Maya Ubud Resort & Spa
Jl. Gn. Sari, Peliatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
| +62 361 977888
Photo by www.bruisedpassports.com
A Taste of Indonesia: An Amazing Cooking Class in BaliOne thing is bound to seduce you the second you step foot on Balinese soil - the local food. The island's alleyways are spilling with restaurants and 'warungs' (canteens) offering delicacies such as Nasi Goreng (Indonesian style fried rice), chicken satay (skewers of grilled chicken topped with a decadent peanut sauce), flavourful Indonesian curries, and home-made sambhal (chilli sauce). I can promise you this - after you have savoured your fair share of meals on the island, you will want to know the secret behind traditional Indonesian dishes. Just what is it that makes them taste so good?
Most Indonesian dishes are prepared from scratch in households across the country. Spices come from local vegetable gardens. They are ground in a ‘makanan’ (pessel and mortar) and a distinctive combination of herbs and spices goes into making delectable spreads. Due to the nuanced nature of the cuisine, it's hard to follow recipes off the internet. I suggest taking a cooking class while you are on holiday. Rest assured, you will be able to impress your family and friends with authentic Indonesian food on getting home.
The two of us opted for a 4 hour cooking class at Maya Ubud, one of our favourite hotels in Ubud. The chef took us on a little tour of the spice and herb garden, where we accumulated a few ingredients for our meal. This was followed by an intensive introduction to Indonesian cuisine in the village-style kitchen. We learnt how to combine local herbs and spices such as lemongrass, kaffir lime, cumin, coriander, and nutmeg with a variety of sauces including oyster sauce, soy sauce, and molasses. Suddenly it all made sense. This is how Indonesian cooks unleash magic in the kitchen!
Feeling thus empowered, we went on to grill meats and seafood, grind peanuts into a paste, boil vegetables with chicken stock, stir-fry a bowl of jasmine rice, and make dumplings from banana leaves.
Then came the best part - it was time to taste our hard work and relish a delectable meal in the wilderness. Needless to say, there were lots of ummms and aahs. The food we had cooked under the tutelage of the chef tasted scrumptious. But this time around, we could actually detect notes of every single herb and spice that went into the making of each of those dishes. If there's one cultural experience you opt for in Bali, make it a cooking class. Your tummy (and your friends and family) will thank you for it!