After several days of chomping our way through glorious Balinese dishes, we decided to up it a notch and spend a morning learning what goes into these culinary wonders!
Payuk Bali Cooking Class offers a holistic tour into the average Balinese woman’s morning ritual. We were picked up at 8 a.m. and brought to the Ubud Market, where we were introduced to the staple ingredients used in their everyday cooking. It’s an exciting sight to see the locals haggling with the vendors for the best rates on the most vibrant of eggplants and the juiciest of rambutans!
After the market, we’re brought to a quick pit-stop by the paddy fields. A quick briefing sheds light to us on the connection between ducks and paddy fields in Bali. Turns out, these ducks are placed in areas to be regrown with paddy crops; the ducks peck away at the harvest leftovers and their droppings act as a natural fertilizer for the next planting season. Also, it’s pretty cool to see the natural spring water from the mountain being used as the water source for the paddy! The Balinese sure do natural best =)
Then, we are welcomed into a traditional Balinese home. Armed with a refreshing welcome drink, we settle down in the front courtyard to learn the art of making the omnipresent offering. Ours turned out rather haphazard, and it reminds us of just how much order and grace go into the everyday life of a Balinese.
Since coconut oil plays a central role in Balinese cooking, we were also introduced to the process of making your own coconut oil. Their tips on how to make the best coconut oil are much helpful, but due to the tediousness of the process, looks like we’ll still be getting our supplies from our local organic store for now =P
Moving on to the highlight of the morning: food preparation! The standard menu involves fried chicken as well as chicken soup, but they gladly cater to vegetarian requests, and so our tasks of the day involved cooking the below dishes:
- Base Gede (the mother of all Balinese spice mixes)
- Nasi Kuning (Yellow Rice)
- Gado Gado (Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce)
- Cram Cam (Clear Fish Soup with Vegetables)
- Sate Lilit (Grilled Fish Skewers)
- Deep Fried Tempe with a Sticky Sweet Glaze
- Kolak Pisang (Braised Bananas in Palm Sugar)
And it’s great to be able to do all this in such a serene kitchen. The open-air space is located in a lush, green garden.
No blenders and food processors allowed! Everything is chopped, ground and minced by hand.
Mincing tuna the traditional way!
Kind Wayan showing us the ropes on grinding spices.
And lastly comes the best part: LUNCH! All the food we cooked turned out superb (if we do say so ourselves! Haha) and best of all, the recipes are easily repeated for our use back in our own kitchens! At the end of the day, you can take home their recipe print outs, for future reference.
Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce
Deep Fried Tempe
What a meal!
The cooking class costs IDR 350,000 per person (approximately RM98), which includes pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Ubud, in addition to all the activities mentioned above. Lucky for us, we were the only ones joining the cooking class for the day (since January is low tourist season) and had the class all to ourselves =)
For further information on the cooking class, do check out their website at www.payukbali.com. For reviews on the class, their page on TripAdvisor should come in handy. They are also highly responsive via email, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.