Once upon a time in Dutch colonization period, proletariat could not taste this delicious soup. Chicken coto of Pamekasan was exclusively served for the nobles. By chance, my grandfather, R. Soenarto Hadiwidjojo, was the last Resident of Madura, a noble. A Resident here means the second highest post in a province, just under the Governor of East Java. So, my grandfather was the number one person in Madura Island.
But residency system had been valid just in period of President Soekarno’s regime. My mother told me that he, Mr. President himself, had visited Madura when my grandfather had been heading the whole Madura. And we had served him with this chicken coto.
Maybe you don’t know yet, coto (a.k.a. soto a.k.a. sroto) is a kind of soup. The broth is clear-yellow because of turmeric. The coto consists of slice meats (chicken, goat, beef or else), slice eggs, white thin noodles, fried onions, and chips powder. Usually the vegetable is only the cabbages.
The recipe of chicken coto of Pamekasan has been handed down on one generation to the next. And nowadays, even common people in Pamekasan can taste it. No more nobility boundary.
Yet, you can experience sensation of being noble. Because, this is not an ordinary coto. The chicken coto of Pamekasan is different from the others chicken cotos you can buy in Madura or any regions in Indonesia. The taste, the appearance, and so on, is different.
One of those differences, this legacy recipe has reddish broth due to red chili flavor for enforcing the taste. Compare it with the common cotos you can easily find in Madura. They have quite clear broth. And the taste is not as strong as the chicken coto of Pamekasan.
So, where to find this kind of coto?
Ironically, not in Madura island. You can eat the coto that has been praised by first president of Indonesia, you can taste this noble coto, cozily in Surabaya city, the neighbor of Madura. Find the Reng-Oneng Resto.
- Written & Photos by Riano Dwi Permana