On our recent honeymoon, Mr M & I did a cooking course in Bali at Casa Luna in Ubud. Our lovely friends S & P gave us the cooking course as part of our wedding present and we promised S & P to cook from the course when we got back home.
So the day was upon us to cook the feast. Our menu was tofu fritters (see below for details and recipe), chicken curry, bean and roast coconut salad, lamb stew and tapioca pudding for dessert.
We headed to Minh Phat grocery in Richmond (78 Victoria Street Richmond) to stock up on our ingredients. While we knew they would have a huge range of Asian ingredients, we were particularly pleased with the quality of their fresh fruit, vegies and herbs. Here’s a run through of our ingredients:
Leaves and spices
The tapioca pudding called for pandan leaves, which impart a vanilla type of flavour into the dish. We found them available fresh and also frozen. A number of recipes required salam leaf, which was described to us as an Indonesian-type of bay leaf, we couldn’t source this so we substituted with curry leaves (bay leaf cannot be used as a substitute as they are too strong in flavour). Kaffir lime leaves were available, but we grabbed them from the tree in our garden.
Roots and bulbs
We managed to source fresh turmeric and fresh galangal, which were key ingredients to the dishes.
Yes there are a lot of chillies in the picture below, but most of the recipes included coconut milk, which reduced the spiciness of the dishes.
We also needed a lot of lemongrass for the dishes. During the course we were told to only use fresh lemongrass – the stuff in the jars is completely flavourless.
Bits and bobs
The recipes called for candle nuts, which are ground with the spices to make a spice paste. We were unable to find these, so substituted with macadamia nuts.
We decided to serve these as an appetiser. First step was to cut up all the spices and blend in a food processor:
We blended these, then added the tofu and blended it into a smooth mush:
We then stirred through eggs, sea salt and fried shallots. We dropped tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil.
Our first few fritters were disastrous as the mixture was too thin. I crumbled extra tofu into the mixture, which helped them hold together better. Our fritters were not nearly as cute as the ones we made in our class, but they tasted pretty good nonetheless (especially with a beer!):
I have adjusted the quantities of tofu here to make a thicker batter. Add the eggs one at a time and maybe hold back part of the second egg if the mixture is looking too moist.
4 garlic cloves
6 tsp fresh galangal (this is very woody and hard to chop, but the blender will sort it out)
1/2 tsp shrimp paste (this stinks to high heaven so add it last)
6 tsp palm sugar
4 tsp kenkur (this is sometimes referred to as white turmeric, we couldn’t find it so substituted it with extra galangal)
4 tsp fresh turmeric (watch out – this will stain your clothes and hands)
2 large red chillies
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
900 g firm tofu (not silken tofu)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbs fried shallots
vegetable oil for frying
- Roughly chop all the spices and leaves, blend with shrimp paste and palm sugar in a food processor.
- Add the tofu and blend it in.
- Stir in eggs, sea salt and shallots.
- Heat oil in a wok until very hot – test it is ready by dropping a small amount of mixture into the oil, when the mixture browns and bubbles up the oil is hot enough.
- Drop tablespoons of mixture into the oil, cook until golden.
- Drain onto absorbent paper and serve immediately.
- Makes about 15-20 (depending on the size).
Up next: chicken curry