TAKALAR, SOUTH SULAWESI – It is not only cassava or glutinous rice that can be processed to make tapai. Maize, bananas, and breadfruit can also be used. And this is what the students of SMPN 2 Takalar did.
Mukhlis, a Grade IX science teacher at SMPN 2 Takalar, said that his students selected these ingredients deliberately because all three are grown in Takalar District. "I tried to direct my students through active learning to conduct a biotech experiment to produce tapai from a variety of foods such as breadfruit, banana and taro corms, and it worked well," said Mukhlis.
As a first step, the students in the science lesson were asked by Pak Mukhlis to observe the texture and try to taste each of the simple biotechnology products called tapai which are already common in the community and are usually made from cassava and glutinous rice. After that, they were asked to make tapai from food ingredients of their own choosing, such as maize, potato, breadfruit, taro, ripe bananas, and sweet potatoes.
The procedure for making it were as follows: each group of students chose an ingredient to be used to make tapai, like ripe bananas, maize, breadfruit, taro, potatoes or sweet potatoes. The foodstuff was washed thoroughly and then steamed using a pan.
Once steamed, the food was peeled and cut according to preference and the texture and taste were checked. This was then sprinkled with refined yeast and wrapped tightly in banana leaves. After that, it was stored in a plastic or other container that was closed tightly and kept in the lab for three days for the fermentation process.
"The material should be sealed so that no bacteria that can interfere with the process of fermentation and create a different flavor," said Mukhlis, a local training facilitator with USAID PRIORITAS in Takalar who regularly applies active learning approach in his school.
After the third day, it turned out that all the ingredients had successfully changed into tapai. "However, when we looked at it and touched it, it felt different," said Fatriasi Amiruddin, a Grade IX student who conducted the experiment. Potato, after becoming tapai turned out to have a bland taste and taro corms were also bland but had a very pungent odor. "Its structure became loose watery with a brownish color and was not suitable for eating," said Buya Ibn Fulqan, another student.
Meanwhile breadfruit, ripe bananas and maize created unique tastes: sweet and sour and tasty. "The results of the experiment on these three foodstuffs led us to conclude they can be alternative foods that can be sold," said Mukhlis. The success of this experiment caused some of the students to speculate about marketing these types of tapai someday. "In order for it to be an alternative product that sells well, we can mix it with other ingredients to make cakes and other things," said Fatriasi while tasting the new food they had made.
Previously, Mukhlis had also been successful in teaching his students to produce energy from a battery made using bitter melon fruit. This was very much appreciated by the local government in Takalar. "The active learning approach that w use does indeed stimulate the students to be very creative," he said.