be used during four to eight hours. It is an activity widespread in Indonesia and is generally done by women either as a primary or secondary income source for their family.
A palm sugar producer stated that they can save 50% of the processing time with Improved Cookstoves (ICS): that saves 2 hours per day for his wife. The woman quickly abandons the traditional cookstove and the brand new stove is gladly welcomed in their home.
Rural and Urban areas
It should be kept in mind that life is very different in rural and urban areas. In the city, people are used to waking up early to go to work and they can’t afford to waste time cooking. They reheat most of their meals which have usually been cooked the day before. Also, a lot of the time they own LPG stoves. Improved Cookstoves may not be a suitable device for all those living in the city; however some do find the time to cook traditional meals on charcoal as a reminder of their heritage. Where these stoves are most effective are for those living in the peri-urban and rural areas where access to energy is limited.
We must take into consideration the culture, the cooking habits and the income to better understand. To adapt to one particular context is key for proposing the right device to people who need Improved Cookstoves.