RECIPE OF THE MONTH: Balinese-style Paella

 

Paella

 

So here it is! Casa Luna’s signature dish, which was inspired by – you guessed it – a trip to
Spain. I devoured paella nearly every day when I visited in 1991, and in Madrid in the
midst of probably my tenth version, I had an epiphany, or rather one of those ‘what’s all
the fuss about this dish’ moments, and realised I could create a superb Balinese paella
adding a little mystique of the spice islands.

Our paella is an elegant celebration of seafood as well as a meeting of Bali and the
Mediterranean – the flash of the flamenco is introduced to the shimmer of the legong,
Bali’s famous traditional dance. It has been one of the most popular items on our menu
since we opened our large wooden doors in 1992. In actual fact, our dish is not truly a
paella, but a spiced mixture of fish, prawns, calamari, clams and vegetables in a rich
tomato sauce, served on a bed of fragrant yellow rice.

My advice when cooking this recipe is to be patient and walk, or rather, flamenco
through the list of ingredients. If it makes you feel more confident, do what the cooks in
the Casa Luna kitchen do, be cheeky, laugh, and crack some ribald Benny Hill-style jokes.

Add a glass of wine to that and you will make yourself a masterpiece!

TOMATO SAUCE

1 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional, for a deeper colour)
8 garlic cloves
8 red shallots, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated palm sugar
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons oil
125 ml oil
6 raw prawns, shelled and de-veined but heads left in tact
200 g white fish fillets, cut into fat chunks
6 garlic cloves chopped
2 medium red shallots, chopped
¼ medium onion, chopped
2 long red chillies, finely sliced
3 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
200mls chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
6 clams, boiled in salted water until opened
6 calamari rings
1 small carrot, julienned
15 snow peas
4 kaffir lime leaves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups hot Fragrant Yellow Rice (page 000)
lemon basil leaves
wedges of lime

Put the tomato sauce ingredients other than the oil in a food processor and blitz to a
chunky sauce.

Heat the oil in a wok over low heat.

Stir in the tomato sauce and bay leaves and simmer for around an hour, until the oil rises to the surface. Taste for seasoning and spoon into a bowl. Wipe out the wok.

To make the paella, heat the oil in the wok over medium heat and toss in the prawns.

Fry for a minute, or until their flesh has just turned white. Remove from the wok with a
slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.

Throw the chunks of fish into the wok and lower the heat a little. Toss around for
about 2 minutes, until just sealed all over. Remove to the plate of prawns.

Add the garlic, shallots, onion, chilli, lime leaves and ginger to the remaining oil in the
wok and toss around for 30 seconds.

Add 6 heaped tablespoons of the tomato sauce, along with the chicken stock ,
lime leaves and fish sauce and bring to a simmer.

Return the fish and prawns to the wok followed by the clams in their shells.

Simmer for a minute, then add the calamari, carrot and snow peas.
Cook until the calamari turns white. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the seafood and sauce on a bed of hot yellow rice. Scatter with lemon basil leaves

and serve with wedges of lime.

Serves 4

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Gado Gado

gado gado

Another Indonesian dish that varies from island to island. In Bali, Gado-Gado or jukut mesantok, as it is known in Bali, consist of spinach, bean sprouts, snack beans, tofu and rice cake. It is served in small warungs or sold by street vendors, who mix the sauce to order using a large mortar and pestle. It is then tossed with the vegetables and served in a banana leaf. In Java, Gado-Gado is served with a wider variety of vegetables, often including potato and cabbage. Therefore, the choice is yours.

Allow 200 grams of vegetables per person…..

Bean sprouts, spinach, beans, potato, broccoli, cauliflower
Cabbage, carrot, snow peas, cucumber, tomato wedges
Fried tempe or tofu, hard-boiled egg
Peanut sauce
Quartered or finely sliced krupuk udang (prawn crackers) or krupuk emping

Prepare the vegetables by boiling, steaming, and so forth.Slice  into bite-sized pieces or any manner you prefer and arrange on a platter, either in layers or mixed.
Top with fried tempe, tofu and hard-boiled egg, and pour peanut sauce over all. Garnish with shrimp crackers or fried shallot, wedges of tomato and cucumber.

