For the first time in our travels, we tried a cooking class as a way of immersing ourselves into the local culture. And in many ways, food became conversation. We learned a little about the village customs and cooking techniques that our teacher, Putri had learned from her mother-in-law. We were also humbled to find that just the previous day, she had cooked for hundreds of people and was a sought after cook in the village.
We created a total of 4-5 dishes out of table of ingredients. One of my favorites was learning how to make sambal from scratch. We ground fresh ingredients from the garden in a wide, volcanic mortar and pestle shown below until a smooth consistency was formed. It was a bit of an art learning the motions with the mortar and pestle, where I’d have to say my husband caught on faster than I did. I needed two hands!
Here’s an example of the process we took for one sambal. We cut a few vegetables together, boiled, removed skins, and proceeded to grind them down into a smooth paste:
We used this sambal with freshly made tempeh, lightly fried in some homemade coconut oil. Compared to tempeh at home, this tempeh has intact soybeans.
steamed fish in sambal & banana leaf
I’ve always wanted to learn this dish. For vegetarians, we made a variation as an egg curry with diluted sambal fried in coconut oil. As we learned, they love frying in Bali.
I thought the corn fritters were rather unique. By combining corn kernels cut from the cob, spices, and a little flower, we fried these fritters in coconut oil. They’re great as a main or appetizer.
After several hours of cooking, we gathered our spread and set the table for dinner.