Paon Bali Cooking Class
As I mentioned in one of my previous Bali posts, Mike and I took a cooking class while in Ubud and it was my favorite thing that we did during our entire 10 day stay on Bali. Paon Bali Cooking Class is run by husband and wife team Wayan and Puspa, along with the help of several others, and it is so much more than just a cooking class. The day starts with an early morning visit to the Ubud Market, followed by a visit to Wayan’s rice paddies. At the rice paddy Wayan will spend his customary 5 “Bali minutes” talking about all things rice and then the rest of the morning/early afternoon is spent at Wayan and Puspa’s home enjoying ice cold Bintangs while cooking in their outdoor kitchen. Once the cooking is complete it’s finally time to enjoy all the delicious food along with more ice cold Bintangs and great conversation with your fellow cooking classmates from all around the world.
As I mentioned above, our day started very early with an 8am pick-up from our hotel. We first visited the Ubud Market and then headed out of town to visit Wayan’s rice paddy and learn a little about the importance of rice on Bali. Wayan was so sweet and so funny and between his smile, his stories and his commentary you couldn’t help but fall in love with him. Everything here was so GREEN, it was really a beautiful place to see.
After our intro to rice we headed to Wayan and Puspa’s beautiful home where we were greeted with refreshing frozen lime drinks and entertained by more colorful commentary courtesy of the husband and wife duo. Puspa didn’t let us rest very long though…we had a Balinese feast to prepare!
Puspa and her team led us to the open air kitchen and we got right to work chopping vegetables and “blending” the ingredients for some of the sauces. Here at Paon Bali we used the “Bali blender” to blend our ingredients for the Base Gede (Bumbu Kuning, basic yellow sauce) and the peanut sauce. I think I’ll stick to my Cuisinart when I try to recreate these dishes at home…
While we each took turns on the Bali Blender, Puspa took us over to the cooking area and showed us the process of making their very own coconut oil.
Once our ingredients were all chopped and blended it was time to start making the magic happen. We headed over to our gas burners and Puspa led us through the steps of creating a Balinese feast. We finished cooking our base gede as it’s a key ingredient in many of the recipes and then continued with a clear mushroom & vegetable soup (Kuah Wong or Sup Jamur) followed by the chicken in coconut curry (Be Siap Mesanten or Kare Ayam). The smells going on in the kitchen at this point were way beyond mouthwatering.
Next up we made some chicken satays on bamboo sticks (Sate Siap or Sate Lilit Ayam) that were grilled over coconut shell chips followed by our tuna wrapped in banana leaves (Pepesan be Pasih or Pepes Ikan).
We finished off our cooking with the deep fried tempe in sweet soy sauce (Tempe Me Goreng or Tempe Kering) and mixed together the coconut and snake bean salad (Jukut Urab) and vegetables in peanut sauce (Kacang Me Santok or Gado Gado) and then it was time to feast! We had 14 people in our cooking class and there was still food left over after everyone’s first pass. It was the best meal I had during our entire 10 days in Bali…an Indonesian flavor party in my mouth.
To finish off our meal, Puspa made us a boiled banana in palm sugar syrup dessert (Kolak Biu or Kolak Pisang). With coconut cream and jackfruit thrown in it was the perfect sweet ending to our wonderful day.
With full bellies our group began to part ways but I know for a fact that this is an experience none of us will ever forget. If you visit Bali this is a must-do activity….people, culture, and amazing food…what’s not to love?! They will pick you up from anywhere on the island and you definitely don’t have to be good at cooking to enjoy the day you’ll have with Wayan and Puspa so that really leaves no excuses. I’ll let you know when I get around to attempting to recreate some of these dishes…it should be pretty interesting!