Paon Bali Cooking Class was the recommendation on Trip Advisor. We had looked at a few others and not really knowing the differences we decided to go with the recommendations of the multitudes. And we were not disappointed.
We called on Monday to see if we could book Tuesday afternoon, it was fully booked so we ended up booking for that afternoon. They were very accommodating on the phone and organised to collect us from our house at 3:45pm. Great, now I needed a babysitter. A friend of mine had used a nanny service in Bali so I called them and with 3 hours notice they were happy to accommodate us.
The lady that arrived Komba was lovely. She had 2 children herself which were with her mother so she could come look after mine. She took the kids swimming in the pool, made them dinner and put them to bed with no hassles. She messaged us to let us know Caius was crying when it was bedtime, but she sang him twinkle little star and he was fine. 3:30pm until 9:15pm cost us $25.
Anyway back to this amazing cooking class. Her morning class you visit the markets and they show you how to buy food, but the afternoon class we went straight to the location. Our driver was great and introduced himself as Made. I mentioned everyone is Made and he explained that if you are first born your name is Wayan (girl or boy) and if you are second your name is Made. Followed by a more unique name – fascinating!
We picked up a lovely English couple and made our way up the mountain, where he stopped outside a house. The cooking class was actually in the home of a lovely Balinese couple Wayan & Puspa and their two children. We were welcomed with a iced lime juice, which was refreshing and delicious, and then the couple entertainingly told us about the housing situation and their lifestyle.
A few things they shared:
- They were MBA in Bali. That is Married By Accident – she got pregnant and in Bali, if you are pregnant you must marry.
- Paon means kitchen.
- The front of the home is the temple and belongs to God.
- The middle of the home is the human component. There are 3 different dwellings one for the grandparents, one for the parents and kids (who are in the same room until elementary school). There is another area for meetings. In Bali any problem arises they have a meeting and discuss it. This is why they can all live together for so long.
- The bottom section is for the kitchen and animals.
- When they turn 100 they are free to die, be cremated and then their spirit goes to live in the temple.
- Generations upon generations live in these compounds. He only has 4 in his house as he is adopted, but his neighbours have 21, 16 & 18. One neighbour down the road has 55 people living in the one compound. The middle ground is not allowed new buildings, but the lower level is.
- The middle ground housing is all equally spaced with the oldest person’s feet being the measurements at time of building. It is also always in perfect order of east, south, north and west. They always sleep with their heads north west towards the mountain toward God. The grandparent’s residence is higher as he is the king or she is the queen. The parents is lower and then the other residences even lower.
There was so much more, but that’s a snippet for you. After this we went to the lower ground to the most amazing view and the most amazing kitchen.
The lady showed us all the ingredients and what we were going to be cooking. It was amazing. We all shared tasks of chopping, stirring, mixing, etc. We made roughly 7 or 8 dishes. These were:
Kuah Wong Sup Jamur – Clear Mushroom & Vegetable Soup
Spicy and delicious!
Base Gede Bumbu Kuning – Basic Yellow Sauce
This went into everything. This is the basis of all their dishes. It can be refrigerated for 3 weeks.
Be Siap Mesanten Kare Ayam – Chicken in Coconut Curry
I loved this and would cook it again, delicious!
Sate Siap Sate Lilit Ayam – Minced Chiken Grilled on Bamboo Sticks
Delicious, better with peanut satay sauce.
Kacang Me Santok Gado Gado – Vegetables in Peanut Sauce
This was super delicious too.
Jukut Urab – Coconut and Snake Bean Salad
Not too bad for a salad
Pepesan Be Pasih Pepes Ikan – Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves
I’m not a fan of fish, but the process was interesting
Tempe Me Goreng Tempe Kering – Deep Fried Tempe in Sweet Soy Sauce
Never been a fan of bean curd, but this was quite nice.
Kolak Biu Kolak Pisand – Boiled Banana in Palm Sugar Syrup
My favourite – this dish was so simple and so divine!
After we finished cooking two tables were set for the 20 guests and we all sat down to eat. It was a great evening. We met lots of new people and had lots of laughs. There were people fro Switzerland, Holland, USA, England and of course, Perth. The food was delicious and I believe everyone had a really good night.
The tables were set in a very elegant Balinese style and overlooked the most amazing views. A mountainside of lush palm trees and greenery, which slowly became a dark canopy of musical bugs and night creatures with the soft breeze rustling the leaves in the trees.
Our host looked tired at the end, it must be a big day everyday with a morning and afternoon of cooking, but we were so thankful to her and her husband for their cheery countenance. They also provided us with a recipe book of everything we had cooked that evening.
This has definitely been a highlight of the journey. I am not sure if we will ever get around to cooking some of those strange recipes and their ingredients, but the dessert is on my list of things to make ASAP – the kids will love it!
Boiled Banana in Palm Sugar Syrup
- 2 bananas
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream
- 1 pandan leaf
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups of water
- Decorate – teaspoon grated coconut & tablespoon palm sugar syrup
- Slice the bananas, grate the palm sugar.
- Boiled the water, add Pandan leaf, banana, palm sugar and coconut cream. Meanwhile add cornflour to about 2 tablespoons of water in a separate cup and mix thoroughly. Let the banana mixture cook for about 2 minutes then add cornflour liquid, stirring gently, to thicken.
- Stir for less than a minute and remove an from heat. Serve on a dessert plate.
- To make optional syrup, boil 1 tablespoon palm sugar in half cup water until it becomes thick Drizzle over dish, top with grated coconut and maybe some vanilla ice-cream.