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Thursday Morning Farmer's Market Visitation and Cooking at Casa Luna Cooking School

My second experience attending the Casa Luna Cooking class in Ubud was even more special as I had the pleasure of bringing along my daughter. Together, we embarked on a culinary adventure that involved exploring the vibrant farmer's market and honing our cooking skills at the Honeymoon Guesthouse Cooking Studio. The Thursday morning class promised to be an exciting one, with a lineup of mouthwatering dishes including Chicken Curry, Coconut and Anchovy Sambal, Wok-fried Eggplant, Tofu Fritters, Bean-Coconut Salad, Sambal, and Sago Pudding.


Ubud Farmer's Market

Before the cooking class, my daughter and I visited the nearby farmer's market to understand where the Ubud villagers buy the freshest ingredients and spices. The market was a sensory feast, with vibrant colors adorning each stall, the fragrant aroma of exotic spices filling the air, and the lively chatter of locals and tourists alike. Our Casa Luna market tour guide skillfully navigated us through the bustling aisles, stopping at various stalls to share intriguing stories and insights about the ingredients. One of the key lessons we learned during our market visit was the importance of using fresh and high-quality ingredients in Balinese cooking.


All the spices for each dish

The moment we entered the class, we were warmly welcomed and served a refreshing drink, a delightful Hibiscus Tea, a refreshing concoction made by steeping a red hibiscus flower in boiling water and adding sugar and lemon or lime juice. Then, our favourite cooking instructor, Ibu Yude, began the class by enlightening us about the various spices used in Balinese cooking and their significance in different dishes. My daughter was fascinating to discover the intricacies behind the flavors she was about to explore. We learned about the nuances of each spice, how to handle them, and the importance of balance and harmony in achieving the perfect taste. The instructor's depth of knowledge and her ability to convey it with such enthusiasm made the learning experience truly engaging.


My daughter making sambal paste

Ibu Yude guided us through each recipe, sharing invaluable tips and techniques along the way. Together, we chopped, stirred, and simmered our way to creating aromatic Chicken Curry, rich Coconut and Anchovy Sambal, flavorful Wok-fried Eggplant, crispy Tofu Fritters, refreshing Bean-Coconut Salad, spicy Sambal, and delightful Sago Pudding. The classroom was filled with tantalizing aromas.


The day's cooking class dishes ready for lunch

To my delight, Ibu Yude remembered my passion for cooking from my previous visit. As a gesture of her kindness, she graciously shared an additional recipe from the beginner's class (nasi goreng, krupuk, chicken satay, peanut sauce and fruits in coconut milk), knowing it would bring me joy. Her thoughtfulness and genuine care for her students made the experience even more memorable and personalized.

Attending the Casa Luna Cooking class in Bali for the second time, and this time with my daughter, gave us not only treasured memories but also the anticipation of future culinary endeavors, confident that we had found a place that would continue to inspire and nourish our love for cooking.


Recipes

Kare Ayam

Kare Ayam (Chicken Curry)

Balinese chicken curry is lighter than its Indian counterpart. The chicken can be substitute with other meat, fish, seafood or vegetables.


Ingredients:

750g chicken thigh, skin removed

3 Salam leaves

1 stalk lemongrass, knotted

4 lime leaves

2 tsp tamarind

1 cup coconut milk

2 cups water

5 tbsp oil for frying

Sea salt

Spices:

5 small red shallots

7 small cloves garlic

3 large red chillies

2-3 bird's eye chillies

2 tbsp ginger

3 tbsp galangal

3 candlenut

1 tbsp fresh turmeric

1/2 tomato

2 stalks of lemongrass

1/4 tsp shrimp paste

3 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 cup cumin

1 tbsp palm sugar


Preparations:

  1. Blend all the spices in the container of a food processor until paste-like. Add a little water if necessary.

  2. Bruise the extra lemon grass and tie into a loose knot.

  3. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium flame. Throw in the spice paste, lemongrass, lime leaves and Salam leaves. Cook them until fragrant and shiny, making sure they don't burn on the base of the wok.

  4. Add the chicken and toss around until sealed and white on the outside. Add 2 cups of water and boil for about 15 min or until the meat is cooked and the water has evaporated.

  5. Add coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes before turning off. Don't boil it otherwise it will curdle. Add sea salt for taste. Serve topped with shallots.

Note: potatoes, beans or carrots may be added, or tempe/tofu may be used as a meat substitute.


Terong Goreng

Terong Goreng (wok-fried eggplant)

This recipe can be made with any vegetables or even meat.


