Taste Sego Tumpang (Rice with cooked vegetables and chili sauce on it) ala Mbah Rijem
Among a crowdy market, usually there is a famous food stall which is properly visited. Either it serves delicious food or it has cozy atmosphere. This fact is like in Masaran Market, Sragen regency, Central Java Province, precisely in the side of Solo- Sragen main road, adjacent the Masaran pharmacy.
There is a wooden-wall small stall. Yellow paint which covers the wall looks dusky and dim. Surprisingly, although look dim, there are many people who visit this old building. The visitor’s frequent is higher in luch time. Tens of visitors come and leave the building. Of course, you are curious to know what the speciality of this stall.
That is Mbah Rijem’s stall. The stall which has existed since 1966 is always crowded in lunch time. When Smart Magazine visited this place in the end of March 2007, all chairs were full of visitors. Some consumers who did not get any seat yet, patiently waited outside. The owner of the stall, Mbah Rijem, was assisted by her three daughter who quickly serviced the consumers.
Mbah Rijem’s stall is just small. With 4×5 meters in size, her stall has four long tables which are suitable for 24 persons.”In normal day, after lunch hours, my stall is never full but also never quiet from consumers. Two benches are always occupied,” she stated.
According to this 80-year-old woman, menu served in her stall is traditional home cooking. All cookings are carpented on large table. When entering the door, all we see are merely vegetables, bothok, garang asem, oseng-oseng, chicken-eggs, chicken liver and meat, cow liver and meat, sego tumpang, pecel, gudangan, and baceman.
Everyday, Mbah Rijem stall serves Javanese culinary in three main dishes, namely sego tumpang, pecel, and gudangan. All menus are available everyday to show the specialty of her stall is in Javanese Cooking. She guarantees that her cookings are always fresh. “If it is not sold, we never re-heat it. Every day we cook new foods,” said this old woman.
These three main menus are highly chosen. “But sego tumpang is mostly ordered,” told her. Sego tumpang is rice served with long bean, spinach, kenikir, and sprout. Then, the rice and vegetables are poured by the mix of coconut milk, tempe, ingredients, and small slices of boiled tofu. All served warm.
Not similar with other food sellers, Mbah Rijem does not use any vetsin (MSG). Javanese called this as moto. “Using rnoto makes the taste undelicious,” she explained. To get delicious taste, she chooses old-fashioned technique not modern one. She spreads spices in to her cookings. All self-cooked by Mbah Rijem every morning and becomes a ready-for-use ingredient.
The vegetables for Sego Tumpang are always shortly cooked in boiled water to make the vegetables soft. All cooking process uses clay-pan which fried on anglo’s flame. Anglo is a traditional Javanese stove made from clay with firewood.
Sego pecel and gudangan ala Mbah Rijem are also properly tried. The way to cook vegetables for pecel and gudangan is similar with sego tumpang. The difference, pecel and gudangan are not given coconut milk. On the top of sego gudangan, she put boiled coconut’s slices mingled by red chilis, orange leaves, koempheria galangal, thus it colored brownies red. Meanwhile for sego pecel menu, watery chili sauce made of crushed peanut and palm sugar, is poured on the vegetables.
Mbah Rijem shares her secret recipe which makes her consumer addicted to taste Javanese culinary. When she fries side dishes, such as chicken liver, cow meat, and jerohan inner organ, namely cow-liver and spleen, she always pours a bit coconut milk. The result is a unique taste, i.e. tasty, sweet, elastic, but not hard to be bitten. Even, the spices, which are in between the meat and jerohan texture felt appetizing on tongue.
In one day, Mbah Rijem spends for about hundred kilograms rice and three big bowls of vegetables. Because she is not parsimonious in giving ingredients, she needs about five kilogram of garlic, coriander, and kemiri (walnut). This cooking material will be cooked for 200-250 portions of Sego Tumpang, Pecel, Gudangan, Oseng- oseng. Mbah Rijem’s Javanese food is not expensive, one portion is sold for Rp 2,500.00 – Rp 3,500.00 only.
Mbah Rijem loyalty is not useless. Although the physical appearance of her stall is wornout but the taste of her cooking is still able to attract some public figures in this country. Gesang, the composer of Bengawan Solo and Waljinah, the famous Keroncong singer, are two devoted consumers of Mbah Rijem’s ndeso menu. “There are also the families of Solo Kingdom who are always stop here to eat whenever they go to Sragen or Surabaya,” she said cheerfully.