One of the keys to experiencing Balinese culture is to get acquainted with its cuisine. As one of the archipelagos's most densely populated islands with a distinct religion, language and culture, its traditions are fused with a unique perspective on food. The flavour and the richness of the ingredients as well as the ways of cooking them reflect in many ways the typical Balinese Hindu outlook on life.
Anika Guesthouse offers half day cooking classes that will introduce you to the secrets of Balinese cuisine. At the end, you will savour the best the island has to offer, created by none other than yourself under the skillful guidance of chef Komang Adnyana. There are morning and afternoon classes for up to 30 people and each course lasts approximately 5 hours. The first item on the agenda is a trip to the market to buy fresh ingredients so morning classes are not advisable for those who aren't early risers. After the class is finished, you will have the opportunity to taste the fruits of your labour and that is usually the ultimate reward. Different menus are scheduled for different days so you have an option of taking multiple day courses as well.
Anika guesthouse is located in Tuban, near the airport and only a 10 minute drive from Kuta or Denpasar. The cooking course is held in a tastefully decorated space, furnished with rustic wooden tables and Balinese features. Before the start of the class, the staff kneels before the altar and offers various home baked pastries and snacks to the gods. With the celestial spirits satisfied to the fullest what could possibly go wrong?
We start off with a very interesting introduction to the ingredients that will be used in the cooking process. Most of these fresh spices, herbs and roots are commonly available in the West as dried powders and to see and smell the original thing is a real eye opener. Komang tells about the workings and the different uses for each ingredient and slices them open for the participants to smell their unique fragrance.
The basic spice mix that forms the pillar for many Balinese dishes is called Base Genep and consists of pepper, garlic, nutmeg, shrimp paste, ginger and many other ingredients ground into a golden-yellow paste. Each of the dishes that are on the menu today is built up from a unique bumbu (blend of spices) which will later be grounded in one of the huge mortar and pestles. After grinding, these spice mixtures are fried in a wadjan (wok) until fragrant and then stir fried with the other ingredients.
The result after the grinding, the frying and the stirring is a table filled with an array of bedazzling dishes that are a feast to the eye and a temptation for the tummy. Luckily, all there is left to do now is enjoy this meal fit for kings and queens. The taste sensations are indescribable. From the coconut grilled satay to the spicy tender aubergine, the balance between sweet, salty, sour, spicy Balinese strife for, is perfect.
This is a unique chance to take a peek and discover what's cooking in the Balinese kitchen. You'll feel totally content after the thorough explanation and cultural knowledge displayed by the host and of course the delicious food tasting created by your own hands. The complimentary cookbook will be a well used souvenir for back home.