If Italy is my cultural and emotional homeland, the island of Bali is my spiritual one. On my fourth visit to the island, I am once again reminded of that. Statues of the gods everywhere – Shiva the Destroyer, Vishnu the Preserver, Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and seemingly the most popular. Offerings wherever one looks – in the middle of the road; at the temples, big and small, that grace every village, building and home; atop a statue. Each one is a tiny random poem of love – a bit of fragrant rice, flowers, incense, perhaps a cracker – nestled in a miniature woven basket no bigger than a salad plate. All these elements blend to create an almost palpable air of holiness.
Terazo, and the menu reflects the diverse tastes and sensibilities of the customers. Me? I have an ice-cold Bintang beer, a refreshing gazpatcho soup and pork belly with cannellini beans. While roast suckling pig is a mainstay in Bali - babi guling - this pork has more of an Italian feel, scented with rosemary and garlic. I don’t know if it’s typically Balinese but I do know that it’s delicious.
A Taste of Bali
Several years ago we took cooking classes at the Four Seasons resort in Jimbaran Bay. This recipe has since become a standard appetiser at our house, especially at our holiday Open House, where a little taste of Bali makes even the coldest December day brighter.
Saté Lilit Bali (Balinese Chicken Sate)
courtesy of Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay
We are very lucky to live in a city where the exotic ingredients needed here are readily available. I have cited a list of mail order sources for the more obscure ingredients.
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken meat, minced (can use just breast or thighs or a combination of both)
3½ ounces shallots, finely chopped
1½ ounces garlic, finely chopped
4 pieces fresh small red chili, thinly sliced
4 tsp ginger, finely chopped
4 tsp galangal, finely chopped
2 tsp Chinese ginger (grachai), finely chopped
Chinese ginger, photo courtesy of Aromatics International
2 tsp fresh turmeric, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
1 tsp white pepper, ground
2 cloves clove, finely minced
1 tsp nutmeg, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp white sesame seed, ground
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp canola oil
36 pieces lemongrass, cut into 6 inch skewer lengths
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
2 oz grated coconut, unsweetened
1. Heat oil in a frying pan on low heat and sauté all the spices, except the lime leaf and coconut, until aromatic and cooked through. Remove from heat, cool and blend to a paste.
2. Mix the spice paste with the minced chicken; add lime leaf and coconut. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Take 20 grams of the chicken mixture and work around the lemongrass skewer; repeat with remaining chicken.
4. Grill the satays until cooked through. Serve with peanut sauce.
Makes 40 satay skewers.
Make ahead: The paste can be made ahead and frozen. The skewers can also be made ahead, grilled and frozen. Or the paste and chicken can be prepared the day before; do not add coconut to raw meat until just before assembly.
I'm also angling to get the recipe for krupuk. These delicious and highly addictive crackers are served alongside drinks at the Four Seasons resort in Sayan. Watch this space!