As you might have guessed, my favorite region in the whole world is Asia. And of all Asia, my favorite island is Penang, my hometown, and my second favorite is Bali, Indonesia. I love Bali—its lush green fields, Hindu temples, rolling highlands, sandy beaches, rich culture, and friendly people. I’ve been there a few times and wish to learn more about its cuisine. I’m so happy to come across Cooking Tackle, an Indonesian food blog by Ira, based in Bali. Cooking Tackle is a visual eye candy. I absolutely love the exotic recipes and mouthwatering food photography. The blog is simply delicious! Please welcome Cooking Tackle and Ira to Rasa Malaysia, with a traditional Balinese chicken, or ayam pelalah recipe.
Although the sky for the most part is grey here in Bali recently, it doesn’t mean that I’m lack of motivation. In fact, cooking has always been an enjoyable experience, so you could imagine how excited I was when I received an email from Bee, inviting me to be a guest writer on Rasa Malaysia.
We discussed the recipe via email and I proposed a Balinese recipe to showcase Balinese cuisine to Rasa Malaysia readers. I was very happy that both Bee and I liked the idea. To be honest, I take this guest post as the perfect opportunity to share my passion for Balinese cooking with the many readers on Rasa Malaysia, especially to those who are not familiar with Bali and its interesting cuisine. I’d like to thank Bee for the honor to be here. I feel privileged to be able to share my humble recipe here.
Let me introduce myself: My name is Ira, an Indonesian woman who lives in the island of the God, the island of a thousand temples—Bali. Bali is genuinely beautiful; it’s a magical island to many people who have visited it. Bali is the island chosen by God, by its people…it’s exotic and heavenly!
I’m sharing a recipe of Balinese food today. Balinese chicken or ayam pelalah is a traditional and authentic Balinese dish, an everyday dish as well as a ceremonial staple. It’s basically shredded chicken. The chicken is first grilled and then tossed with many aromatic Balinese spices. It’s one of the most scrumptious Balinese recipes and it’s iconic to Bali. Ayam pelalah is commonly served as a side dish or as a compliment for nasi campur Bali or Balinese mixed rice.
The general assumption is that Balinese cooking is tedious and takes a long time to prepare. However, I believe that if you’re passionate about learning Balinese cuisine and have patience, you’ll never be hindered by this presumption. I personally think differently as cooking traditional Balinese food is like a sacred offering to the God—it’s the belief of Balinese Hinduism. However, I must warn you that Balinese food is spicy and calls for numerous spices in the preparation process, so it’s true that cooking Balinese food is a tedious process.
I learned about Balinese food when I attended a Balinese cooking class last year. I also own a couple Balinese cookery books. After the cooking class, I couldn’t wait to go home and started cooking Balinese food for my family. I was so excited to be able to make authentic Balinese dishes; it was a fun and wonderful experience. I was very lucky as I learned authentic Balinese cooking from a native. Nothing beats learning from native home cooks; they are the most humble, kind, and sincere people I’ve ever known. Since then, I’ve been cooking and experimenting authentic Balinese cooking at home.