Chef Dina

Now available for Bay Area full service catering in conjunction with "A Fork Full of Earth" organic catering, intimate dinner parties and weekly meal preparation.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bali favorites- Nasi goreng

Honeymoon in Bali!!  So I expected it to be the Hawaii of the eastern world- pristine beaches, beautiful, idyllic everything...  I almost forgot I was going to a 3rd world country...with that come the pros and the cons, of course. Fortunately, the pros far outweigh the cons once you can get past the heaps of garbage everywhere...  It's not a difficult place to embrace when you are dealing with quite possibly the happiest, friendliest and most artistically talented people on earth.  I don't want to write too much here, seeing as this blog is supposed to be about food, but for those of you that are interested I am going to give you my quick synopsis of Bali:

The country of 1000 temples, literally.  The people of Bali are among the most inspiring people I have ever come across.  The level of service is unmatchable. There was not a person that crossed my path that let me catch them without a smile on their face. The arts culture, contagious. Each small village its own specialty (painting, wood carving, stone work, etc...).  Hinduism, offerings, incense, ceremonies, costumes, dancing, kindness.  There is no garbage man,  however awareness is growing. The idyllic, Caribbean white sand and crystal clear waters that might come to mind when we think of such a place as Bali do not exist here.  However, the world below the surface of the water is another story, so bring your dive certification or plan on getting it there. The color and variety of sea life is enchanting. People (mainly aussies) and traffic is bustling in the hubs, and tourism has definitely caught on. Stay away from Kuta and the south. Bali is not always as cheap as you might think. Highly taxed alcohol, so take advantage of the duty free store at the airport unless you like light beer water. There are escapes to a bit more of the Bali one might imagine on the far eastern shores (you're still not going to get the beaches tho, sorry...).  Motorbikes-get one.  Rice terraces- beautiful. Monkeys-beware.

NOW, for the FOOD. cheap, cheap, cheap.  If you are in the cultural hub of Ubud, there is crispy duck for everyone, french chefs gone AWOL, fine dining, suckling pigs....and at a third of the price (or less, considering you don't drink...). If you have set up camp in a more remote area (my personal preference), and breakfast is included per usual- you can definitely plan on having mie goreng or nasi goreng for at least one of your daily meals. Since my culinary interest lies in collecting the most traditional of dishes, worldly comfort foods- freshly and exceptionally prepared these are the dishes I have chosen to feature.  One of the other favorite traditional dishes I had was beef rendang. I have yet to experiment with making this one at home, but I will be posting my results! Not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy my pan seared barramundi with green mango salad, beet and goat cheese brulee... I just prefer to master the simple food everyone loves.   


This is basically fried rice with an egg on top. However, you gotta have those prawn chips, krupuk udang, best fresh fried so they melt on your tongue.  I bought  the packaged ones at the airport, all ready to go for a snack on the plane- gross. Fry them to order. They didn't sound very good to me because I am not a shrimp fan, but these are seriously addicting. You also need to serve it with tomato and cucumber, plenty of fried shallot on top, and some pickled cucumber/carrots.  As basic as this may seem, and it all simple comfort foods, you have to do it right. Forget the (however readily available) spice packets and jarred pastes...DO IT YOURSELF, from start to finish, no shortcuts.  This is how you make simple, good food turn heads.

Rice: long grain, leftover rice. Rice must be chilled for it to fry up properly.  I have also been making some off the hook fried rice with leftover black forbidden rice- it fries up very nicely. Cook the forbidden and white rice separately and fry them together (equal parts-ish) for a great twist.
Spice paste: make a bunch of this to keep in a jar in your frig and you have the beginnings to basically any asian recipe or stir fry.  This is a guide- you can mash up chili, garlic, onion, salt however you like in whatever portions you prefer. you can also add ginger to this for a more all purpose asian stir fry base. Use a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, mini processor, blender...whatever you have.
-3 shallots or half a red onion
-5-7 cloves garlic
-4 toasted candlenuts (macadamia nuts can substitute)
-birds eye chilies (they are very hot, use to suit your taste. you can use whatever chili you like)
-salt and white peppercorn
-optional bits of coriander and cumin
additions: Egg, green onion, celery or chinese celery, yue choy (mustard greens), cabbage, bean sprouts, diced cooked chicken or prawns, etc...whatever you like or have on hand.

. Gently beat the eggs (2) together with salt, then heat up the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and pour the egg mixture into the center of the pan. Cook over a medium heat for few minutes. Set aside. When it's cold, roll the omelet then cut into small pieces.  You can skip this part and just fry an egg sunny side up to put on top as well.
Heat neutral flavored cooking oil in a wok and fry 2 T of spice paste until fragrant. Add small amount of additional ingredients and fry for a couple minutes and let the pan get hot again before adding the rice (2 portions). Add leftover rice and 2 T kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) stir to fry for 2-3 minutes. Put egg on top and plenty of fried shallot (at your local asian grocery).  Serve with shrimp crackers, fresh cuke and tomato, and some pickled veggies. For a quick pickling brine for veggies, see my pickled carrot recipe from May 2011.

Enjoy a little taste of Bali!

No comments:

Post a Comment