The Story Behind Nasi Uduk, a Typical Betawi Way of Cooking Rice

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The Story Behind Nasi Uduk, a Typical Betawi Way of Cooking Rice The ultimate look of Nasi Uduk. (Credit to: Cookpad.com)

TIMESJEMBER, JAKARTANasi Uduk is a typical Betawi way of cooking rice with using coconut milk and multitude spices. Nowadays, its not only Betawi community of West Java that cook the dish, but this dish has been widely spread across the country.

Little did they know, Nasi Uduk has an exotic story behind it. Taken from a story told by Ustad Salim A fillah, a local religious figure, this Nasi Uduk was actually firstly made in Mataram. And was taken to Betawi in around 1628.

The Sultan of Mataram at then, Sultan Agung was hooked up by Kebuli Rice, an Arabian way of cooking rice which almost has the same way of cooking Nasi Uduk.

Unfortunately, the Midde East cuisine used a certain rice that only grows in their area, and hardly to be found in Indonesia. There then, the Sultan trying to adapt the dishes using local rice with the same spices and same way of cooking.

Sultan Agung along with his cook will do a wudu (read: woodoo) or cleaning their part of the body as a ritual before praying before cooking the rice. There then, the term Uduk came up, and the rice was so called as Nasi Uduk.

It's also served with ayam Ingkung (roasted chicken put in skewers). Ingkung derived from the a local language nyekungkung means worship. "Its to remind people to always worship the Lord," Salim said.

There is also sambal gepleng (a sauce made of soybean, garlic and shallots, and chili) to accompany Nasi Uduk. Gepleng derived from the world geleng-geleng, a harmonious move when people chanting and calling out Lord's beautiful names. (*)

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