And, I liked it. I really, really liked it. I’m a little bit afraid…. (For those of you that don’t know, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. The fermentation process binds the soybeans into a cake-like form. Robert tells me the tempeh we had today is both significantly different and significantly better than anything he has had in the U.S.).
Let me start at the beginning. Those of you who know us well know that Robert loves to cook. As a corollary, he loves to go to cooking classes when we travel to new countries. I tend to go along for the ride — sometimes I enjoy them and sometimes I get a bit bored. But today was a good day.
We booked a cooking class with Jambangan Cooking School. This is a family run operation and they did an absolutely fantastic job. (We found the cooking class on a website called Cookly — we are going to have to remember this website when we visit new countries).
The day started with a trip to the local market. It was a really small market, but we saw lots of fruits and vegetables and even got to try a few, including snake fruit and lychee (neither of which are favorites of mine, but Robert really likes lychee).
But, more importantly, we got to try an amazing rice cake with freshly grated coconut and palm sugar that had been boiled until it tasted like caramel. I can’t remember the name of these cakes, but they were delicious. I want more….
Then, it was off to a quick visit to the family rice field. I was a little bit surprised at how far the field was from the family home.
Then, we visited the family’s house. We saw the family temple and learned about how houses are built in Bali. Who knew that all honeymooners from one family stayed in the same building until a child was born? Apparently, then the couple moves to a different building and the elders move back into the honeymooners building. (Side note: We learned on our bike trip that Balinese undergo a tooth filing ceremony either at puberty or no later than when they get married. Apparently, from what we understand, it is largely the canine teeth that get filed. Apparently, smoothing the teeth smooths the soul. All I can say is, ouch!).
After all of that, the cooking started. We made so much food! First, we made curry sauce and peanut sauce. Thankfully, they didn’t let me anywhere near this knife. Robert, on the other hand, handled it beautifully.
Then, we prepared our mis-en-place for all the other dishes.
Then, we made a vegetable soup (with too much onion for my taste). Then, Balinese chicken sate. It is grilled over burning coconut husks. Yum! Robert is definitely going to have to learn how to make this when/if we settle down.
We also made ground chicken steamed in banana leaves, chicken in a yellow curry sauce, stir fried tempeh with sweet soy sauce, and two different vegetable salads (one with a peanut sauce and one with a curry sauce). (For anyone who is wondering, that brown stuff in the bottom right in the mis-en-place photo is the tempeh after it has been fried but before the sauce has been added.) I even carved a tomato into a flower.
And, dessert was bananas and potatoes (yes, really, potatoes) in a caramel sauce. We left absolutely stuffed!
But, I am left with one question: What is for dinner????