Balinese Kitchen PDF Print E-mail

Here all the main dishes are prepared. Select the freshest fish from our display, which is purchased daily fresh from the Ubud market. Fish, prawns, squid or sates are grilled over coconut husks. Meats braised in sweet soy or coconut milk, and ducks and chickens roasted in Banana leaves.

The centrepiece of the kitchen generally a spartan, functional room is the wood fired stove topped by a blackened clay pot used to steam rice and leaf-wrapped food. In many modern households, this is joined by a gas cooker for boiling water and frying. Both stoves receive daily offerings of a few grains of rice, a flower and salt a gift to Brahma, the animistic god of fire. Despite the complex blending of spices and frag- rant roots that gives Balinese food its intriguingly different flavour, the typical Balinese kitchen is remarkably simple.

After the rice has been well washed and soaked, it is partially boiled, then set in a woven steaming basket (kukusan) over a clay pot filled with boiling water. The conical kukusan is covered with a clay lid and the rice left to steam. Every so often, boiling water is scooped out of the clay pot and poured over the rice to keep it moist and prevent the grains from sticking together. Although all utensils were once made of clay, most cooks now use metal for cooking. Many people in the major towns also use electric rice cookers, but most agree that the traditional method for cooking rice is superior.

Bamboo is often used in the Balinese kitchen. A split length of bamboo plaited so that it fans out is used as a scoop for lifting out and draining fried food, while bamboo handles with small coconut shells on the end make scoops or ladles. A narrow bamboo tube is used to direct a puff of air into the fire, acting as a bellows.

Every Balinese kitchen has its coconut scraper, either a wooden board set with rows of sharp metal spikes or a sheet of thin alumunium with spikes punched out. Grated coconut is mixed into many dishes, or squeezed with water to make coconut milk.

The Balinese mortar is shallow and the stone pestle has a handle carved at right angles to the head so that the action is one of grinding rather than pounding. Another essential item is the saucer like stone mortar (batu base) used for grinding dry spices, chillies, shallots and other seasonings.

The chopping block used in the preparation of almost every meal is usually a cross section slice of a tree trunk, the wood strong enough to take the repeated blows of a sharp cleaver used to mince meat or fish to a paste, and for chopping and slicing various roots and vegetables.

It also doubles as an eating area or a spare bed. Practicality is the theme of any Balinese kitchen. The furniture in a Balinese kitchen is minimal; apart from the stove, a bench and a food cupboard, where the cooked food is stored during the day, there's usually a wide, low bamboo platform, used for sitting on while preparing foods.