Bali is a popular holiday destination and while most people head there for the stunning beaches, luxurious accommodation and vibrant culture – I go for all that AND the food.
Indonesian cuisine is one of my favourites but despite being inspired in Balinese cooking classes and encouraged by Balinese friends, I’ve never attempted to properly re-create those unmistakeable flavours back home. Why you ask? Well, I thought it was all too hard. Too time consuming. What, with all that chopping, grinding and mixing – not to mention the hassle of having to go out to buy those unpronounceable ingredients that aren’t already sitting in my pantry. Who’s got the time? Apparently…. I have but I didn’t know it. And so do you! Let me explain.
We recently took the children to Bali for the first time and whilst my daughter ate a Margherita pizza for dinner every night (they do good pizzas in Bali too!) my son absolutely went crazy for the local cuisine. It was a pleasure watching him discover new flavours and after picking up a pizza for my daughter each night we would head out for a traditional Balinese meal. It was great. That is, until we arrived home and he asked for a Nasi Goreng for breakfast. “Huh? What was that? Nasi Goreng? I can’t make that!!” I said, “Just have Cocoa Pops”. That’s when he reminded me that on our last night in Bali, I told him not to be sad about leaving because it would be no trouble for me to knock up a nasi or throw together a score of chicken satay sticks for him to eat once we got home. (Yes, cocktails may have had something to do with this statement). So, when he challenged me to produce some Indonesian cuisine for him to eat in the privacy of his gaming room, I accepted. I went through recipes I’d collected over the years and ones that I’ve been given by friends and I’m happy to say I’ve come up with a few easy, tasty recipes that stay true to Balinese Flavours and satisfy hungry teenagers. Indonesian Food it turns out is quick and easy.
The other thing I love about Balinese food is that it looks so damn beautiful on the plate. Make sure you serve these recipes with lots of garnishes like cucumber, tomato, prawn crackers, limes – whatever you like – you’re only limited by the amount of time you have to chop! And sure, my versions may not be as authentic as it gets, but the colours and flavours of Bali are there and I guarantee each bite will transport you and your tastebuds back to those balmy (drunken!) nights on that magic little island. Oh and BTW, my son reckons I “done heaps good” with the challenge.