Cooking class in Bali

Although I love winter, I often get strong WANDERLUST around this time of the year. Maybe there is a correlation between the coming up New Years Eve and the stronger examination of 2014. Well, both made me realize that for one thing I wished I had a plan for New Years Eve and for another thing I would actually love to fly away to a warm country. While I was assailed by this deep wanderlust feeling I kind of beamed myself back to the surfcamp, called the Balicamp, as well as to the amazing food and my inspiring cooking class I attended while staying there. So finally I sat down and wrote down all the delicious Balinese recipes we cooked and which I had at the camp, plus a glossar for all the spices and most used ingredients in Balinese cuisine. Balinese or people from Indonesia in general use a lot of different spices when they prepare their food. Here you can find a small glossar with the most important spices and ingredients you will need.


Known as tingkih in Bali and kemiri in Indonesia, candlenuts are yellowish, brittle and waxy. They are used mainly as a binding agent but also impart a faint flavour to the dish.


Balinese love Chillies in their food and often use far more than some Westerners would be able to handle. These are the main three types used in Balinese cooking: Large chillies or tabia lombok to the Balinese. They are very mild, with nearly no bite and are mostly used to give a dish more flavour rather than bite. Small chillies, or tabia Bali, are about 2,5 cm long and give the food a great kick. They are usually chopped and bruised. Bird’s eyes chillies, or tobia kerinyi are the smallest and also the most potent in terms of fiery hotness. They are usually served raw and as a condiment.

Coriander Seeds

Balinese cooks use dried coriander seeds, or ketumbah, in many dishes. The seeds are thoroughly crushed before use. The seeds used in Bali are no different from the ones found in the West.Balinese cooks use dried coriander seeds, or ketumbah, in many dishes. The seeds are thoroughly crushed before use. The seeds used in Bali are no different from the ones found in the West.

Dried prawn or dried shrimp paste

Trasi or terasi to the Balinese, the brown, pungent paste is made by pounding sun-dried prawns to a pulp. Dried prawn paste must be grilled or roasted in a dry pan before use. This neutralises the strong, fishy flavour. Once roasted, th paste can be stored for several month in an airtight container, preferably a glass jar. Although pungent and sometimes pleasantly so before it is cooked, dried prawn paste adds amazing flavour to the dish.


Also known as “blue ginger”, galangal is known to the Balinese as isen, and to the Indonesians as laos. The rhizome is sold fresh, fried or ground. Unfortunately it’s very hard to get fresh here in the West.


Known to the Balinese as jahe, ginger was one of the native jungles of Southeast Asia. The underground rhizome of an attractive flowering plant, ginger is widely used in Balinese cooking. Always peel it before you use it.

Kaffir Limes

..Or juuk purut to the Balinese, are small and have very knobby skin. Balinese use small amounts of it to spice up certain dishes. If you can’t get it a normal lime is an acceptable substitute. Balinese use Kaffir Limes usually whole in soups or sauces an finely chopped for fish, chicken and duck dishes.

Lemon Basil

There are many different types of basil, varying greatly in flavour though and aroma. Balinese know Lemon Basil as don kemangi. Lemon basil adds great flavour to dishes and it most commonly used in soups, salads and fish dishes, especially those involving banana leaf wrappers.

Lemon Grass

... is known to Indonesians as sere and it’s used in many Balinese dishes. Lemons grass stalks must be peeled and bruised to release their fragrance before use. Or you should finely slice them, because the stalks are extremely fibrous.

The Nutmeg

... or jebug garum, is the hard kernel of the fruit of an evergreen tree. This aromatic and sweet spice is usually used with strongly flavoured meats such as pork, duck and lamb. Salam leaves are used in much the same way bay leaves are used. Its flavour, while mild, is inimitable.


... is also known as “yellow ginger”, turmeric is an attractive perennial plant with large, lily-like leaves and yellow flowers. The skin must be peeled to expose the bright yellow-orange flesh below before use. 1 Tbsp ground or powered turmeric for every 100 g fresh turmeric called for in a recipe. In Bali, fresh turmeric is pounded in a stone mortar until very fine and then mixed with water. You have to leave it for 5 Minutes before it is strained through a fine sieve,

Tamarind pulp

...,which the Balinese know as celagi or lunak, is derived from large, dark brown pods that grow from the tamarind tree. It is sour-tasting. To use tamarind pulp, mix it with some water and let it stand for 14 Minutes.

Base be Siap

Spice Paste for chicken


50 g Bird’s eye chilies, finely sliced

225 g Shallots, peeled and sliced

125 g  Garlic, peeled and sliced

50 g Kencur root (lesser galangal), peeled and sliced

60 g Laos (galangal), peeled and sliced

125 g Turmeric, peeled and sliced

100 g Candlenuts

50 g Palm sugar, chopped

150 ml Coconut oil

2 Stalks Lemon grass, bruised

3  Salam leaves 250 ml Water

¾ tbsp  Salt


Put shallots, garlic, kencur, laos, candlenuts, turmeric, and palm sugar into food processor and grind coarsely. Heat oil and fry all ingredients until very hot, stirring frequently, until the marinade changes to a golden color. Cool before using.