Ingredients:

2 small white eggplants or one medium black eggplant

2 shallots

4 garlic cloves

2 large red chillies

2 small chillies

1/2 tomato, sliced finely

2 salam leaves

1/2 tsp shrimp paste or 1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp light soy

1/2 tsp Kecap Manis

2 lime leaves

3 tbsp cooking oil

1/4 cup water

Sea Salt


Preparations:

  1. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and then finely sliced into thin half moon shapes. Sprinkle with salt and set aside. Wash with water and pat dry.

  2. Slice the shallots, garlic, chilli and tomato finely.

  3. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium flame. fry the shallots and garlic for 30 sec. Stir the ingredients constantly and try not to burn them. Add the chilli and shrimp paste. Toss around for a few seconds until slightly wilted.

  4. Add the sliced eggplant, sliced tomato, lime leaves, salam leaves and water, if necessary. Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 2 min or until the eggplant is wilted.

  5. Finish off with soy sauce, Kecap Manis and sea salt to taste.

Alternatively, fry the eggplant in oil. Then add sambal goreng and other ingredients.


Bregedel Tahu

Bergedel Tahu (Tofu Fritters)


Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves

2 tsp kencur

3 tsp galangal

2 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp shrimp paste

1 large chilli

1 egg

2 lime leaves, shredded

250gm firm tofu

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

3 tsp palm sugar

1 tbsp fried shallots

1/2 cup cooking oil


Preparations:

  1. Blend the spices in a food processor first and then add the tofu. Stir in the egg, fried shallots and sea salt.

  2. Heat a wok with oil over medium heat. Fry the fritters, a tablespoon at a time until golden brown.


Sambal Goreng (Fried Chillies)


Ingredients:

10 garlic cloves

7 red shallots

2 large red chillis, seeds removed

4 small chillies

1/2 tsp shrimp paste

1/4 cup oil

1 tsp Sea salt


Preparations:

  1. Finely sliced the shallots, garlic and chilli. Mix the shrimp paste with the salt until crumbly.

  2. Heat the oil in the wok over a medium flame. Add shallots, and toss around in the hot oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes, moving constantly. Add the garlic and mix with the shallots. Continue to fry and stir until the ingredients turn golden brown.

  3. Add the chillies, shrimp paste and salt. Stir together for about 30 sec. Strain the sambal and set aside.


Urab Buncis (Bean and Roasted Coconut Salad)

Any bean, such as kidney beans, can be used for this dish. It even tastes great with grilled, shredded chicken.


Ingredients:

300gm green beans

2 lime leaves, shredded

1 1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 cup coconut milk

3 tbsp fried shallot

2 lime leaves

2 salam leaves

1 lemongrass, bruised & tried in a knot

Sea salt to taste

Suna-Cekoh:

5 cloves garlic

4 candlenuts (use ground almond if candlenut is not available)

3 tsp kencur (use fresh galangal if kencur is not available)

1 tbsp turmeric

5 tbsp oil

2 tsbp Sambal goreng


Preparations:

  1. Grind the spices for Suna-Cekoh to a paste.

  2. Heat the oil over a medium flame. Fry the Suna-Cekoh spices in hot oil making sure they don't stick to the base of the wok. Add a splash of water if necessary. Fry for at least 2 min or until the arthy flavour of the turmeric has dissipated and the paste looks glossy.

  3. Add coconut milk, with the knotted lemongrass, salam leaves and lime leaves, and slowly stir until the milk thickens like a light custard. Set aside.

  4. Boil the green beans in salted water for 3 min or until al dente. Set aside to cool a little and then chop finely in 0.5 cm widths.

  5. Roast the fresh coconut over a flame until charred. Clean the skin by scraping with a knife as you would for burnt toast. Otherwise, use dry roasted shredded coconut available in supermarket/health food store.

  6. Assemble the salad: Mix the chopped beans, with the Suna-Cekoh, roasted coconut, sambal goreng, fried shallots, shredded lime leaves and sea salt.

  7. Check for a balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.


Sager Gerang (Spicy Anchovy and Coconut Sambal)

A delicious blend of crisp anchovies (ikan bilis), coconut, sambal and lime leaves.


Ingredients:

100g achovies

1 cup warm water

1 cup roasted grated coconut

2 tsp fried shallots

2 tbsp mung beans, soaked overnight

2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded

1 kaffir lime

1 tsp palm sugar

2 tsp ginger flour

Sea salt for taste


Preparations:

  1. Break the heads of the fish and discard them. Wash the fish in the water, drain and set aside. Grill, broil or dry fry the fish a handful at a time, until crunchy.

  2. Chop the anchovies very finely and loosely break up with your hand.

  3. Mix 2 tsp Sambal goreng with the roasted coconut. Add the remaining seasonings, including the mung beans and ground anchovies.

  4. Taste seasonings, add Sambal goreng to make it spicier.


Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay)

In Bali, vendors across the island busily grill satay over coconut husks, which are oil-marinated that makes the flames jump, adding a delicious smoky, charred finish.


