Open access peer-reviewed chapter - ONLINE FIRST

Betutu: Balinese Traditional Food and Its Prospects for Our Health

Written By

I. Made Sugitha, Ni Wayan Wisaniyasa and I. Putu Suparthana

Submitted: 08 May 2022 Reviewed: 21 June 2022 Published: 26 August 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.106000

Health Risks of Food Additives - Recent Developments and Trends in Food Sector IntechOpen
Health Risks of Food Additives - Recent Developments and Trends i... Edited by Muhammad Sajid Arshad

From the Edited Volume

Health Risks of Food Additives - Recent Developments and Trends in Food Sector [Working Title]

Dr. Muhammad Sajid Arshad and Mr. Waseem Khalid

Chapter metrics overview

111 Chapter Downloads

View Full Metrics


One of the traditional Balinese foods is called betutu, which is unique in its manufacture, appearance, flavor, taste, and religious value. It is made from a whole chicken, which is cleaned in the grease and filled with spices called base genep, then it is sewn up, tied, and wrapped in upih, then buried in rice husks with gradual heat up to 200oC for 12 hours. The combination of base genep, meat, and upih produce a soft meat texture (with a nutritional value in 100g: protein 20.61; fat 7.82; carbohydrates 4.52; and energy 170.98 kcal) are appetizing and easily separated from the bones.


  • Betutu
  • whole meat chicken
  • buried 12 hours under husk coal
  • base genep
  • appetizing taste
  • food traditional

1. Introduction

One of the traditional Balinese foods (Duck Betutu) that already has a name at the national level and among foreign tourists [1]. North Bali is better known as an agricultural area compared to southern Bali which, was an art area that is famous for being a tourist destination in Bali. The people’s livelihood in Busungbiu, which is one of the sub-districts of Buleleng Regency, is farming in general; whether rice farming, gardening coffee, cocoa, and others in the fields

To be grateful for the abundant harvest, there is a ritual called Ngerasakin at the Tumpek wariga celebration at the temple in the garden with the main facility being betutu. This ritual is aimed at the goddess of prosperity, so that the next harvest will increase. Farmers will have party/eat together in the garden after the ritual is over, led by a priest/stakeholder.

In the topic, we explained the special method for the betutu manufacturing process, such as Betutu Keren Pak Rizal Tampaksiring Gianyar [2]. It was one of the traditional, unique, and exotic culinary that cooked for 12 hours, covered with coals of husks, to produce an extraordinary quality, that is, appetizing. But now, betutu is growing rapidly in accordance with technological advances, quickly and effectively, which does not forget its traditional elements, so that consumers and tourists can enjoy betutu in tourist area restaurants [1].


2. Poultry

Poultry meat is a commodity with a soft texture, easy to digest, and contains protein with complete amino acids, which are needed for growth, maintaining health, and increasing life prospects. Poultry meat is distinguished from ground poultry (chicken) and waterfowl (duck). The Balinese Hindu community believes that the temperament of the two kinds of birds were different, namely, chickens: rude behavior and likes to fight, while ducks are very disciplined and smart, and can distinguish between food and unfood when looking for food in the water. Based on this belief, Hindu priests/prayer leaders at Bali were prohibited from consuming chicken meat and preferably duck meat, one of which is duck betutu.

The quality of the two poultry meat is slightly different, duck meat (protein 10.9; 35.8% fat), while chicken meat (20.6–23.4% protein; 4.7–1.9% fat) [3]. Protein and fat are nutritional components of poultry meat related to the taste of processed products. Fats and oils are food substances that are important for maintaining the health of the human body. In addition,, fats and oils are also a more effective and efficient source of energy. During digestion, fat can delay hunger longer than carbohydrates and protein, as a shortening agent, it will tenderize the meat when mixed with protein.

Aliphatic aldehyde compounds are volatile compounds that contribute to producing flavor/odor in foodstuffs produced from the oxidation process of unsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic acid (4.2%), linoleic acid (2.4%), linolenic acid (1.4%), and arachidonic acid (0.2%). However, these compounds are used as flavor carriers that absorb the flavor of the environment. With the presence of a base genep that is inserted in the abdominal cavity and the outside of the chicken, so that during the cooking process of betutu, the aldehyde compounds produce a special aroma and provide a delicious specific taste.


3. Processing and prospects

Betutu comes from the word Be (chicken/duck meat) and strung together with the word Tunu (baked) means that: meat is burned (be tunu or should betutu) [4], it’s just that the combustion process is different from other products. This is the uniqueness of betutu that can give a special flavor, taste, and appearance on the earth of Nusantara. Initially, betutu was made from duck meat, which was burnt/cooked in a pit filled with husks (Figures 1 and 2) for 12 hours as a means of praying. After the ritual ended it was especially consumed by the priests to behave in a good holly manner inaccordance with the duck’s habitat (purified animals, smart: can distinguish between food and dirt in cloudy water; and discipline: marching, not in group).

Figure 1.

Burner hole with husk.

Figure 2.

Opening burner hole.

