In the attempt to immerse myself in Bali culture, I decided to attend Ubud cooking class during our last trip to Bali. Also, since I know nothing about cooking, I thought it would be a great exercise of stepping outside of my comfort zone, while eating my way through Bali.
Ubud Cooking Class Location
Our Ubud cooking class took place in a village located north of Bali, an hour car ride from Seminyak, where we stayed at. I was beyond thrilled to attend the cooking class, mainly because I would be learning to cook my favorite local Indonesian food. Also, this was the first ever cooking class I have ever participated in.
We reached the village and was escorted to the house of a local family. The host, the head of the family, brought us the open courtyard where we were served with the homemade sweet potato fritters. It was so good! We chatted about Bali culture and the foreigners' interest in the local food hence the Ubud cooking class.
The cooking class itself was conducted by our host family in the open pavilion which was an extension of their traditional Balinese house, in the middle of the rice field. It made the whole cooking and eating the local food experience immensely enjoyable.
Ubud Cooking Class Menu
On that day, we were cooking some authentic Balinese home-cooked meals using the wood-fired oven. The kind host lady introduced us to all the ingredients which would be used during the cooking. There were fish, chicken, banana and pandan leaves, spinach, turmeric, ginger, chili, tamarind, garlic cloves, shallots, coriander seed, cumin seed, and some other things which I wasn't familiar with.
Ubud Cooking Class By Me
Nasi Tumpeng (Yellow Rice)
First, we made the rice. Yellow rice is usually made and eaten during special events in Bali culture. As the rice looks like a pile of gold, it is often served at parties and opening ceremonies as a symbol of good luck and a part of the festival and traditions.
It was fairly easy to cook. We just needed to add turmeric and pandan leaves soaked in coconut milk to the half-cooked rice then steam it a little more to make it yellowish. It smelt nicer and enhanced the taste.
Satay (Barbequed Chicken Skewers)
We then made chicken skewers. Indonesia local food is famous for the skewers, called Satay, which are mostly sold as street food. The swekers usually are barbecued on the spot and served with various sauces, peanut sauce being the most common one. I love Indonesian satay. Especially the lamb skewers. Do remember: satay is a must try when you visit Bali or any other part of Indonesia.
The chicken skewers were easy to make as well. I chopped the meat into cubes and mixed it with a bunch of chopped and ground-up ingredients like tamarind, garlic cloves, shallots, coriander seed, cumin seed, and salt, in addition to a bit of oil and water. It was my task to grind and grind I did. I made an extra effort because people were looking. I might have shed a pound from all the grinding. What can I say? I like getting a gold star in class.
We then let it marinate for 10 minutes before sticking it into the bamboo rod. It was then ready to be barbecued.
While Fafa was busy barbecuing, I made the sauce. This time it was my favorite Satay sauce, the spicy soya. I chopped chilis, shallots, and a little bit of tomato and mixed it all together with sweet soya sauce, and voila, it was done.
Tom (Grilled Fish In Banana Leaf)
We also roasted tuna wrapped in a banana leaf. As a local food, it's called Tom here in Bali, and Pepes in other parts of Indonesia.
First I pounded some ginger, garlic, chilies, lemongrass, salt, and onion into a paste. Then, I mixed the shredded tuna with the paste, put a small portion of it on a banana leaf, and wrapped. After preparing a few of those, we finally steamed it on a traditional stove.
The smell of it was mouth-wateringly good.
Tumis Kangkung (Water Spinach Stir-Fry)
The last dish was water spinach, a staple of Indonesian and Malaysian food. I cleaned the spinach, then stirred the fried onion, shallots, shrimp paste, salt, extra chopped chilis, and lastly the water spinach for a couple of minutes.
Bali Local Food Lunch
We and our host family and sat together in the courtyard to enjoy the home cooked Indonesian food and continue our earlier conversation about village living and Bali culture. Overall, Ubud cooking class was a great cultural experience. We learned more about Bali culture, cooked, and ate the delicious local food. I highly recommend you to enroll in Ubud cooking class when you visit Bali. We definitely would do it again.