The name is quite simple, enthong. Javanese people use it for cooking rice and food preparation. So its presence must be in every traditional kitchen and dining table.
Enthongs are usually made of oval-shaped wood and made flat. While the base is made smaller which serves to grip. The main function of enthong is to stir the rice that is being cooked as well as a tool to take cooked rice into the wakul or when you want to pour rice from the wakul into the dinner plate.
There are various sizes of enthongs, some are small, medium, and large. Small size, about 15-20 cm long. While the large ones can be up to 45 cm long.
Various sizes of enthongs from the Tembi Museum of the Yogyakarta Cultural House
The size of the enthong is adjusted to the capacity of the rice cooker or rice bowl. If you cook the rice for household size, generally use small enthongs. Similarly, when the rice is cooked and placed in a wakul. However, when cooking rice for a celebration that requires a large cooking space, such as a cork, then use a large enthong.
The types of wood used to make enthong are usually selected types of wood that are durable and strong, such as teak wood, jackfruit wood, sapodilla wood, tamarind wood, and glugu (coconut tree trunk). However, sometimes wood that is around the environment is chosen, it can be mlandhing wood, sengon wood, and other types of wood. Selected types of wood that are durable and strong, so that the enthong is more durable and not easily damaged.
Until now, of course, Javanese people still use this one cooking utensil as kitchen utensils and cutlery. Usually enthongs in the kitchen, including enthongs that are a bit outdated. While the enthongs used at the dining table, including enthongs, are of rather good quality. The distinction is only to show appropriateness. Especially if there are guests who are invited and invited to eat, of course the type of enthong that is still good is used at the dining table.
Big Enthong in the Steamer
Although nowadays traditional enthongs made of wood still dominate among Javanese people, their manufacture has developed. Enthongs made today are usually smoother, because they use a lathe in their finishing. Likewise the current production of enthongs, usually some are made slightly concave in the middle, and remain flat on the edges.
Apart from wood, nowadays various types of modern enthong also appear. The materials are aluminum, brass, stenlis, and plastic. The price also varies according to the material. But the function remains the same, to cook rice and complement the wakul at the dining table.
Apart from being a kitchen tool, apparently for the Javanese people, enthong is a kitchen tool which is also believed to be a tool of suggestion and has also appeared in Javanese folklore. Enthong is a suggestion tool that is often used by Javanese people to heal people who are “kemlekaren” or the Indonesian term is ‘full’.
Little Enthong on the wakul
Sometimes, Javanese children in ancient times were too eager when there was a lot of food. Well, there is so much food, sometimes children forget the capacity of their stomach, so they eat too much. As a result of eating a lot, the stomach becomes full, so that the stomach feels sick and not feeling well.
In such conditions, usually parents do not have the heart to see it. So to reduce the pain of being full, parents immediately take enthong (or irus), then place it on the stomach of the child who is happy. As if taking some of the food in the stomach, the parents said essentially, “Here, I reduce the food in my stomach using enthong, I hope the kemlekaren taste goes away”. That was the prayer. Usually not long after the feeling of fullness will disappear, and the child will not feel sick to the stomach anymore.
Enthong has also been present in a folklore story in Central Java, related to the occurrence of Telaga Rawa Pening. It is said that when a flash flood inundated a village, the grandmother saved herself by riding a mortar and oar boat made of enthong. This grandmother did, after a small child advised her. It turned out that the little boy who gave the message had previously been fed by his grandmother, after all the villagers did not want to give food to the little boy who was considered clumsy. Finally, the grandmother was able to survive thanks to riding a mortar and an enthong paddle.