Ingredients:

300g Chicken thigh, skinless

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp black/white peppe

1 tbsp Kecap Manis

3 Kaffir lime leaves, shredded

3 tbsp cooking oil

Sea salt for taste

12 satay sticks


Preparations:

  1. Remove the skin from the chicken and slice into cubes (2x2cm). Soak the sticks in water for 1/2 hr.

  2. Mix all the ingredients with the chicken and leave for at least 10 min or more.

  3. Skewer the chicken.

  4. Grill until golden brown, basting with the marinate from time to time.

  5. Serve with peanut sauce and white rice.


Bumbu Pecel (Peanut Sauce)

Indonesia's most popular condiments. For a successful sauce, the trick is not to reheat it, as it is inclined to curdle. make sure the skin is left on the peanuts.


Ingredients:

150 gm raw, unsalted peanuts

1 tbsp Kecap Manis

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large red chilli, no seeds

2 small chillies, chopped

1/4-1/2 cup warm water

2 lime leaves, shredded

1 tbsp palm sugar

2-3 tbsp fried onion/shallots

1/4 medium tomato

2 tsp lime juice

1-2 cups of cooking oil for frying

Sea salt to taste


Preparations:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium flame. Fry the peanuts in the oil, a handful at a time until just golden brown. Remove the peanuts with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with sea salt to keep dry.

  2. In a food processor, blend all the ingredients, adding the fried peanuts and liquids last. Check seasonings, balancing sweet, sour, salty and spicy.

  3. Add more Kecap Manis for a richer, brown colour.

  4. Serve with fried shallots or finely sliced raw red shallots.

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)

Indonesia's most famous dish.


Ingredients:

100 gm chicken, finely chopped

2 tbsp shallots or onions, finely chopped

2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped

1/4 hard part of spring onions, finely chopped

1 large red chilli, chopped

1/2 cup of bok choi, chopped

1/2 cup of cabbage, finely shredded

1 cup of yesterday's steamed rice

1 tbsp tomato sauce

1/2 tsp vinegar (optional)

1/2 tsp fish sauce

1-2 tsp Kecap Manis

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp fried shallots

2-3 tbsp cooking oil

Sea salt and Black pepper to taste

Preparations:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium flame. Fry the chicken in the oil until it shrinks or for about 2 minutes. If there is too much water from the chicken, remove the cooked chicken, wipe the wok, and add the same amount of oil again. Reheat.

  2. Add the finely chopped onion and garlic. Toss around for 20 sec. Add the hard part of spring onions and chili. Mix and keep it moving to prevent it from sticking to the wok.

  3. Add the rice with the vegetables and cooked chicken, followed by the sauces. Mix and toss. Keep tossing until the vegetables are wilted. Check seasonings.

  4. Serve with fried shallots or chopped spring onions.


Kolak (Fruits in coconut milk)

It can be made from a variety of ingredients such as banana, ripe jackfruit, sweet potato, and tapioca. And can be made several hours before serving and then reheated, and served warm, or it can be chilled.


Ingredients:

250 gm palm sugar or brown sugar

3 pandan leaves

3 cups water

1 tsp vanilla essence

cinnamon stick (optional)

6 bananas

100 gm sweet potato (optional)

100 gm pineapple

1 cup coconut milk

3 tsp tapioca flour/corn flour

1/4 tsp sea salt


Preparations:

  1. To make the palm sugar syrup: boil the sugar with the water and pandan leaves on a low flame until the sugar has dissolved. Strain the sugar water and return to the pot.

  2. Slice the sweet potato, banana, and pineapple into chunks. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked. Add the pineapple and simmer until the fruit is softened for 3 min.

  3. Mix the corn flour with a tbsp of sugar water, and stir until it has dissolved and is smooth. Add to the fruit mix.

  4. Stir in the coconut milk and salt, then stir in the banana. Bring to a boil and stir for a minute until the milk has heated up and thickened slightly.

  5. Check for sweetness and serve.

Note: add a dash of rum at the end for extra flavor. Try fresh mango instead of sweet potato. Serve with vanilla or coconut ice cream.


Bubur Sago (Sago Pudding)

Best to be served with Vanilla Ice Cream.


Ingredients:

100g sago

3 cups water

200g palm sugar

2 pandan leaves, tied in a knot

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup coconut milk

2/3 cup palm sugar syrup

Vanilla essence or whole vanilla bean


Preparations:

  1. Place the sago pearls and pandan leaves in a medium sized saucepan, and soak in the water for at least 10 min, or until the sago has expanded and become translucent.

  2. Gently heat the sago over a low flame, stir continuously until it becomes gluey. It will thicken up at this point.

  3. Add the palm sugar, sea salt and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Stir until mixed in and glossy.

  4. Serve with the remaining coconut milk or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.







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