Tasty Days at Natsir’s



It was almost the end of our stay in Makale. Natsir really cared about filling our backpacks with natural goods from his garden. Thus, we spent an entire evening and morning making coconut oil, cinnamon, turmeric and coffee. Soon, family and neighbors joined in the process. That specific attitude is one we often admired in Indonesia: when someone is in need, they simply sit – pardon me – they squat, and help out.

Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is commonly used for hair and skin care. We recentely found out that it is also an ideal base to make toothpaste (1) and deodorant (2).

Procedure (2 liters):

  1. Grate 12 coconuts in a big bowl
  2. Sprinkle some boiled water and mix
  3. Put two handfuls in a clean cloth
  4. Squeeze hard to get the milk out
  5. Boil the milk in a wok and stir for 2 h
  6. Strain to separate the oil from the remains
  7. Place the remains in a cloth and squeeze

Note that this technique is used to obtain coconut oil as quickly as possible with basic amenities. The downside is that you can only preserve it for one month. In Bali, we later found out that, to make it last longer, they simply let the coconut milk rest for one or two days – until the oil naturally separates from the milk.



Cinnamon has been used for centuries in traditional medicine in Asian cultures. Among its various benefits, we eventually learned in Java that it can be used as a facial mask to rejuvenate skin when pounded together with rice.


  1. Scrape the cortex of a cinnamon tree
  2. Slice the cinnamon cortex in long and thin sticks
  3. Let the cinnamon sticks dry in the sun for 3 days
  4. Use as is to make spicy tea or drinks
  5. Pound to obtain cinnamon powder



Turmeric is an exceptional antioxidant. In Europe, turmeric powder is commonly used to season food. At Natsir’s we discovered that fresh turmeric can make delicious tea when mixed together with lemon grass and palm sugar.


  1. Extract turmeric from the soil
  2. Wash it and slice it
  3. Dry in the sun for a week
  4. Pound to obtain cinnamon powder



Toraja is an ideal place to cultivate coffee producing some of the best beans in the country. Locals drink as many coffees per day as the average Italian, but instead of espresso their style is more americano.


  1. Sort out the coffee beans (dark or broken ones are bad)
  2. Wash the coffee beans
  3. Dry them in the sun
  4. Roast them until they become black
  5. Pound to obtain coffee powder

Understanding the origin and work involved in the products we consume on a daily basis has one look at things in a very different way. Not to talk about the pride felt when using or eating something you picked yourself in nature and turned into a pleasure.


Terima Kasih Natsir.

(1) Mix 2 tbs of coconut oil, 2 tbs of baking soda and 10 drops of peppermint oil.

(2) Mix coconut oil, corn starch and baking soda. Add essential oils to your liking.