Indonesian Sambal

For those who like a little spice in their lives, there is nothing better than a chili sauce, one balanced in flavor that not only brings mouth heat but also comforting warmth to a meal. For me, a chili sauce in an Asian meal is as important (if not more) as salt and pepper shakers on a western table. Whether soy sauce based or chili pepper based, flavoured with shrimp paste, or fermented soy bean, or lemongrass, or small red chilis chopped with seeds and all (not for the faint of heart) – it lends an umami flavour, which once you start having with your meals, is hard to go without.

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If you like the flavour of a particular chili sauce, but not the heat, then why not try to make your own at home? It’s actually pretty simple, and once you have found a good recipe, you can whip up a batch and keep it in the fridge to savour over coming days.

Whenever we go to Bali, I always hang around the villa’s kitchen, and if I ask nicely, Ketut (the chef) is always happy to give me a cooking demonstration.¬†Here are two Indonesian sambal recipes that I love, straight from a Balinese kitchen to you.

Sambal Matah – or Sambal Bali, as I call it ūüôā

This is a raw sambal, of Balinese origin.

Ingredients for Sambal Matah

Ingredients for Sambal Matah

Ingredients:

5 shallots, finely sliced
3 Lemongrass, white section finely chopped
3 chilis, finely chopped
1/4 lime
1 cm piece of shimp paste
vegetable oil or coconut oil

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The best of Bali – Food

One of my favorite places in the world is Bali, the enchanting island of the Gods. Each time the wheels touch the tarmac, all stress vanishes and I feel instantly lighter. Feeling the coarse black sand squelching in between your toes as you run away from the crashing waves that always approach faster than you anticipated. Driving through paddy fields on pot-holed roads as you watch a large group of children pass by carrying a huge kite over their heads. Kayaking, or white water rafting, or cycling, or climbing, or playing with lion cubs at the zoo. For me, everything about this island promotes peace, tranquility, and a general sense of well being. And the food, oh my goodness, the food! The Balinese put so much emphasis on spices so that myriads of different combinations of them result in such a rich depth of flavour that it’s simply impossible to not be delighted.

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All these reasons and more makes one appreciate Bali so fully, not only for the trendy tourists spots, but also for the small, no-frills restaurants that serve simple, honest and authentic Bali cuisine. I love watching the sun set at Ku De Ta with one of their stupidly expensive (yet amazing) cocktails in hand, just as much as I love to pull the flesh off a piece of ayam goreng and dip it in sambal before placing it on top of my rice and scooping it into my mouth with my fingers at a road-side warung.

So here I give you my Bali favorites, the posh and the plain, the hip and the trendy, the cheap and the cheerful.

THE SEMINYAK/LEGIAN AREA:

♥ POTATO HEAD/LILIN/TAPPING SHOES ♥

Potato Head has something for everyone – call ahead to reserve one of their day beds by the pool to enjoy cocktails and snacks in between dips. There is a minimum charge, but with their prices, you’ll have no problem covering it. The cocktails are around the same as HK prices, or you could opt for one of their awesome sangria mixes (around IDR560,000/HK$450 for around 6 glasses), served in large fishbowls. At the Beach Club, the food is of a very high standard and their burgers and desserts are to die for.

Potato Head’s Wagyu Beef Burger – hands down the best burger in Bali. Perhaps even one of the best burgers I’ve had, ever! R120,000 (HK$100)

Check out Lilin in the evenings for Asian Tapas, a wonderful way to try all kinds of South East Asian cuisines in small portions. The grilled fish was great, although for the other grilled seafood options you’re better off in Jimbaran. ¬†I haven’t tried Tapping Shoes yet, their more upscale modern French restaurant (headed by Japanese chef Take Hikaru), but if the other food is anything to go by…

Address: Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak Tel: +62 361 473 7979 Website: http://www.ptthead.com/

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4 tapas (prawn balls, beef rendang, Thai roast duck red curry, fish carpaccio) for IDR 180,000 (HK$145)

♥ KU DE TA ♥

In its 12th year as a Bali hot spot, KTC is the place to see and be seen. Indulge in a modern dinner and a really yummy and extensive cocktail list (Rp. 110,000).  A nice place for a special occasion for dinner, but really, I’d prefer to eat locally, you can always eat this stuff at home. Go there to watch the sunset with an awesome cocktail and some cool vibes instead.

Address: Jalan Laksmana, 9, Seminyak Tel: (+62) 361 736969 Website: http://www.kudeta.net/

Ku de ta

‚ô•¬†NAUGHTY NURI’S WARUNG ‚ô•

Don’t be surprised if you end up going to Naughty Nuri’s 3 times in a 5 day trip to Bali – their ribs are that good. I’ve heard good things about their pork chops as well – choose from a good range of side-dishes (porn corn, anyone?) as well as a choice of Indonesian dishes. Their slogan is spot on: “A funky streetside food haven, especially for the “naughty but nice!” With wicked ribs and brutal martinis, fun times and smiles are guaranteed.”

