If you picked up the free copy of MPH's Quill magazine, you will have read my interview with Janet de Neefe, who founded the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival. Janet and her husband Ketut Suardana run two of Bali's most famous restaurants, Casa Luna of Ubud and Indus of Campuan, (website here) as well as Honeymoon Guesthouse where regular cookery classes are held. Janet is also the author of Fragrant Rice: My Continuing Love Affair with Bali published by Harper Collins Australia.
Sadly, there was one question that had to be cut due to space constraints, and since I asked it for you, I append it here because this dish is absolutely yummy!:
Could you give us a typical Balinese recipe that our Malaysian readers might enjoy?
Probably the most wonderful aspect of making a curry is the heavenly aromas that drift through the house when food is being prepared. Balinese chicken curry is lighter than its Indian counterpart. You can also replace the chicken with any other meat, fish or vegetable.
For maximum flavour, I always use chicken thigh or leg with the bone for a curry. However, you can use chicken breast or boned meat if you prefer. Use fresh galangal and turmeric for this dish as the flavour, aroma and texture will be far superior to the powdered varieties.
750 g chicken pieces
1-2 cups coconut milk
5 tbs oil for frying
3 salam leaves (These are a kind of Indonesian bay leaves)
4 lime leaves
2 tsp tamarind
5 small red shallots
7 small cloves garlic
3 large red chilli
2-3 bird's-eye chillies
1 tbs ginger
3 tbs galangal
1 tbs fresh turmeric
½ tomato 2 stalks of lemongrass
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin (opt)
1 tbs palm sugar
Blend all the spices in the container of a food processor until paste-like. Add a little water if necessary. Bruise the extra lemon grass and tie into a loose knot.
Heat the oil in a wok over a medium flame. Throw in the spices, lemongrass, lime leaves and salam leaves. Push them back and forth confidently for 30 seconds until fragrant and shiny, making sure they don’t burn on the base of the wok. Add the chicken and toss around until sealed or half-cooked. This will take at least two minutes. Add two cups of water and boil for about fifteen minutes or until the meat is cooked. Now add the final layer of coconut milk.
Bring to the boil, simmer for a minute and then turn off.
Check seasonings and serve topped with shallots. Add sea salt to taste.
Potatoes, beans, or carrots may be added, or tempe/tofu may be used as a meat substitute.