Two Lovebirds from Jogja's Olden Times

Jalan Astomulyo, Simpang Lima Wara Kaliurang, Sleman, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
(0274) 446 4277

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Foods have their way of bringing you back to certain moments from their taste and aroma. That's how it goes with the story of a couple of lovebirds, the Jadah (sticky-rice cake) and the Tempeh from Kaliurang.

Updated on 15 September 2018

See 11 photos of Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik

Open daily
7 am - 6 pm

That dawn, Kaliurang was still covered in mist when YogYES arrived at the Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik shop. Even so, the hustle in Mbah Carik's kitchen had already begun.

Some people were grating coconuts and frying tofu and tempeh that have already been marinated in bacem (seasoning of palm sugar and soy sauce mixture) overnight. We joined them immediately to see the process of making the famous jadah tempe Mbah Carik. The delicacy of jadah tempe Mbah Carik continues to last until today with its signature taste because it's still cooked traditionally using firewood. First, grated coconut is mixed with sticky rice and other spices, then steamed in boiler pot on traditional stove. After steamed for one and a half hour, the half-finished jadah is then battered. It was so tantalizing to see the steam puffing from the freshly-cooked mixture of sticky rice, grated coconut, and other ingredients. Next, the battered rice is shaped into the chewy and savory Jadah Mbah Carik.

Out of the bustling kitchen, we approached Mbah Sudimah, Mbah Carik's second generation. We were lucky to meet and chat with her right away. In the morning, the sun gave warmth to the cold air covering Kaliurang. While hanging out basking in the sun, we were drowned in the nostalgic story of Mbah Sudimah on the history of Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik.

It all began in the 1950s, in a pesanggrahan (a kind of guesthouse) of the royal family of Yogyakarta Palace located in Kaliurang. Back then, Mbah Ngadikem, the founder of Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik, only vended tofu, tempeh, and pecel (Indonesian vegetable salad with peanut sauce) around. Later on, Gusti Pintaka (the wife of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwana IX's) advised him to vend at Telaga Putri (literally means Princess Lake). Mbah Ngadikem then became the first vendor to sell products in Telogo Putri. Not only selling tofu and tempe bacem or pecel, she also innovated to sell jadah combined with tempe bacem. Eventually, the Jogjakarta's Royal Palace became Mbah Ngadikem's regular customer because the palace's noble houses took a liking to her culinary innovation. That's when her jadah tempe business begun. Then, to distinguish it from similar culinary, the Palace gave Mbah Ngadikem's jadah tempe a name. The name "Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik" was chosen as Mbah Ngadikem was the wife of a village's carik (a village head's secretary). The name continue to stick until this day and became the brand of the legendary jadah tempe in Jogja. Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik also gained recognition as the originator of jadah tempe.

At first, jadah and tempeh was eaten simultaneously in a stack consisting of one piece of jadah and one piece of tempeh. Nowadays, people eat jadah tempe as they would a burger. That means two pieces of jadah are stacked with a piece of tempe bacem, leading people to dub jadah tempe "Javanese burger". Jadah tempe is the culinary icon of Kaliurang; visiting Kaliurang would not be considered complete before tasting this traditional dish. The combination of the savoury jadah and its chewy texture with the sweet tempe bacem plus the spiciness of cabe rawit (commonly known as Thai pepper) gives a diverse sensation.

If you buy jadah tempe at Mbah Carik's stall, the jadah tempe is guaranteed to be fresh since this culinary are made early in the morning. However, jadah can only last one day as foods made of sticky rice cannot last long. No worries, however, because aside from jadah and tempeh, there are many other foods you can choose from, like wajik (sweet sticky-rice cake), ampyang (snack made of peanut and palm sugar), peyek (seasoned flour and peanut or anchovies chips), tahu bacem (sweet marinated tofu), or various snacks to bring home a gifts. Therefore, if you visit Kaliurang, just drop by for a cup of tea and and have a try of jadah and tempeh, Jogja's lovebirds!

We didn't realize that the sun was getting higher, and after a happy nostalgia and contented stomach from the tasty Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik, we finally went home. The delicacy of Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik continued to linger in our tongue, just like the memories sticking in our minds.

How to get there:
UGM - follow Jl. Kaliurang until Tugu Udang, Jadah Tempe Mbah Carik is on the left.