Base Be Pasih

Spice Paste for Seafood

Ingredients: 450 g Large red chilies halved, seeded and sliced

50 g Garlic, peeled and sliced

225 g Shallots, peeled and sliced

175 g Turmeric fresh, peeled and sliced

100 g Ginger, peeled and sliced

125 g Candlenuts

200 g Medium-sized tomato, halved and seeded

2 tbsp Coriander seeds crushed

2 tbsp Dried shrimp paste (terasi), roasted

150 ml Coconut oil

2½ tbsp Tamarind pulp soaked in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes. Strained 250 ml Water

¾ tbsp Salt 3 Salam leaves

2 Stalks Lemon grass bruised


1.) Combine all ingredients except oil, tamarind pulp, salam leaves and lemon grass, salt and water in stone mortar or food processor and grind coarsely. 2.) Place ground ingredients into heavy saucepan, add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium heat for approximately 60 minutes or until water is evaporated and marinade changes to golden color. Cool before using.

Be Celeng Base Manis

Pork in sweet soya sauce


2 tbsp. Coconut oil

5 Shallots, peeled and sliced

5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

600 g boneless pork shoulder or neck, cut in 2.5 cm (3/4 in) cubes, Brained for 5 hour

8 cm ginger, peeled, sliced and bruised

4 tbsp  Sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)

2 tbsp  salty soy sauce (Kecap Asin)

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

2 cup  chicken stock

6-10  Bird’s eye chilies

2-3  Large red chilies, left whole


1.) Heat coconut oil in a wok and add shallots and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat or until lightly colored. 2.) Add pork and ginger; continue to sauté for 2 more minutes over medium heat. Add sweet and salty soya sauce and crushed black pepper; continue to sauté for 1 more minute. 3.) Pour in the chicken stock, add chilies and bring to simmer. Skim of scum. 4.) Pressure cook at a gauge pressure for about 25 minutes. Start timing when full pressure is reached. Let the cooker cool for 20 minutes.Lift the meat from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a  frying pan. Strain the liquid into a pot; bring to simmer and skim off as much fat as possible. 5.) Transfer about a cup (250 ml) of the cooking liquid to the pan with the pork , and simmer over medium heat, gently turning and basting the meat until it is glazed, 12-15 minute. Reduce the remaining liquide by ½ and add to the meat. Mix well and simmer for two more minutes over low heat. Remove from the heat, and let the mixture infuse for 7-10 minutes. Season to taste with crushed black pepper. You can use chicken if pork is not your favorite choice of meat. The best is leg bone and skinless then cut in even cubes, or wings and legs with the bone in.

My favourite breakfast dish was a salad, called 'Balinese Jukut Mekantok’‘, which is a mixed vegetable salad with beans, spinach, sprouts, grated coconut dressed in sweet and sour flavoured peanut dressing. It’s mouth watering and for me one oft he most amazing combinations of ingredients.


100 g long (snake)beans (cut into 4cm lengths)

100 g Bean sprouts

100 g Spinach

100 g Cabbage

2 Tbsp. Crisp-fried shallots

2 Tbsp. Shelled peanuts (groundnuts)

To taste some Sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

Salt and pepper

Peanut Sauce

250 g Peanuts (groundnuts), with skin on and deep-fried until lightly brown 3 cloves garlic, pealed and sliced 1-3 Bird’s eye chillies. finely sliced 25 g Lesser galangal (kencur), finely sliced 2 Tbsp. Sweet soy sauce 20 g Palm sugar 250 ml water A pinch salt


1.)  Blanch all vegetables and plunge into ice water to cool. Drain well. 2.)  Prepare peanut sauce. Combine all ingredients in a stone mortar and grin until very fine. Alternatively, combine in  a blender. 3.)  Combine all vegetables in a large bowl and mix in peanut sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 4.)  Serve garnished with crip-fried shallots, crushed peanuts and sweet soy sauce. 5.)  If desired, serve salad with crispy, deep-fried fermented soy bean cakes (tempe) in the side. This dish tastes best when served at room temperature or slightly warm.


Coconut pandon pancake



100 g rice flour, 1/2 cup fresh coconut mil,  1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup fresh pandan juice, 3 eggs


1/2 cup (125 ml) palm sugar syrup,1 cup (100 g) freshly grated coconut, 1 Pandan leaf


1.) To make the pancakes, combine rice flour, sugar, salt, eggs, coconut milk and pandan juice in deep mixing bowl. Stir well with whisk until lumps dissolve. 2.) Strain through a sieve. Batter should be very liquid in consistency. 3.) Heat a non-stick pan over low heat. For each pancake, pour 4 tablespoons of the batter and cook for about 2 minutes, until the top is just set. Turn the pancake over and cook a further minute. Repeat until the batter is used up. Cool pancake down to room temperature.

4.) To make the filling, combine sugar syrup and grated coconut and mix well. Add pandan leaf and fry over low heat in a frying pan for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Cool and use at the room temperature. 5.) Place 1 tablespoon of coconut filling in center of each pancake, fold an the edge and roll tighly into tube shape.