Wow, what a week it has been! Less than a week ago I was preparing for my Balinese High Tea at the fantastic Lobsterhouse + studio and today I am in the French country side visiting my parents. This life of mine is unconventional at best. Never the same, always changing. Hectic and stress full at worst. Down right exhausting at times. But above anything else abso bloomingly amazing!
Let me start by giving you an update on the Balinese High Tea. I knew this one was gonna be good because I came back from Bali so inspired and couldn’t wait to jump into the kitchen to create my healthier version of Balinese cuisine. Bali changed me. In ways I find hard to explain or give words to. It’s also still a work in progress. I feel the experience is still working through me so I have stopped to try and figure out what exactly happened to me on a spiritual level during that trip. Like anything truely powerful in life, it cannot be explained through reason. But I just know that I am not the same woman I was before visiting the island of the Gods.
Bali is magical and I feel like some of that magic stuck to me. It was this sense of magic that I tried to capture in my last pop up venture. Not magic in a “in your face” bombasting type of way as you may find in Ubud or Seminyak. But way more subtle, more intangible. The way I experienced it in Pemuteran on the North side of the island. So for the high tea instead of bold, blaring decor I went for understated with just a hint of Bali here and there.
One of the first things that any visitor to Bali will notice are all the offerings that you see everywhere and anywhere. Flowers tucked in intricately woven baskests from banana leaves line the streets and family altars all over the island. So these definitely had to be incorporated in my table setting. I did not have access to the fantastic tropical blooms of Bali such as frangipane and bougainville but made due with pretty yellow flowers, appropriately named “golden flowers” in Dutch and the more fragile and delicately scented pink lathyrus and magnolia flowers. Two beautiful budda heads, one wooden and one stone, overlooked the scene. And I used batik patterened placemats and sarongs for authentic and colourful accents in the space. Plenty of burning incense added to the sense of ceremony and reverence.
And than for the food. Mama mia, what food it was! If I were a Balinese God receiving this offering I would have been pleased. Very pleased. And in good Balinese fashion, after offering to the Gods you eat the rest yourself. I like this tradition. Oh yes, I like it very much. So for sweets I made sundried mango, cashew and coconut energy balls, gluten free mango and pineapple tartlets, muffins laden with spices and plump pieces of prune and lemongrass and poppy seed scones. The savoury bites were rice flour pancakes with tamarind and date chutney, avocado and coconut milk shooters, spicy tempeh sate’s, gado gado with crunchy cashew nut sauce and the crown jewel, black rice lemper with a turmeric laden aubergine and mushroom filling.
Lemper is a tasty Indonesian snack traditionally made with white sticky rice, plenty of santen or coconut cream and a fragrant shredded chicken filling. My version was vegan, whole grain, gluten free and chock full freshly grated turmeric and finely chopped lemongrass. Than the whole thing was carefully rolled and covered in a piece of banana leaf. Right before serving, the heavenly parcels were steamed for 10 minutes releasing a deliciously exotic aroma in to the room. This snack is time consuming and fiddly to make, but so worth the end result.
But as I got a special request from a reader, today I am featuring the recipe for Gado Gado. Gado in Bahasa Indonesian means “something to eat”. So Gado Gado loosely translated would mean something like ” a whole lot of something to eat.” And that is exactly what this dish is. Although often served as a side dish, make a bigger portion and you have a complete meal in its own right. The dish consists of steamed veggies, a peanut sauce, something crunchy on top like kroepoek or fried onions and often a boiled egg. In my version I made a sauce of sunflower seeds and cashew nuts as many people suffer from a peanut allergy nowadays. The traditional vegetables to use are shredded white cabbage, bean sprouts and snake beans. But you can make any variation you choose. In Surinam we often serve it with some steamed sweet plantain to add more substance to the dish and many recipes add fried tempeh or tofu. I used some split yellow mung beans in my version for easily digestable extra protein and grated carrot for colour.
Depending on the vegetables you use this dish is fine for all types. For Kapha and Pitta though I would leave the cashew nuts out of the sauce to make it less fatty. Cabbage and beans are categorized under the astringent taste in Ayurveda which in greater quantities can be unbalancing for Vata. However having it on ocassion should not pose any prolems. For Vata I would definitely add a sweeter vegetable to the mix, such as sweet plantain, sweet potato or pumpkin. And Vata can also substitute a sweeeter nut milk for the soy milk in the sauce.
Gado gado with sunflower seed and cashew sauce
Adapted from the Boekoe Kita cookbook
For 6 people as a snack
- 200 grams steamed green beans, haricot verts or chopped snake beans
- 200 grams steamed shredded white cabbage
- 200 grams steamed bean sprouts
- 100 grams grated carrot (raw for Pitta and Kapha. Steamed for Vata)
- 100 grams cooked yellow split mung beans (salted)
- 2 hard boiled eggs peeled and quartered
- 50 gram crispy fried onion
Mix all vegetables and serve topped with some boiled egg, yellow split mung beans, fried onions and sauce.
For the sauce
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cm fresh ginger
- 1 teapoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 3 tablespoons shoyu sauce
- 1 tablepoon coconut blossom sugar
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 90 gram dry roasted sunflower seeds
- 30 grams toasted cashew nuts
- 120 ml soy milk
In a small food processor mix the onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, shoyu, coconut blossom sugar and tamarind paste into a thick paste. Heat the sunflower oil in a medium saucepan and slowly fry the onion paste on low heat for 5 minutes until fragrant. Meanwhile chop the sunflower and cashew nuts in the foodprocessor very finely (no need to wash the bowl in between, you will add it to the onion paste later). Add to the pan and fry for a minute or two. Now add the soy milk (careful, it will splatter) to the pan and cook for about 8 to 12 minutes on very low heat to the desired thickness. If you like your sauce on the runny side add a dash more soy milk . Taste if the sauce may need some more salt, coconut blossom sugar or tamarind paste.