I signed up to take a vegetarian Balinese cooking class here in Ubud. It was fantastic! I was actually the only student because it is low season here and got extra attention which was nice :) I made six dishes together with my teacher Ketut. But first, he took me to the market on his motorbike.
Here Ketut explained to me what all of the items were and how they were central to Balinese cooking. The water bottles full of liquid are homemade coconut oil that is extracted from mature coconuts. This oil is essential to Balinese cooking. Do you see all of the crispy little dried fish in the front?
We went back to the school and he had our ingredients laid out already. It was exciting to see a whole tumeric root, I had never seen one! And the ingredients on in the circle in the center there are all for making "garam masala" an Indian based spice mix.
Our first dish was vegetables with stir fried coconut, chilis and shallots.
Next was delicious corn fritters!
Then onto Gado Gado, a traditional Indonesian dish that always includes tofu, tempeh, vegetables, eggs and a tasty peanut sauce.
Then onto fried crispy tempeh here with spices and chilies, to die for. I love the way they cook tempeh here, sliced very very thin and fried until crispy, they often eat it as chips with a dip actually as an appetizer.
Then my favorite dish, tofu with a coconut curry. Mmmm, I even had to eat some before I took a picture!
For dessert, black rice pudding with a coconut cream.
Towards the end of the class, Ketut and I talked for quite a long time about his family, Balinese culture, the problem with AIDS in Bali right now, vegetarianism and sustainability... I felt like we both taught each other many things, not just about cooking. I so enjoyed this day and hope I can grace some of you with these tasty dishes when I see you again....