In Jogja, A Cow can Work to Make Noodle in Factory
In Jogjakarta, there is one legendary noodle called Mie Lethek. Lethek means dirty in Indonesian language. However, the food is not dirty and the people must eat it. “Lethek” is just the term and it becomes the typical name and the characteristic in this food. The term “dirty” in this food is taken by the color of Mie Lethek. It looks browny and not appealing at all since the production process is really natural and the ingredients are processed traditionally. It is said to be natural because this food doesn’t use any bleaching ingredient.
It doesn’t have any coloring or even the preservative at all. Physically, Mie Lethek looks like vermicelli or angel hair. However, Mie Lethek is thicker and it has chewy texture compared to those which are made of wheat. According to the history, Mie Lethek came from Bantul and it has becoming typical food of Mataram people in the past. It is no wondered anymore that this food can be found near the Kings’ tombs at Imogiri area, Bantul, Jogjakarta. The main ingredient to make it is the cassava starch juice.
One of the Mie Lethek factories is found at Kecamatan Srandakan, Bantul. What makes this factory unique and different is because the workers are not humans only but also cows. Cows are used to drive the cylinder as the noodle stirrer. The cow can stir even 1 ton of the dough. Meanwhile, other human workers also move the wood tile and it needs about 8 human workers to move it. Each of them will get the proper tasks’ division. One person is needed to step on the wood called munyuk in 40 cm of the diameter.
Munyuk is known as monkey in Javanese language and it is said like that because the person must jump on it just like monkey. The main ingredient of Mie Lethek will be stirred from the cassava starch along with “gaplek” or known as dried cassava. The dough will be steamed on the furnace to reduce the water content. After the water content is being maintained, the dough will be steamed again, cut and molded into the form of Mie Lethek. After that, dough will be dried under the direct sunlight.
Though Mie Lethek doesn’t use any preservative, this dried noodle can be stored for more than 3 months. Now, Mie Lethek becomes one of typical culinary in Jogja hunted by many tourists. You can enjoy it directly at the stalls but you can bring it in dry version as the handgift for your family at home. Usually, Mie Lethek is cooked into several meals such as Fried Mie Lethek, Boiled Mie Lethek or mixed with fried rice.