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This first recipe / post of mine for 2012 pays homage to the place that is very dear to my heart…BALI!
My LOVE affair with Bali
Ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you that when it comes to Bali I am a huge fan! In fact it’s fair to say that when it comes to holidays destinations it ranks in the top 5 places to travel.
I was first introduced to Bali by my husband back in 2002. Swimmers, sun lotion and good books in hand we set off for the ‘island of the gods’.
The trip was amazing, the culture, the food, the sights, sounds and smells, just gorgeous! I love how Bali made me feel, how the people that I met were so giving, but most of all I fell in love with the food!
I loved being on ‘Bali-time’ (this means no watch required) and getting lost amongst the side-winding paths to find tiny street vendors selling delicious food, the ‘real’ Balinese food! I have to be honest, one of my pet hates when I travel is seeing tourist go out for dinner and order what they can widely order back at home! I mean what it the point?
Travelling for me means submerging myself into the culture and people as much as possible and food is very much apart of that. I can order a burger or pasta any time at home!
It was during that first trip when Dwaine and I were holidaying in Ubud that we were told by our friend Made Dampol to visit a restaurant called ‘Indus’ which is run by renowned chef and Aussie ex-pat Janet De Neefe.
To say that it was an amazing experience was an understatement! The atmosphere, the service and most of all the food was amazing! The restaurant overlooks the Tjampuhan river, when you walk into it you have no idea what beauty awaits yout towards the end of the courtyard and balcony. The menu is to die for, Balinese yet with a modern twist. Dwaine and I have visited Indus on every visit to Bali. Out most recent was in 2010 for Dwaine’s 40th birthday. We were accompanied by Dwaine’s good friend Vincent Taylor (a pretty awesome photographer! and his beautiful wife Amelia).
When in Ubud I highly recommend visiting this restaurant!
The shot below is the view from the balcony of the restaurant.
View from Indus balcony
What on earth? I hear you ask.
When I first saw Jenet De Neffe’s book ‘BALI’ in the store I was like a child in a candy shop! I basically ran home with the book in hand and studied it from page to page,drooling over which recipe I would make first, a little difficult considering they all look good!
Book in hand, and child free weekend, I wanted to start with something that I could manage, something that was spicy and versatile, so Base Genep seemed line the perfect first recipe.
Base Genep is the traditional spice paste that the Balinese use to flavour many of their dishes with. I have eaten it before in various dishes but never cooked it myself. It translates to The Complete Spice Mix.
Ingredient list in hand I was off and running…until I hit a brick wall called kencur root! Yep! Absolutely no one sells it within a 30 km radius of me! I went into all sorts of Asian shops and most of the people looked at me as if I was speaking another language. Luckily Janet states that if you can’t find kencur not to worry about it.
I have to agree with Janet that “the ingredients list was a bit daunting” BUT me being the student and her being the teacher I followed her instructions to the nth degree, which included grabbing a glass of wine (mine was large) and working through everything in your mortar.
I soon found myself working up a horrible sweat pounding all the ingredients together. I did think of throwing everything into the electric mixer… but that just defeated the purpose of everything. If my food was going to taste great I had to work at it!
About 20 min into it I had the most amazing, aromatic and HOT smelling paste! Be warned…it’s definitely not for the faint hearted…but it tastes awesome in a variety of recipes and forms the most amazing base!
Paste in hand my world was now open to a variety of different dishes…Sate Lembat Ayam, meaning Minced Chicken Sate…and OMG is this dish to die for! It’s simple but very tasty!
To Janet…an amazing book! I cant wait to do your cooking school on my next trip to Bali! And I look forward to cooking my way through the book in 2012.