Although cassava is abundant in Indonesia, it has not been used optimally. Mostly it is boiled, fried or made into chips. Even in some areas, cassava is only used as mixture of cow’s feed. This condition disturbs some UGM students to look for ways of improving the utilization and economic value of this original Indonesian food.
The students are Anisa Dian Safitri, Sigit Dwi Cahyono and Ahmad Syukron from Faculty of Agricultural Technology. Other students are Cerah Bintara Nurman and Ervaningsih from Faculty of Agriculture. In their hands, cassava is processed into mocaf (Modified Cassava Flour) that can be used as an alternative to wheat as basic ingredient for cakes and other snacks. "With the availability of the mocaf flour, it is expected that Indonesia’s dependence on imported wheat is minimised," Sigit Dwi Cahyono said to reporters at Stana Parahita UGM, Thursday (1/3).
Sigit said that mocaf flour has several advantages. It has a shorter fiber structure which is easy to digest. In addition, mocaf flour is safe for people with autism and Alzheimer because it does not contain gluten. "The flour does not absorb much oil, either, so it can save the use of cooking oil," he explained.
Mocaf flour is relatively easy to make. Cassava is peeled, washed and cut crosswise with a thickness of about 0.5 cm. Furthermore, it is fermented using strains bacteria L. Plantarum, kept airtight for about 3 days and 3 nights. After that it is washed, drained and dried in the sun for 2 days. Finally, after being dried, it is milled into powder.
Sigit explained that in a single production typically they use 15 kg of cassava. An amount of 1 kg of cassava will produce as much as 200 grams of mocaf flour. "After being processed into mocaf flour, cassava’s selling value increases. Usually 1 kg of cassava is sold for 2500 rupiah while mocaf flour could sell at 6500-8000 rupiah per kg," the student of Agricultural Engineering said.
Cassava processing into mocaf flour, Sigit said, is one effort to develop food diversification in Indonesia. The development of mocaf flour brought the five students an award from the Society of Scientists and Technology Indonesia (MITI) in MITI Challenge Grant along with 19 other teams from several regions in Indonesia.
Sigit and his four colleagues did not just stop at processing cassava into mocaf flour. They continue to innovate the mocaf to be made into cereal for children under five years old. The cereal is named Seremoni. The highly-nutritious mocaf cereal is added with red bean flour.
"To meet the need of protein, we added red bean flour to this cereal," Anisa Dian Safitri said.
Anisa said the cereal manufacturing was done by mixing mocaf flour (60%), red bean flour (20%), skim milk (4%) and salt (2%). Furthermore, egg is added to the dough (10%) and margarine (4%). After the dough is mixed, it is flattened up to 2-3 mm thick, formed into squares in 1x1 cm size. Finally, it is baked in the oven for about 7 minutes.
Currently, this mocaf cereal is not yet marketed, but they plan to do it. "Currently, we are focusing to give assistance to make mocaf and mocaf cereal to the women in villages of Kulur, Temon, Kulonprogo," Cerah Bintara added.
Since January, the five students have started mentoring the community to help alleviate the problem of malnutrition among children under five in the regions. They provide training to the community in the manufacture of mocaf flour and cereal. "The case of malnutrition is still found in the regions. Therefore, assistance to the community is done by providing training in the utilization of local food, cassava is processed into mocaf flour and cereal as additional food which is expected to improve the nutrition for children in the area," he explained.