Natives of Seram island in Maluku cooking papeda in bamboo.
Papeda or bubur sagu, is sagocongee, the staple food of native people in Maluku and Papua. It is commonly found in eastern Indonesia, as the counterpart of central and western Indonesian cuisines that favour rice as their staple food.
Papeda is made from sago flour. The Papuan natives acquire the flour by felling the trunk of a sago tree, cutting it in half, and scraping the inner parts of the trunk. The trunk pulp is then mixed with water and squeezed to extract the starch-rich essence. The still moist sago flour is usually stored in a container made of sago palm leaflets, called tumang in which it will keep for several months before spontaneous fermentation will turn it too acidic and unsuitable for making papeda. Depending on the variety and the growing conditions, it may take a sago tree five to fifteen years to accumulate enough starch in its trunk to make the effort of extracting it worthwhile.
Papeda is made by cooking sago flour with water and stirring until it coagulates. It has a glue-like consistency and texture. Papeda is usually eaten with yellow soup made from tuna or mubara fish spiced with turmeric and lime.
There are similar dishes in Malaysia, where it is called Linut, part of the Melanau cuisine in the East Malaysia state of Sarawak, and in Brunei, where it is called Ambuyat.
^Schuiling, D.L. (2009) Growth and development of true sago palm (Metroxylon sagu Rottbøll) with special reference to accumulation of starch in the trunk: a study on morphology, genetic variation and ecophysiology, and their implications for cultivation. (PhD thesis Wageningen University).