While on our short vacation in Bali, I had the chance to visit the local fish market with the hotel’s chef then spend the morning cooking with him and learning some of the Balinese food tricks and spices.
Our early morning start was slightly marred by rain but I would not be deterred from visiting the market so off we went to encounter what the rain was willing to dish out.
Miraculously, the showers subsided as we began our visit and they were quick to return as we settled into the kitchen for a few hours of intense cooking.
There were a number of sauces and sambals that we were taught to make during our kitchen stint but there are two recipes that I would like to share with you.
The first of two blog entries will be the Satay Lilit Ayam, otherwise known as Balinese chicken satay. This is a recipe that is produced over and over again by men belonging to the Social Community Building. Once a man takes a bride in marriage, he must automatically join this village organization. It is here, during many of the Balinese festivals, that men must come together to make satays for the community.
When the bell is rung, men come running to spend the day and night at the community center cooking and preparing these chicken satays. The last man to arrive is given the unfortunate task of chopping up to 25kg(55pds) of chilies. Our chef taught us a useful tip which is to oil ones fingers before handling the chilies so that the heat does not remain on them! It works brilliantly well!
Do not be frightened by the list of ingredients because in fact most of them are spices that you would have in your spice drawer. The galangal and lesser galangal could be more of a challenge but these are flavorful roots that belong to the ginger family. Though the galangal has more of a peppery and citrus flavor to its ginger cousin, it can be substituted with the same amount of ginger and a dash or two of lime. Not quite the same but close enough.
- 100gm(3.5oz) finely chopped shallots
- 40gm (1.5oz) finely chopped garlic
- 4 pcs thinly sliced small red chili
- 20gm (4tsp) finely chopped ginger
- 20gm (4tsp) finely chopped galangal
- 10gm (2tsp) finely chopped lesser galangal
- 2tsp turmeric
- 1tsp black pepper
- 1/4tsp ground cloves
- 1tsp ground nutmeg
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 1tsp ground white sesame seeds
- 4tbsp cooking oil
- 1kg (2.2lb) ground chicken
- 36pcs satay skewers(soaked wood or lemongrass)
- 2pcs fresh lime leaves finely shredded
- 50gm (2oz) grated coconut, unsweetened
- Heat up oil and sauté all spices except lime leaves and coconut.
- Add chili at the end and add a little bit of water to help in the cooking process
- Allow all the water to evaporate, while never stopping to stir.
- Remove from heat and with the back of a spoon squeeze out all of the oil to be saved for another time.
- Take the spice mixture and create a paste either in a blender or with a mortar and pestle.
- Mix the spice paste with the minced chicken.
- Add the lime leaves and coconut
- Season with salt and pepper
- To make the skewers, create balls with the chicken mixture and put on the end of the skewer
- With 2 fingers, squeeze around the ball, drawing the mince down around the skewer
- The satays are now ready for cooking on a grill or in a grill pan.
- Leave to cook well on one side before turning to cook the other side.
- Serve with sambal or peanut sauce
Spice mixture once it has been cooked
The mashing of the spices before adding the chicken mince, lime leaves and grated coconut
Chicken and spices before being mixed together
Divided spiced mince before being put on lemongrass skewers
Satays ready to be cooked
Grilling the satays
Bon Appetit or better yet, Mari kita makan.