Garlic and kencur paste (Suna-cekoh)
Suna-cekoh consists of four main ingredients – garlic and kencur are the primary components, combined with turmeric and candlenuts. You can also add a pinch of Base Wangen (page 9) if you love peppery flavours. The intense, vibrant yellow paste has the most alluring, unusual fragrance. A small amount works wonders in peanut sauce and adds an element of luxury to vegetables, soy products and meat, especially chicken. Simmered with coconut milk and extra aromatics, it forms a divine glossy sauce to make you purr. At Casa Luna, we make the paste every morning and add it to many dishes on the menu to add extra flavour and a distinct aroma.… Read More
Base genep is a multi-layered spice paste that appears in many Balinese dishes, from elaborate ceremonial foods to everyday fare. It contains all the spices that are precious to the Balinese, and virtually every ingredient is armed with healing properties.
I admit, the list is a bit daunting, but put on some groovy music, pour yourself a glass of wine and plough forth with a smile on your face. You’ll see the paste is not difficult to make – on the contrary, it is even therapeutic and uplifting (cooking is as much about feeding the soul as it is about filling the tummy).
Grind the candlenuts, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cloves and sesame seeds to a powder in a large mortar.… Read More
Coconut Red Rice (Nasi Merah Mesanten)
This is based on a Sri Lankan milk rice that I tasted in Galle a few years ago. It is not unlike Nasi Uduk (page 78) except for the obvious difference of the grain and the fact that it is set to cool in a dish and served cut into diamonds. Red rice is wonderfully nutty and chewy and the addition of coconut milk adds a lovely creamy touch. Like brown rice, red rice is brimming with goodness and is perfect to serve to your vegetarian friends. This is especially delicious with soupy stews and creamy curries.
2 cups red rice, soaked for 30 minutes
2 pandan leaves, tied together in a loose knot
3 salam leaves
400 ml coconut milk, plus 3 tablespoons extra sea salt
Strain the rice and put it into a large heavy-based saucepan with the pandan and salam leaves.
Elegant, ivory white and melt in the mouth, this sublime treat is a blend of coconut and pandan – Asia’s classic dessert duo – tinged with the seductive surprise of orange. There is just enough gelatine to make the pannacottas voluptuous and not too firm (but if you live in the tropics as I do, you might need to add more). I love these served with a drizzle of palm-sugar syrup, but I also sometimes serve them topped with a spoonful of Black Rice Pudding (page 208) for a dramatic colour contrast. Either way, it is a dessert you almost have to dress up for!
The pannacottas set overnight so you need to begin this recipe a day ahead.… Read More
Coconut, grated In Bali, fresh coconut is always the starting point for recipes featuring coconut – whether it is grated or in the form of coconut milk. A coconut is split open and the flesh is priced out from the shell. The pieces are either left raw or roasted over a flame before being grated to add to salads or to use to make coconut milk. Away from the tropics, frozen pre-grated coconut is acceptable in recipes that call for grated coconut and can be found at Asian grocers. However, in recipes calling for fresh coconut to be roasted, it is best to seek out the real thing. Coconut milk Making coconut milk from grated coconut is a simple process that involves mixing the coconut with water and wringing it out to produce milk.… Read More
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This is one of the many barbecued dishes that are served by the sea at Jimbaran. In what
was formally a rustic coastal eating place dotted with simple grass huts, there are now
hundreds of bamboo tables and chairs perched on the sand, and tonnes of seafood being
served, from prawns to lobster and snapper to squid, for eager tourists. The secret at
Jimbaran is cooking the seafood over coconut husks for a delectable smokiness, and the
moist heat of the husks creates tender meat with glazed and burnished skin without
dryness. If you are flying into Denpasar at night, the smoke from the barbecues at
Jimbaran bay looks like an enormous bushfire.… Read More
I’m crazy about mie. Not mie as in me but mie as in Bakmi. I confess I am not an expert and I only like bakmi ayam, but, hey, that’s ok. I can think of worse addictions.
The secret is in the unctuous, full-flavoured, sweetly meaty, slow-brewed chicken stock . Then there is the quality of the noodles. Homemade are best and they should be not too fat, not too slender, somewhere between Hong Kong and Udon, and cooked al-soft-dente. From what I have seen, most mie sellers have the stock on a constant roll so the flavour intensifies into golden, brothy, velvety heaven.
Bakmi Roxy, in Cikini Raya, is a favourite and with a punchy name like that, how can you go wrong?… Read More
Never before has the word “organic” been more powerful in Ubud. Now a raw, vegan, fresh food destination, Ubud is spearheading the global “green” phenomena with world-class establishments dishing up their own versions of all that is healthy, chemical-free and locally grown.
Bali Buda has been serving vegetarian food for as long as I remember and have been a force behind the island-wide organic movement. They have so many tasty favourites, a range of gluten-free, raw cakes, breads and a health-food store alongside. If you are seeking anything organic, this is where you will find it.
Established in 2011, Alchemy is one of Bali’s first raw, vegan cafés. Salads bowls are the mainstay and are piled high in generous mountains of goodness alongside other hearty raw fare and smoothies in every colour.… Read More
I guess it’s because it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry that I’m dreaming of Mie. Not me as in me, but Mie as in noodles. Fat, soft, slurpy, deeply chicken-broth fragrant, Jakarta-style noodles. Now everyone has their favourite and feel free to overload my inbox with suggestions. When you love noodles, what to do! But I love Bakmi Roxy in Cikini, or maybe it’s the name I love (Whatever happened to Bryan Ferry?)
The meat really has to be chicken and simmered in a slow-brewed chicken stock. And when I say chicken, it has to be dark, moist, super-tasty thigh.
And it should be chunky, with attitude. A memorable thigh-rich journey.… Read More