In keeping with Hindu dietary restrictions, beef is seldom served in a Balinese household. That doesn’t mean it’s forbidden though! Meat in Bali, is always cooked with a pile of fresh spices that tenderize, preserve, uplift and nurture. It’s also about aiding digestion and a dash of tamarind, a few sprightly gingers and lemongrass will always help that process.
This recipe is a Balinese version of rendang and spotlights the acclaimed trio of galangal, turmeric and ginger, that constantly feature in Indonesian cooking. It has all the virtues of a slow-cooked stew; comforting, full of flavour, tender and deeply aromatic. It is also a joy to cook as the aroma that floats around the house, while the curry is simmering in the pot, is glorious.
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.
- 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.