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Travel Logs March 2014

Compulsive Traveler

Cooking and Culture in Bali

By Sandra Scott

While most of the people in Indonesia are Muslim, the majority of the people in Bali are Hindu but even the non-Hindu people of Bali observe Nyepi Day out of respect. Imagine 24 hours without the sound of cars, radios, TVs or any other manmade noise.

Taking a cooking class while traveling is fun and educational. Learning to make a new recipe that reflects the local culture is the main benefit because upon returning home the recipe can be made for friends and family, offering the perfect opportunity to tell them all about your trip. But, during the cooking lesson the conversation becomes a cultural lesson, too.

When signing up for cooking classes, ask the chef to make something that can be replicated when you return home. The Pan Pacific class includes a salad, main course and dessert. The Minced Fish Satay recipe is one that is easy to make and can be easily adapted. Check out the chef’s name because in Bali they have an interesting way of naming their children. For example, Chef M. Kadek Ari Utami is her parent’s second child because Balinese traditionally include the word for the child’s birth order in their child’s name. Kadek means “second born,” Wayan indicated “first born,” while Nyoman is reserved for the “third born” and the “fourth born” is Ketut. A fifth child may be called Wayan Balik which means Wayan again. And so it goes.

If you plan to visit Bali in March check out what day they celebrate Nyepi Day, the Balinese day of silence. It is the beginning of the New Year according to the Hindu calendar and usually occurs in March. It is 24 hours of reflection without the noise of vehicles, TVs, and even the airport is closed to traffic. While most of the people in Indonesia are Muslim, the majority of the people in Bali are Hindu but even the non-Hindu people of Bali observe Nyepi Day out of respect. Imagine 24 hours without the sound of cars, radios, TVs or any other manmade noise. On Nyepi Day guests at the Pan Pacific Nirwana can swim in the multi-level pool, enjoy a spa treatment, play golf on the Greg Norman course, and walk to the Tamah Lot Temple but not leave the hotel.

Bali is a magical place. A place of dreams. The Pan Pacific Niwana Resorts is one of those places where dreams are realized with a unique Greg Norman golf course where the caddies are young ladies (they retire at 27) who wear light blue jump suits and paddy hats. The golf course is next to the hotel paddy fields where they raise rice to supplement their larder. Plus, as one would expect there are running tracks, courts for tennis and squash, and off-site tours. The multi-level pool conforms to the terraced property. Each pool level is accessed by stairs but the fun way is to slide from one pool level to another. Because of the vastness of the pool there were many cabanas where people can while away the day reading, relaxing and enjoying the pool. And, of course, there is a spa.

 

Minced Fish Satay (Sate Lilit)

2-3 shallots

5 cloves garlic

1 oz fresh ginger

2 tbsp turmeric

1-2 stalks lemon grass

1 oz galangal (if available)

1/2 oz red chili

½ oz bird’s eye chili

3 bay leaves (kaffir leaves if available)

2 lbs minced mackerel (can substitute other kinds of fish or meat)

3 tbsp fried shallots (or onion)

5 shredded lemon leaves (remove stems)

1 tbsp palm sugar (or dark brown sugar)

1 tbsp shrimp paste

3 tbsp thick coconut milk

 

Blend the shallots, garlic, fresh ginger, turmeric, lemon grass, galangal, red chili, bird’s eye chili and bay leaves to make bumbu lengkap, a Balinese seasoning paste. Mix together with fish, fried shallots, lemon leaves, palm sugar, and shrimp paste. Add coconut a little at time to make a mixture that will hold together on the skewer. Shape mixture on skewers and grill until light brown and thoroughly cooked.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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