Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 2, 2010 Manggis, Bali: The Cooking Class

When we returned to the hotel from our visit to the market, we found the large center table in the dining room set up with burners, ulekan stones for grinding, woks, and ingredients laid out in small plastic dishes. We each donned an apron and settled into a work station.

After a short introduction to the ingredients we would be using and the various kinds of rice (5 out of the 12 kinds grown in Bali) and beans available in Bali, our first task was to make Bumbu Bali, a splendid combination of ginger, garlic, shallots, kencur, galengal, fresh turmeric, lemongrass, hot red chiles, candlenuts, nutmeg, tamarind, palm sugar, dried salam leaves, and shrimp paste. These ingredients, ground into a paste, form the basis for many Balinese dishes. Look at the next blog for more information and pictures.

Once the Bumbu Bali was simmering, we began to work our way through the remaining recipes, carefully following Chef Santika’s instructions.

Sate ayam, Chicken Skewers and Bumbu kacang, Peanut Sauce. These are the very same skewered bits of chicken you can find at any Thai restaurant. Peanut Sauce isn't really necessary because the chicken is marinated in the Bumbu Bali before being grilled. However, our chef chose to teach it to us because he knows that foreigners are so fond of it. Just delicious.

Cumi cumi isi bumbu Bali, Braised Squid Filled with Chopped Prawns. The top part of the squid is used as a pocket, filled with finely chopped prawns, closed with a toothpick, and steamed quickly. Meanwhile a sauce of Bumbu Bali, coconut milk, red chiles, tamarind paste, sweet soy sauce, and oyster sauce is simmered together. Before serving, it is poured over the squid.

Kare tahu dan tempe, Curry of Tofu and Soybean Cake with Long Beans and Jackfruit. Long beans are green beans almost a yard long.  I think they're tastier than our regular short green beans. The curry sauce is composed of Bumbu Bali, coconut milk, lemongrass, and a salam and a lime leaf. Once the tofu, tempe, and whatever vegetables you desire are stirred in, you can season it with tamarind, sweet soy sauce, and regular soy sauce. I loved the tofu part—I’m not so sure about tempe.

Sayur daun singkong, Cassava Leaves Braised in Coconut Milk. We stirred together the Bumbu Bali with a tomato and salt and then added the coconut milk and lemongrass until we had a delicious sauce to which we added greens (cassava or spinach or fern tips), the sweet soy sauce and some tamarind. This was a wonderful dish.

Nasi goreng, Indonesian Fried Rice. Each of us made our very own Nasi goreng using our wok and burner. When we finished, we packed the rice, chicken and shrimp mixture into a coconut shell bowl and turned it over onto our plates, forming a nice round mound. We decorated the mound with deep fried shallots and strips of egg.

The lunch was fantastic.

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