A paradise of golden sand, temples and sunshine, Indonesia’s Island of the Gods, is also a gastronomic heaven. Blessed with an abundance of fresh produce and a culinary culture that’s a fine fusion of indigenous tradition, bold Indonesian flavours and a smattering of Indian influence, I’m fairly convinced Bali’s deities’ all have very happy bellies.
Based around rice, noodles, fresh vegetables, meat and fish, all infused with spice, we can’t get enough and on our regular visits to Bali, I’m usually straight on the hunt for gado gado (peanut sauce smothered steamed vegetables) and Raff’s not satisfied until he’s shoving his face into a hot Sambal Udang (prawns in spicy sauce) and succulent Bebek Betutu (slow roasted duck cooked in banana leaves).
Sugarpuff, on the other hand, has a sate lilit (minced meat skewer) radar, and she’s been gobbling them down ravenously since she was a baby. Though this may be as much due to her obsession with anything on a stick as their smoky flavour and irresistibly peanutty sauce.
With regular visits to Bali with the kids and a tendency to bring home a country’s culinary highlights as a souvenir whenever we can, it’s not uncommon for us to whip up a wicked nasi goreng (fried rice topped with egg) or mie goreng (fried noodles topped with egg) at home. But the dish most frequently requested by the kids is perkedel jagung (or bakwan jagung), spicy Indonesian corn fritters that are a ubiquitous and cheap snack found all around Indonesia’s islands (at least when my ravenous twosome aren’t in town cleaning out supplies).
Perkedel jagung are quick to whip up and use easy to find ingredients, so I’m always happy to oblige. Indeed, so popular have they become that I rustle up a stack of my version of the sweet corn spiked fritters for brunch every other Sunday. Served up with either my homemade sweet mango chilli sauce or a quick salsa made from red onion, chilli, coriander, tomato and a hit of lime (which is far less traditional but damned delicious), they’re guaranteed to disappear in seconds.