Another highlight from my time in Bali was taking a traditional Balinese cooking class. I love Asian food, and it was so interesting to learn about the process they use to make all their food. Made (pronounced Ma-day), our chef/teacher for the day, picked me and my mom up right from our hotel and took us straight to the village market to pick out our ingredients for the day.
Made walked us through the market, explaining all the wonderful and interesting things we were seeing. There were brightly colored flowers that locals put out for offerings every day.
Elderly ladies making and selling some kind of delicious smelling food, wrapped in banana leaves for takeaway.
Fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes.
And even some dried fish.
Made then drove us to his home and restaurant for our cooking class. It was peacefully nestled in between his family’s rice fields.
He explained to us all the plants that grow in his garden, many of which we used to cook our lunch with.
Inside, all the ingredients we would be using were laid out on the table.
It all looked so fresh!
Large wooden cutting boards were set out with the sharpest knife I’ve ever used placed beside them.
Made’s daughter came out and was our little helper for the day. This 5-year-old had better chopping/knife handling skills than me — no joke! And she loved cheesing for a photo!
The first thing we made was “the basic,” a mix of all ingredients that are the base for most of the dishes we made: ginger, chilis, galangal, garlic, shallots, turmeric, pepper, coriander seed, lemongrass, bay leaf, and salt.
We chopped all the ingredients up really fine and mixed them all together.
After that, we made a number of dishes: a curry…
crispy tofu and tempeh…
long bean salad with jackfruit…
grilled chicken pepes in banana leaf…
And for dessert, boiled banana in tapioca flour with coconut.
They don’t use any type of blender or food processor, so we had to mix and mash the sauces by hand in a mortar and pestle.
That was no easy task, let me tell you!
After we had finished all the meals, the family set them out nicely buffet style and we got to have them for lunch!
The food really was delicious and it was more rewarding since we had made it all ourselves! Afterward, Made gave us all the recipes to take back home.
It was such a wonderful experience to learn how the locals cook, and Made was a great instructor!
I would definitely recommend booking a half day tour with him (book via email), especially if you’re a foodie like me!