After touring the market in Ubud, Chef Budiarto and I headed back for the hotel. I went back to my room to swim and relax, C had already headed out to the spa for his massage, so I had the whole villa to myself. Several white water rafters went by while I enjoyed the cool water of our plunge pool. After about an hour or so, I headed up to the Ayung Terrace to meet back up with the chef.
For our market tour, he had been dressed in a polo and shorts. I was surprised to see him dressed in chef whites when we met up in the restaurant and I was even more surprised that we would be cooking in the one and only kitchen in the resort. We toured the kitchen and I was most taken by the small size of the pastry room, especially since all the breads were made from scratch on site. The kitchen was moderately busy and quite warm. I was excited to get started.
The first thing we made was a Balinese style ‘salsa.’ It had shallots, garlic, chilies, Galangal, ginger, turmeric, coriander and lemon grass. It was mixed with a mortar and pestle into a paste, then it was sautéed in oil. This salsa was used in nearly every dish we went on to make after. Next, we prepared a whole chicken. I coated the chicken in tamarind paste and the Balinese salsa, then wrapped the entire chicken in a banana leaf.
We prepared satay with a mixture of ground beef, coconut, lime and the Balinese salsa. The beef was formed around skewers made of lemongrass and sugarcane. Chef Budiarto explained that you could use any meat or seafood you wanted to prepare the satay. After the satay were prepared, we fried them until cooked through. They were served with a hot chili salsa and peanut sauce. I had made the sauces using my gloved hands, spoons didn’t seem to be a tool that was used very often.
We then prepared tuna with the salsa, lime, chilies and shrimp paste. The tuna was just quickly seared on the grill and then topped with the salsa mixture. Once again the sauce was prepared by hand. I squeezed the ingredients to extract the natural juices and then topped the fish fresh from the grill. The warm fish made the fragrant sauce come alive. We also prepared a long bean salad to accompany the chicken, satay and tuna.
I had spoken with Chef Budiarto earlier about my Mee Goreng obsession and how it differed from country to country in Asia. So the final dish we prepared was Balinese Mee Goreng. The wok in the kitchen was massive and chef did an amazing job of tossing the ingredients to prepare the best tasting Mee Goreng ever. Cabbage, leeks, garlic, onions, carrots and chilies were all stir fried with the noodles. The biggest surprise ingredient: ketchup.
By this time I was covered in sweat and the coconut sorbet offered at the end of the class was a welcome treat. I had sampled everything we had made, but I was headed back to our room to get C so we could enjoy our lunch together. It was an amazing class, I learned so much and I am so grateful to Chef Budiarto for being such a wonderful teacher.