Similar to Singaporean and Malay dishes, Balinese food uses a lot (and I really mean a LOT) of herbs and spices. Chili, coriander, ginger, turmeric, garlic, candlenuts, onions and my personal favorite -- kaffir lime. When all these are mixed together, you get that amazing flavor and smell that will surely whet your appetite in no time. So, we started by learning how to make the basic -- Base de Pasih (Spice Paste for Seafood). This can act as a rub or as the sauce base for most seafood dishes. In fact, Chef Heinz suggests creating a huge amount and to freeze it by creating ice cubes out of the sauce. That way, when you want to use it, you can simply take some "cubes", defrost and include it into your dish. Smart, huh?
Let me show you the recipe below:
Moving on, we then made Sambel Udang which is a dish with Prawns in the Spiced Tomato Paste/Sauce. I had the privilege to be chosen to help Chef prepare this dish and as I was mixing the fresh prawns along with the rest of the ingredients, I can really smell the delicious aroma of the Spiced Paste! It was really hard to keep my mouth from watering while trying to be a very good student. :P
This is one dish I'll surely recreate at home. Sharing this with all of you too:
Lastly, we learned how to make dessert! In Bali, bananas are coated in batter, deep-fried and eaten either on its own or dipped into a sauce. It's called Pisang Goreng (Fried Banana Fritters). Growing up, this was one of the things that I look forward to eating whenever we would spend our summer breaks here in the Lion City. It's so cheap yet so filling and delicious. We would try to have it with ice cream or drizzle sweet and creamy caramel sauce on top. I didn't know that this was actually a Balinese dessert as all the while I thought it was truly Singaporean.
Attending this cooking demo has made us realize all the hard work that goes in each dish. After all, cooking is indeed a marriage of art and science. At the end of the demo, we were treated to a good Balinese meal at MELT. Of course, I had more of that Sambel Udang and tried a couple more dishes too. Oh, we're so excited for our trip to Bali in a couple of months. I'm definitely traveling with a mission now -- to search for more authentic Balinese dishes and to fill my tummy with all of it! :)
Check out the Balinese line-up at MELT ~ The World Cafe which will run only till 8th of May (Friday)! So, please hurry! I'll tell you more about the buffet spread in my next entry. :)
*photos by Paul Ang
MELT ~ The World Cafe is located at the 4th level of Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore. Call them at 6885-3500.