Discovering Bali would not have been complete without discovering its cuisine, so doing a Balinese cooking class was one activity I was looking forward to. I had found a few cooking schools on the web before my departure. However when I got there I wanted to speak to our host to check if there were other alternatives, as some of the schools were not located in Ubud. Finally, with Céline, we chose Payuk Bali, now renamed Ketut’s Bali Cooking Class since our last visit, as there was a market tour and other activities included.
After a tour of the central market in Ubud, which runs for food from 4:00 am to 8:30am before becoming a souvenir market for tourists for the rest of the day, we were taken to the school compound just outside town (about 10 min by car).
Offerings, coconut oil making and cooking!
Once we arrived to the cooking school, we started talking about the ritual offerings and made one little basket (If you want to know more, read my previous post here). We watched a demonstration of coconut oil making. This is something I will probably not make again as I do not have access to fresh coconut and it is quite a long process, so I am happy to stick to the one already bottled. Then we moved to the open air kitchen area, ready to cook!
The menu of the day was quite substantial:
- Balinese chicken soup (Soup Ayam)
- Chicken skewers with a peanut sauce (Sate Tusuk Ayam)
- Fried noodles (Mie goreng)
- Steamed fish in banana leaf (Pepes Ikan)
- Balinese chicken stir fry (Ayam Bumbu Bali)
- Steam rice and spiced vegetables with grated coconut (Sayur Urab)
- Sweet potato in palm sugar gravy
The chef Ketut and his team were really nice and helpful. Every step went smoothly and everyone got to prepare every dish despite our group number (12): lots of chopping, pounding and stirring, nobody was spared! Despite the heat we had lots of fun and we really enjoyed the dishes we cooked, especially the peanut sauce which was very fragrant.
Finally, if you feel like cooking something different for an easy weeknight dinner or appetisers to share with friends, here is the recipe of the chicken sate skewers with the peanut sauce, which was by far the best sauce we ate with Céline during our stay.
- 500g chicken breast
- 3 tsp chopped shallots
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 4 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 5 tsp coconut oil
- salt and pepper
- 300g peanuts
- 3 cloves of garlic - chopped
- 4 cloves of shallots (small size) - chopped
- 2 Tbsp palm sugar
- 1 Tbsp sweet chillies
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp ginger
- Slice the chicken into thick cubes and mix with all the marinade ingredients.
- Thread the chicken cubes onto wooden or stainless-steel skewers.
- Grill the chicken until lightly brown. As you grill, brush the skewers with the leftover marinade.
- Serve with peanut sauce and rice.
- Fry the peanuts until golden brown. Remove from the pan and leave to cool and drain any oil excess.
- Grind the sweet chilies, garlic, shallot, palm sugar and ginger in a mortar. Then add the peanuts. Continue grinding until it becomes a paste.
- Put the peanut paste in a pan, add the chicken stock to dissolve.
- Add sweet soy sauce into the peanut sauce and bring to the boil.
- Simmer the sauce until it gets thick, season with salt and pepper and squeeze the lime juice.
- You can use coconut milk in the peanut sauce for a richer taste.