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The makings of the feast

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:



Coconut milk, white vinegar, tapioca, tofu and the dreaded shrimp paste

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.


Curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves, pandan leaves, nutmeg, cloves, coriander seeds and cardamom

Roots and bulbs

We managed to source fresh turmeric and fresh galangal, which were key ingredients to the dishes.


Fresh turmeric, galangal, ginger, shallots and garlic


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.


Snake beans, birdseye chillies, large chillies, tomato and lime

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.


Lemongrass stalks

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.


Tamarind pulp, macadamia nuts, fried shallots, palm sugar and coconut

Tofu fritters

We decided to serve these as an appetiser. First step was to cut up all the spices and blend in a food processor:


Spices in the mini-processor

We blended these, then added the tofu and blended it into a smooth mush:


Tofu fritter mix

We then stirred through eggs, sea salt and fried shallots. We dropped tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil.


Fritters frying away

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!):


Oddly shaped but still tasty


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
2 eggs
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

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4 Responses to “A Balinese feast (Part 1)- Intro and tofu fritters”

  1. Callie LaDay says:

    Wow, great blog you have here. I found your site while looking for another one on about.com. I don’t have time to read all the recipes right now, but I have bookmarked your site and will visit again very soon to see the latest. I love reading about cooking, it is my favorite hobby. The recipes on your site are incredible. I can’t wait to try them out on my family. They think I’m nuts (and maybe they are right lol) when they see me at work in the kitchen. Visit my site if you’d like to read more. Thank you again for a really nice site. Have a great evening!

  2. elizabeth says:

    The ‘candlenuts’ in your picture are in fact Macadamia nuts and are not the same as candlenuts…. I hear almonds are better to use in place of candlenuts.

    The Casa Luna cooking classes are wonderful though!

    • Emily says:

      Elizabeth, yes we used Macadamia nuts rather than candlenuts as we could not find any. Thanks for the tip, we will try almonds next time as a substitute and see how we go.

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