|Magic Of grassroots dining|
I’m sitting at a table setting of genuine Balinese elegance, gazing through the wide green banana leaves, across a deep ravine towards tall coconut trees. The qualities of these trees have led the Balinese to describe them as “magical”.
I’m here because I came across a brochure advertising “Authentic Balinese Cooking in a traditional Balinese Village”, an all-day affair that includes personal pick up and delivery, a market tour, cooking class at the family compound and a guide tour through the rice fields, all for about $A35.
The enterprising Wayan and his wife puspa have created the package and they are determined to give you a wonderful experience. As promised, they picked me up at 8.15am sharp. Wayan is the driver and tour guide, he has good English and delivers an interesting description of village life and customs.
We make the first stop at the Ubud markets. Clearly, Puspa, who is the accomplished cooking teachers, is a regular and knows many of the people there. She identified and explained the use of spices, fruits, vegetables and also proved to be solid ally when it came to bargaining.
Everything Pupa buys is locally grown and she adheres to an organic philosophy.
“We have organic garden at home, so there are many things I do not have buy here,” she said.
Wayan talked about Balinese customs and the day’s program as we motored along in a modern 4WD. The narrow sealed road cut through field after field of rice paddies, past sarong-clad men who lifted their sinewy brown arms to wave, past women gracefully balancing palm woven baskets of fruit and rice on their heads and the acient, complex beauty of decaying temples.
The cooking classes are held at Wayan an Puspa’s family compound in the village of Laplapan.
Intrue Balinese style, the kitchen is outdoors, simple and effective. It is far more than minimalist, it is the unique, Balinese aesthetic.
Close to their organic herb garden and fruits trees, it’s the perfect place for a cooking class.
“BBC – Bamboo, banana and coconut, these are the magical trees,” Wayan said.
“We say they are magical because we use every part of these trees,” Puspa said.
After a magnificent welcome drinks of coconut juice and lime served inside the coconut, it’s time for leasson to begin.
The menu gives you a choice of dished to prepare: either clear vegetable soup with ginger and clove flavour: Kare Ayam – braised chicken in Balinese coconut milk sauce, of Sate Lilit Ayam – grilled minced chicken in Balinese spice and Pepes Ikan – grilled tuna on banana leaf. Dessert is Kolak Pisang – boiled banana in coconut milk and palm sugar served with grated coconut.
To varying extents, most of the recipes use this home – grown organic oil. Puspa and assistant chef Nuyman are fanatical about creating and using their own products rather than shop purchases. They’re also fastidious with hygiene, the kitchen is spotless.
There’s plenty of cutting, mortar and pestle work to be done. It’s as fun as the delicious taste testing.
“When lunch is served, Puspa insists you eat with ease.
“Just take your time, slowly. Slowly,” she says and means it.
Ahh…the pleasures of savouring exotic taste in paradise.
A rich Balinese coffee is offered along with a choice of herbal teas. I drink my coffee black and it complements the sweet bananas dessert.
Afterwards, I’m ready for a tour of the rice paddies. Wayan tends the family rice plot and he spoke of rice with respect and indeed love, sharing details of the growth cycle and its idiosyncrasies.
· Gail Forrer – Arnold was an independent traveler.
IF YOU GO
· The Paon Bali Cooking classes: Morning classes and late afternoon classes from 4pm
· Price from about $35 per person
· Include: all ingredients, meal, market and rice paddy tour
· Pick up available island wide (Free in Ubud area)
· Email for info: contact us
NOOSA NEWS – June 4,2010