I always enjoy cooking however very rarely get the chance to do so, and as such I like to try and do cookery classes when I’m on holiday, time (and finances!) permitting of course. When I read that there was a cookery lesson held in a local restaurant in Seminyak I was naturally keen and at $50 sgd or so pp we decided that we would book into learn about Indonesian cooking techniques and recipes. It took us rather a long time to locate the restaurant as we had decided to walk rather than get a taxi as we knew it was not far from the main road and we ended up arriving rather hot and stressed out as we had rushed so much yet still arrived 10 minutes late.
Luckily they hadn’t started without us, in fact they were waiting for another group to turn up and so we were able to relax and cool down with a beer until they decided that the other group had obviously changed their minds about attending (please never do this without informing the restaurant – they had clearly bought extra ingredients that although wouldn’t go to waste, could have been avoided) This fortunate (for us at least) turn of events meant that we had essentially a private cooking lesson for the 3 of us with the Chef and his lovely assistant.
He started by talking us through all of the ingredients and told us what we were going to be learning to make that day, 2 types of Balinese Sambals (sauces) Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles) Gado Gado and another Salad whose name I’ve forgotten! as well as Pepes Ikan – Fish Steamed in Banana Leaves, Tum Ayam – Minced Chicken Parcels, Be Celeng Base Manis – Slow Braised Pork Belly and Loin in Sweet Soy and Kueh Dadar (Pandan Pancakes filled with Coconut and Gulu Jawa or Palm Sugar Syrup)
First off we made the Steamed Fish Banana Leaf Parcels, I had really underestimated the amount of preparation and effort that goes into all these dishes, we made the spice mix from scratch, grinding it all up in a mortar and pestle (a real work out!) and then Marinated the Mahi Mahi in the mix before wrapping in the Banana Leaves and leaving to be steamed later.
Then it was onto the Pork in Sweet Soy, this needed less preparation than the Mahi Mahi, we just coated the Pork in the Sweet Soy and added the spices to some Chicken Stock and left to reduce while we cooked everything else. Next up, we took Minced Chicken Breast and Thigh Meat and added the Chicken Spice Mix (again that we had finely chopped and then ground in the mortar and pestle) before using the pestle to grind the Meat to an even finer consistency and then wrapping in the Banana leaves ready for steaming with the Fish.
The Mie Goreng was a far easier affair, lightly cooked Egg Noodles with Blanched and then Stir Fried Cabbage, Spinach, Carrot and Leek with Whole Egg, Sweet Soy and Fish Sauce. We had worked up quite an appetite by this point and so were able to sit and enjoy the Noodles while they were still hot which gave us the energy to continue some more!
Chef had told us that the Balinese would use 10 Chillis to make the Peanut Sauce for the Gado Gado and after a bit of negotiation, I was able to convince the others to let us try 7 (I wanted 10 but majority rules!) Even something “simple” like Peanut Sauce takes a lot of work, crushing the Chillis with the Roasted Peanuts, Garlic and Fried Shallots before adding Sweet Soy and using it to coat the vegetables in. Lightly Blanched Carrot, Spinach, Green Beans, Cabbage and Bean sprouts were mixed in and then topped with the Tofu, a Deep Fried, Hard Boiled Egg and some Tempeh before we drizzled some Sweet Soy over the dish and finally some Rice Crackers and a handful of Nuts, Yum!
The second Salad was very similar to one I had enjoyed in the Malaysian restaurant in Penang. Kang Kong (Water Spinach) 4 Winged Beans, Bean Sprouts and Green Beans mixed in with Chopped Coconut and Chilli and was a great refreshing dish to enjoy in the midday heat. After several hours of cooking we were finally onto Dessert, essentially a Classic Pancake coloured with Pandan Juice which we filled with the Coconut and Palm Sugar Syrup.
We all had a go at tossing the Pancake (one of my few skills in the kitchen!) and even learnt how to use a little Chocolate Essence and the Pancake mix to make patterns in the Pancakes while we cooked – very cool indeed!
And then came the eating!!! The food was just delicious, the effort had all been more than worthwhile and It definitely made me keen to try some of the recipes out when I am next at my parents house in the UK, the salads I would try again even in my little kitchen as they were just so jam packed full of flavours! Sate Bali was a great experience for us and the team there were so nice and friendly. I am so glad we chose to do this as it was one of the real highlights of my holiday!
Bookings can be made on (0361) 736734 and the restaurant is not far from Ku De Ta at 22 Oberoi, Seminyak.