3.1 Materials and tools

Chicken (1.5 kg) or 1 duck (2.0 kg)

Cassava leaves

Paso (basin made of soil media)



Upih (betel nut), banana leaves

Rope as big as paso size

Rice husks/husk coals, coconut fibers and others

Hole in the ground (40x40 cm) according to the size of the paso

Cooking oil

Salam leaves

Base genep (complete seasoning), consisting of :

  • Garlic, 3% salt, to taste

  • Shallots, 4.5%

  • Candlenut 1.5%

  • Cayenne Pepper, 2.5%

  • Coriander, 0.5%

  • Ginger, 2.5%

  • Cloves, 2 pieces

  • Turmeric, 2%

  • Nutmeg, 4 thin slices

  • Galangal, 2%

  • Brown sugar, 1%

  • Tabya bun, 6 sticks (1 cm)

3.2 Processing procedure

  1. The slaughtered chicken is cleaned of: feathers, the stomach is opened, the innards are removed, the beak and hard skin of the legs are peeled off, then water is sprayed from the mouth through the throat, chest cavity to the cloaca along with the entire body surface clean of dirt.

  2. All components of the base genep (Figure 3) are chopped (finely chopped), then added coconut oil while continuously stirring until smooth.

  3. Take the chicken (1), massage it hard with a mixture of coconut oil and salt for softening the tissue, so the joint muscles are not stiff, then smeared with half the portion of base genep (2).

  4. Cassava leaves (if necessary) are squeezed firmly until soft, the cyanide acid content which is dark green in color comes out, then kneaded with the remaining base genep (2) put into the cavity of the chicken stomach/until it is full.

  5. Make sure the abdominal cavity is full, and there are no empty gaps, then sew tightly, so that the stuffing does not come out. Tie the body of the chicken in a position arranged in such a way that knees bent at the stomach as if holding its neck.

  6. Prepare a hole in the soil made of cement (Figure 1) covered with aluminum foil before placing the upih package. Place the upih package (6) in the hole and tightly cover with paso, then fill it with husks to the brim and enough for 12 hours of burning. During the process, the husk coals are ensured to keep transferring heat gradually up to 2000C for tenderizing the meat until it cooks with good quality with an appetizing aroma.

  7. The husk coals are carefully dismantled (Figure 2) so that the ashes do not contaminate the betutu when the upih packages are opened. Its uniqueness that the combination of base genep and upih flavor givea unique aroma, as well as a pleasant smell and taste in each piece of meat, easy to peel (separate from the bone) with a soft texture (Figure 4). In general, this betutu is ready to be served for 4–6 consumers.

Figure 3.

Ingredients for base genep.

Figure 4.

The betutu appearance after the husks are unloaded, the paso is opened.

Currently, the making of betutu has been changed to be effective and efficient in accordance with technological developments, principally the process was the same but several stages can be replaced with a simpler way, replaced by technology, in order to produce betutu with maximum quality. Several its processes are developed at the following stages:

  1. Before using base genep, fry briefly in excess oil, and add lemongrass and ginger paste while stirring until fragrant. This spice is used in the process of making the next betutu.

  2. After the chicken belly is wrapped and the whole-body surface is covered with spices, tie the legs, wings, and neck of the chicken tightly in a certain position and then wrapped in banana leaves, then steamed for 1 hour or boiled until the meat is soft, the spices are absorbed and cooked.

  3. Baking over coals (medium heat) or in the oven for 45–60 minutes, after the steamed or boiled chicken, is wrapped again with banana leaves or aluminum foil if the package is damaged. The quality of the betutu using the two methods is slightly different, that which is grilled over coals gives a more attractive appearance with a better flavor, compared to that in the oven which shows a higher level of sanitation


4. Scientific study

4.1 Serving method

Each betutu thigh is pulled to the side until the chest is separated from the thigh, so that the cooked betutu meat is yellowish brown, then the chest meat is pulled to the side, so that the contents of the abdominal cavity in the form of boiled cassava leave are sticking out. Consumers who are impatient, cannot stand the sight of betutu's appearance that emits an attractive smell and flavor, just pinch the thigh meat and it will peel off along with the base genep. As if the meat has been mashed ready to eat. The mixture of rice and betutu presence adds to the pleasure of being grateful for the abundant harvest, which is a gift from Ida Hyang Widhi Wasa (The Most Gracious God) (Figure 5).

Figure 5.

Betutu is ready to eat.

4.2 Appearance

The appearance of the external parts: proportional and soft shape with brownish yellow color, reflecting the selection of the right chicken/duck at the age of slaughter and cooked in a way according to the condition of the equipment and materials used. The inside shows that the chicken/duck meat is cooked evenly with a soft texture, brownish white/gray in color and not hard, and the meat is easily separated from the bones, with a distinctive aroma and taste. Heating in the cooking process causes fat, protein, and other meat components to undergo chemical decomposition to produce a certain taste in the meat.