To Serve : Gado-Gado may be served warm or chilled.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK | Fried noodles with caramelised cabbage (Mie goreng khol)

This is a super-simple dish that we often eat at home. It’s a snack food for us, but you can jazz it up and serve it topped with Pork belly and Balinese spices or throw in some additional ingredients such as tofu, scallops, roast duck or prawns. Personally, I like it simple, and when I feel like a bowl of soft noodles with the subtle bite of chilli, this is what I make. You can use egg noodles or even ‘mie instan’ as there’s no need to be snobbish about this one. The intention is that you can sit back, relax and indulge. Finish the noodles with a drop of sesame oil, sprinkle with your favourite chopped herbs, or add a teaspoon or two of Fried Sambal for extra kick.

Fried-noodles_blog

  • 150 g fresh noodles
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 5 red shallots, finely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 3 long red chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 small chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 small leeks or 1/2 large leek, finely sliced 500 g white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kecap manis
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • splash of chicken stock or water, if necessary 2 tablespoons fried shallots

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and fry the shallots and garlic for 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chillies and leek and toss for another 20 seconds. Add the cabbage, sauces and pepper and cook until the cabbage is wilted and soft. If it becomes dry, add some stock or water.

Add the noodles and toss until they are thoroughly mixed with the cabbage. You may prefer to take the wok off the heat while you do this if you are not able to work quickly. Tongs make tossing easier too. Then toss in half the fried shallots and stir-fry

Cook the noodles for another minute or two. Taste for seasonings and add salt or more sauces if needed. Serve garnished with the remaining fried shallots.

Serves 4

Discover more recipes in my book Bali: Food of My Island Home

RECIPE OF THE WEEK | Chargrilled squid

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.

Chargrilled-squid_blog

This is a simple marinade and you can add any additional herbs. A bonus is that the marinade can be prepared up to two weeks in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

MARINADE

  • 100 ml vegetable or peanut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1–2 tablespoons kecap manis
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, rolled into a bundle and finely shredded 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 kg squid, cleaned
Tomato Sambal (page 000) to serve lime wedges to serve

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Cut the squid into 10 cm tubes and quarter the tentacles lengthwise. Add to the marinade, coating well, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a barbecue grill. Lift the squid out of the marinade and place on the grill. Cook, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade, until golden brown and just cooked. It should only take a few minutes.

Serve with tomato sambal and wedges of lime.

Serves 4

Discover more recipes in my book Bali: Food of My Island Home

RECIPE OF THE WEEK | Green fried rice – Nasi goreng hijau

Perhaps Indonesia’s national dish, nasi goreng is enjoying a curious renaissance, appearing in all shapes and sizes across the archipelago in oh-so creative combinations of meats, herbs and garnishes. If you wander through the food courts of Indonesia’s glam shopping malls, you will see modern reinterpretations of it wherever you look. I recently found this particularly delicious nasi goreng on my travels in Jakarta. However, in the spirit of nasi goreng, feel free to add what you like (providing it tastes good!) as nasi goreng is all about experimentation.

Green-Fried-Rice_blog

SPICE PASTE

  • 2 red shallots or 1⁄2 onion, finely chopped 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large green chilli, sliced
  • 2 small green chillies, sliced (optional) 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped leek
  • 120 g shelled raw prawns, finely chopped
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, rolled into a bundle and finely shredded 11/2 cups chopped choy sum or bok choy
  • 1/4 cup snow peas, blanched
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1 teaspoon kecap manis
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped lemon basil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fried shallots to serve
  • 1 grilled extra-large prawn to serve
  • large krupuk to serve

Put the spice paste ingredients in a mortar and pound to a smooth paste, or blitz in a blender.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and fry the spice paste for about 30 seconds.

Add the leek and prawns, lime leaves and toss for about 30 seconds, then add the vegetables and sauces. Toss until the vegetables are barely cooked. Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon basil. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and more sauces if needed. Serve topped with fried shallots, the grilled prawn and krupuk.

Serves 1

Discover more amazing Indonesian recipes from my cookbook Bali: Food of My Island Home