Address: Jalan Batubelig, 41 Tel: (+62) 361 847 6722 Website: http://www.naughtynurisbali.com/

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Full slab of the most delicious, tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs! IDR 89,000 (HK$ 70)

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LoveBites Lunches: Gyotaku

Gyotaku

Are you looking for a nice alternative for a relatively light Japanese  set lunch other than Sushi Kuu in Central? If yes, then we are in the same boat. I LOVE Sushi Kuu, but I ALWAYS go there. So when I saw Gyotaku flash by on my Facebook news feed (I know, I know), I clicked.  I work from home mainly, and thus do not know the weekday lunch scene too well Рfor something like this, one must rely on recommendations!

‘Gyotaku’ is a Japanese traditional method of fish printing. The method was initially used by fisherman in order to record their catches, and is now also practiced as a form of art. As far as I remember, there is no tribute to ‘gyotaku’ in the restaurant apart from their logo, and ¬†but we were too involved in ordering and then catching up. The food at Gyotaku is meant to be creative/fusion, my Facebook buddy DW told me that I just HAD TO try to the wagyu beef hand rolls, but wanting to watch the calories after the holidays, CM and I went for the set lunches instead.

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Sweet Kabayaki Eel lunch set $140

This eel dish was really quite wonderful. Moist and full of flavour, nicely charred from the grill, it was a real winner.

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Side salad

The set comes with the usual rice and miso soup, as well as a side salad, pickles and dessert. All were satisfactory!

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Side sashimi (extra $30)

You can pay an extra $30 for a side of sashimi, which is definitely worth it of you’re craving some fresh, cold raw fish. Or you can also choose from the a la carte menu.

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Grilled Miso Cod Fish Set $140

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Boulangerie Bistronomique

Since I started dating a Frenchman, my appreciation and knowledge of certain foods has expanded ¬†– there were just so many things that I never knew about eating or thought about buying! This knowledge has unfortunately not yet spread to wine, but food! Ooooh yeah, with food I got it down! Baked goods (and related products) are one thing I find myself eating a lot more of – baguettes (bye bye sliced bread!), Dalloyau’s opera cake, canel√©s,¬†all things Eric Kayser, financiers, french salted butter (regular butter is such a waste of calories!), with a short shot of espresso…

This post is a while in the making because I have been buying baked goodies from Boulangerie Bistronomique since it first opened. Young p√Ętissier¬†Alex heads up the kitchen, and together with the rest of a talented team bakes up French pastries, baguettes, loaves, tea cakes and eclairs. It’s another great addition to the Hong Kong food scene by David Lai, and despite having Robuchon and the newly opened Eric Kayser (so excited about that!) bakeries available to us, it’s nice to support local when possible. It’s easy to support Boulangerie Bistronomique, because their baked goods are just that good.

Brioches/ extra large Chouquettes @ $15 & Pain au Chocolat @ $19

Croissants @ $18

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In Pictures – L’Altro


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I’ll first take this opportunity to wish Happy New Year to everybody! May 2013 bring you even more happiness, good fortune, delectable meals and lovely friends to eat them with! It has been some time since my last post, and for a good reason – yes, it was Christmas and then new year, but more than anything else, I have been preoccupied with another type of food. Food for the soul – LOVE. Yes, gooey, icky, sweet and wonderful LOVE. I have gone from having a truly amazing boyfriend, to having a truly amazing fianc√©! For the next 10 months, wedding planning is going to be taking up a large part of my life and most of my spare time, and although I am tempted to perhaps have a little hiatus from blogging, I am always eating good food and wanting to write about it. So my posts may be scarce, and a tad shorter than usual – but I can’t give up the other love of my life – food.

As part of the celebration for our engagement, my fianc√©¬†(takes a bit of getting used to!) took my parents and myself to a wonderful new Italian restaurant in town. Another in a line of restaurants opened by foreign Michelin-starred & celebrity chefs, L’Altro is headed by¬†Philippe Leveille, a two star Michelin chef of Miramonti l‚ÄôAltro in Brescia, Italy, who serves Italian food with a French twist and flair.

Diners have the option of ordering à la carte, or from two tasting menus: a 6-course Tasting Menu 1 for $880 (gotta love those numbers, why not just go all the way and make it $888??), and an 8-course Tasting Menu 2 for $1080. When we visited in early December, we also had the option of the White Truffle Tasting Menu, which could be ordered with or without truffles. Now, dare I wonder why they would offer a menu that was built around the truffle with an option to not have it with the main attraction, but my man and my stepdad were more attracted by it Рso we ordered two of these menu and two Tasting Menu 2s, and shared.

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We were all served this lovely amuse bouche of fois gras with a sugar/nut croquant and green apple sauce (if I remember correctly) – yum!

White Truffle Tasting Menu

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Cauliflower Cream

Wonderfully creamy, a little on the thicker side, it didn’t exactly pique our interest for the rest of the meal, but it was a nice and light way to start it.

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Potato compote, confit lobster, asparagus olive oil emulsion

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