4.3 Worth eating

Betutu suitable for consumption are those that still meet food safety requirements, due to good storage and cooking processes. The use of excess heat causes the ripening process to become unbalanced between the outside and the inside, or to cook unevenly (Table 1).

Energy170,98 kkal
Water60,87 g
Protein20,61 g
Fat7,82 g
Carbohydrate4,54 g

Table 1.

Nutrition value of 100 g betutu.

Suter et al. [4].

This means that spoilage microbes will quickly develop if the betutu is stored in unsuitable conditions, and the increased activity of toxins that stimulate spoilage will harm consumers.


5. Development

By referring to the hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP), it can be ascertained that the resulting betutu has an excellent quality in terms of aroma, taste, and appearance. This method is very necessary to maintain the quality of the appearance and taste of betutu. In general, traditional foods do not have standards, at least the principle of manufacture refers to the origin of the product name (Betutu).

Some of the important things that must be done are analyzing the hazards that need to be considered during the manufacturing process to be distributed to consumers, as well as determining the risks and how to prevent them. Manufacturers must be able to identify critical quality control points (CCPs), so that temperature and baking time regulation is effective and profitable. Therefore, it is necessary to develop guided monitoring and implementation procedures for HCCP. If there is a process deviation, careful and precise handling is able to maintain quality standards.

The development of science and technology will conflict with the customs, traditions, and habits of the people who do not pay attention to nutrition directly. Starting from the use of materials and equipment, such as types of chicken, cooking utensils, and ovens, including setting the temperature and cooking time. Likewise, with the cooking process, which is now increasingly modern, various innovations are also carried out, such as steaming, boiling, and cooking in the oven, to accelerate the absorption of spices so that it is more practical and faster. Young chicken meat contains the highest water content is about 71%, adult chicken is 66%, and old chicken is 56%, while the average adult local chicken contains 20.5% protein and 2.7% fat. Meanwhile, mature to old local chicken carcasses have a moisture content of 60–66%, which improves texture, taste, and flavor. Local chicken meat is still preferred by Indonesian people compared to purebred chicken. This is because native chickens are actively looking for food, so that the fat content is low, the lactic acid content is high and the meat is tougher.

However, to produce betutu that is suitable for eating wherever consumers are (outside Bali and outside the archipelago), instant betutu through the process of cooling, freezing, or storage in the freezer will reach consumers with quality, that is, suitable for consumption (Figure 6).

Figure 6.

To taste Betutu(a) at home industry. Betutu Keren(b).


6. Functions and benefits

6.1 Custom/religious

At first, the existence of betutu was closely related to a traditional event known as the feast of honoring the source of prosperity for the harvest from the garden [4], and Hindus celebrated it in the garden as Tumpek Pengatag. The celebration comes once every 610 days on Saturday Keliwon Wuku Wariga.

Currently, betutu has been commercialized because of its appetizing taste and aroma, but the development of food technology requires us to be more practical and effective. Thus, people can consume betutu whenever and wherever they are. Thus, betutu is not only needed for traditional-religious events, but consumers also want to enjoy it for their daily needs as a distraction/family menu [5].

6.2 Health

Realizing that betutu is one of the foods that are expensive sources of animal protein, which is needed by the body to maintain our health that easily damaged, the sanitation process must be carried out as optimally as possible, so that damage can be avoided, nutrition is improved, and health is guaranteed.

6.3 Socio-economic

Associated with ritual activities that involve many people, especially gardeners and neighbors, so that a sense of togetherness in land management remains well established in a family manner. Nutrition and public health are well maintained to carry out maximum activities as farmers. Currently, the commercialization of betutu through restaurants will increase the assets of the Balinese people, so that it can indirectly improve welfare [1].


7. Conclusion

Based on the existence of betutu for the community, it is very important, and it should be developed in accordance with technological advances without reducing its quality. In fact, its use has been increased to become one of the traditional foods’ multi-functions depending on the nutritional components, the active components contained in the betutu. It is recommended that involving lactic acid bacteria in the manufacturing process to extend the self live will have a positive impact on public health.


  1. 1. Nyoman SI. Cultural Aspects of Traditional Balinese Food in Supporting Tourism Programs in Cultural Dynamics. Udayana: Research Institute of Udayana University Denpasar; 1998
  2. 2. Betutu Chicken, a Symbol of Holiness in a Plate of Delicious Dishes.
  3. 3. Mutiara N. Knowledge of Animal Food Ingredients. Yogyakarta: Graha Ilmu; 2012
  4. 4. Ketut SI, Sugitha IM, Arga IW, Tengah IG, Kencana N, Wardi N, et al. Traditional Balinese Food: A Study of Social Aspects Culture, Economy, Processing, Efficacy and Safety. Udayana: Center for Traditional FoodUniversitas Udayana Studies, Research and Community Service Institute, Udayana University; 2010
  5. 5. Duck Betutu Typical Gianyar, cooked for 12 hours.

Written By

I. Made Sugitha, Ni Wayan Wisaniyasa and I. Putu Suparthana

Submitted: 08 May 2022 Reviewed: 21 June 2022 Published: 26 August 2022