© 2012 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_bali_ubud_40

Bali – Ubud – 13th Feb

Through Nirwa Homestay we found out about a cooking class ran by one of their close friends, the Payuk Bali restaurant which seemed like a good option for us. We were picked up after breakfast at around 8.30am. From the start we knew we were going to be having a really good laugh, the owner was very funny and we he understood us well.

Our first stop was the local market in his home village, he took us around the various market stalls showing us the different vegetables, herbs, spices and fruit that are all grown throughout Bali. It was a pretty dirty market and very local which was a nice change from the busy tourist markets in Ubud. The stall owners again were really accommodating and happy for us to be there, we were the only westerners in the area which again was a nice change.

He’d already picked up the vegetables fresh that morning at 4am and so there was no need for us to pick anything up they just wanted to show us around. Our next stop was a pleasant surprise he took us into the elementary school in the village, the same school that he attended when he was a child. It was lovely to be there and to interact with the children’s plus it was no problem for the teachers for us to be there looking around. He then explained about the rice that grows in Ubud, the main crops and how the community help to harvest the rice together for no payment other than a portion of the rice crop.

When we arrived at his family home compound he explained to us about the family temple, why they do offerings and we also learned that due to the relaxed life of the Balinese his grandmother was still alive at 111! It wasn’t her who helped Helen with the making of her offerings perhaps his mother but it was really nice to take the time to make the traditional offerings together and she even planted a few Indonesian flowers in Helen’s hair.

We watched a display of coco-nut oil being reduced down for the production of their weekly cooking oil and we also learned about the roasting of Bali coffee following this with a cup of the freshly ground stuff and some deliciously fried bananas in palm sugar honey. This was enjoyed at the back of the family compound where they have a stunning location for a restaurant with an open kitchen, this is where we would be learning to cook.

Here’s what we learned to cook:

  • Base Gede – the multi-purpose spice made into a paste from ingredients such as ginger, galangal, turmeric, chilli, garlic, shallot, nutmeg, lemongrass and so on. The list of ingredients for this paste is long. We had to grind it all together using a motor and pestle.
  • Sup Timun – or cucumber soup as we would know it, including black eyed peas, red beans and coconut milk along with the main base gede paste.
  • Nasi Kunung (yellow rice) The method of making yellow rice using coconut cream, lime and bay leaves and the base gede. We were particularly drawn to their original-looking rice cooker/steamer.
  • Gado Gado – one of the all time traditional Indonesian dishes, a vegetable salad with peanut sauce. The vegetables are all blanched in preparation for the salad and served with a boiled egg plus tempe fried in coconut oil. The peanut sauce was a little like making the paste but with pre-fried peanuts, garlic, shallot, aromatic ginger, brown sugar, fresh lime and chilli.
  • Sate Lilit – minced fish on a skewer. We see this all the time on the street stalls, fish satay as we may know them to be called. We had to really mince the fish using a large scale mortar and pestle and long piece of coffee tree branch. By hand the tuna fish was mixed in together with the base geed, an egg, lime juice, fried shallot, palm sugar and coconut milk. We then cooked them lightly on the barbecue. They were better tasting when first cooked.
  • Pasen be Pasih / Pepes Ikan (grilled fish in banana leaf) Again with tuna fish, base geed, bay leaves and 1 tomatoe, the mixture was bound together and steam cooked in banana leaves.

We also cooked a Balinese style chicken dish which was perhaps our favourite of them all, and a sweet desert in the form of braised banana in palm sugar sauce. All the dishes were cooked collectively so we would each have a part in the final piece. We could taste the flavours along the way and decide whether more salt should be added and so on. And at the end we were more than happy to sit in their restaurant overlooking the tropical jungle and enjoying the fine food.

The only other thing left to complete our cultural experience in Ubud for us was to go and watch a traditional Balinese dance. We didn’t have to look very far as our home stay hosts recommended that we go to the fire dance taking place at the temple next door. It cost 80,000 IDR each per ticket and without going into too much detail we thoroughly enjoyed it. From having seen bits of the show at the Royal Palace, this show was much less of a grand affair and the main soundtrack was provided by a large group of men all acting as monkeys in the story.

As with all of these things there is a plot and a romance and death, a little like their own version of Romeo and Juliet. It was very well done though and at the end of the performance there was a trance dance using piping hot coconut shavings for the performer to kick through and dance within. It was totally bizarre and like nothing we had seen before. It was way better than we thought it was going to be.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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One Comment

  1. Posted 26 Mar ’12 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    thanks have came to payuk bali home cooking class
    so with the good oportunity I can teach you about Balinese cuisine. and added your experience during stay in Bali
    I just can say you happy and healthy forever and I hope we can met again in Bali

    Warm wishes from Bali

    Ketut Budi
    chef and cooking instructor payuk bali

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