Sayur Ikan Gabus Pucung: A Betawi Legendary Culinary

When Jakarta was still filled with swamps and rice fields, ikan gabus (snakehead fish) or its Latin name chanastrata was easily obtained by the public. Likewise with pucung fruit (pangium edule) that grows in the yard or the outskirts of the Ciliwung River. Therefore, the legendary Betawi food cork pucung is present.

Gabus Pucung is listed as one of 96 Indonesian cultural heritages and one of eight heritages originating from DKI Jakarta. Gabus pucung is a side dish as well as vegetables for friends to eat rice. This food includes fish dishes with a soup texture similar to rawon. The salty, savory, and spicy taste is quite dominant. The black color comes from pucung or kluwek.

Gabus pucung is served with the snakehead fish fried or grilled first. The gravy is cooked separately, to keep the fish firm and chewy. Usually one portion contains a part of the fish, if the fish is large. People can choose the tail, middle, or head. But if the snakehead fish is small, the whole fish is served.

The savory gravy comes from the spices of candlenut, shallot, garlic, ginger, and bay leaf turmeric. As a garnish and coloring, usually chilies, small cut scallions and lemongrass are poured on top.

The gabus pucung is very delicious eaten with warm white rice. For the Betawi people, gabus pucung is not only a culinary dish, but also an inseparable part of the 'nyorog' tradition. Nyorog which means giving or delivering food by children to parents or by daughter-in-law to parents-in-laws before the fasting month or Eid as a tie-up.

Health benefits
Some literature mentions, snakehead fish has some benefits for human health. Researchers from the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) Surabaya have proven that snakehead fish extract can be a cure for diabetes. Snakehead fish extract is known to lower blood sugar levels and repair damaged pancreatic tissue. The damage at pancreas tissue itself can cause hypoglycemia or excessive sugar levels in the blood. In fact, fish extract was not only able to restore pancreatic tissue, but also succeeded in regenerating testes of test animals.

Meanwhile in the Journal of Benefits, it is recorded that for every 100 grams of snakehead fish there are about 25.2 grams of protein, which means that a high protein content will be beneficial because it will help a lot in the process of building muscle in the body. In addition to protein, in snakehead fish there is a very high albumin content. Albumin itself is one type of protein that is very important in the wound healing process in the body. Albumin substances can also maintain the stability of fluid regulation in the body.

In addition, pucung or kluwek fruit is suspected to have the property of treating rheumatism, eliminating skin diseases (itching), as sleeping pills, facilitating menstruation, and overcoming high cholesterol.

Nutrients contained in kluwek include iron, vitamin C, vitamin B1, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. But be careful, kluwek also contains cyanide acid, a type of poison that can endanger health if consumed directly. The highest content of cyanide is found in the flesh of kluwek seeds. That's why, you have to soak it first to remove the poison before processing it into cooking.


“Manusia tanpa cita-cita adalah mati. Cita-cita tanpa kerja adalah mimpi. Idaman yang menjadi andalan adalah kebahagiaan.”
- Ali Sadikin -
Gubernur DKI Jakarta 1966 - 1977
“Emang rejeki kagak kemane, tapi kalo lo gak kemane-mane mana mau dapet rejeki.”
- H. Benyamin Sueb -
Seniman Betawi