Indonesian Food Goes to India
Celebrating the rich flavors of Indonesian food, The Ritz-Carlton, Bali appointed talented Chef I Made Karyasa of Bejana restaurant to introduce the country’s authentic dishes at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore in India earlier this year. For one and a half months, Chef Made presented Balinese, Javanese and Indonesian buffet spread for lunch and dinner, with menu ranging from Nasi Bakar Sambal Hijau dan Hasil Laut (baked rice with green chili and seafood), Udang Sere Tabia (stir prawn with coconut cream), Gado Gado (steamed vegetables with peanut sauce), and more, including traditional desserts. To Bali & Beyond (BB), Chef Made (MK) shared his experience in India.
BB: Could you please tell us a little bit about your experience in India a couple of months ago?
MK: We had a program to promote Balinese, Javanese and Indonesian food for several weeks from January to March at The Market in The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore. We presented a spread of Indonesian culinary delights from appetizers to desserts for lunch and dinner on the weekdays, luncheons on Fridays and Saturdays, and dinners on Sundays.
BB: How many dishes did you make each day?
MK: Every day, we had a total of 16 items from appetizers to desserts. Some of the food we presented were Balinese suckling pig, Javanese vegetables dishes like karedok and gado-gado. I have also cooked banana buds or jackfruits with coconut cream.
BB: Was it hard to find the ingredients?
MK: Not really. Almost 90 percent of the ingredients were sourced there. I only replaced candlenut with cashews for peanut sauces. The chilies are much spicier than those in Indonesia, so I had to reduce the amount of chili to lower the level of spiciness. The only ingredient that I brought from Bali was the wangen spices, a complete package of dried spices that consisted of black pepper, coriander, and chilies.
BB: And how did the guests take it?
MK: We received positive feedback from the media and other guests. Aside from presenting Indonesian dishes, I also conducted cooking classes. The original plan was to host the class three times only, but due to special requests, we finally held five cooking classes. The participants were ranging from eight people to 35 attendants.
BB: What are the tips and tricks that you usually share to the participants during a cooking class?
MK: That spices are the most crucial elements in Indonesian food. We can make a blend of Balinese spices and use it for 30 different dishes, from satay to soups. So, during a cooking class, I usually share about how important it is to make a base. That’s also what I told the staff that helped me there. I had no team from Indonesia, but one of the kitchen staff assisted me in making blends of Indonesian spices.
BB: Did you get any inspirations from your travel to India?
MK: For me personally, I broke boundaries by trying new experiments that I’ve never done before, as I had to make adjustments using ingredients that were available in India. This journey also expanded my cultural knowledge. I found that Indian culture is not much different from Indonesian, and I think it’s quite fascinating.
BB: What were the challenges?
MK: One of them being the fact that they weren’t really familiar with Indonesian food, so I had to introduce and explain all about Indonesian dishes, not only to the guests but also the kitchen team. Aside from that, I had to adapt with new kitchen utensils and different kitchen space. But the most challenging of all was creating the desserts because I have never done that before. However, I managed to present traditional sweet delights, like sumping waluh and fried jackfruit.
BB: Let’s talk about Bejana restaurant. As the resort’s signature Indonesian restaurant, what are the favorites here?
MK: We are specialized in Indonesian food. Some of the favorites are the Soto Pesmol, a spiced coconut and seafood soup from Jakarta, and Bebek Betutu, a Balinese signature roasted duck dish. We also have a new recommended dish called Bebek Goreng Lengkuas. As for the drink, you must try our Bajjigur, an aromatic warm beverage from West Java that is perfect during a rainy day.
BB: Do you have any cooking classes here?
MK: We conduct a cooking demo on Thursdays at 3 p.m. The class takes only one hour, and we usually make sate lilit and sambal matah. It is a free activity for our guests.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bali
Jalan Raya Nusa Dua Selatan Lot III, Sawangan, Nusa Dua
Join an extraordinary cooking class with Chef Made and his team in the Culinary Cave! Offering a farm-to-table experience, this activity starts with a visit to a nearby traditional market in the morning to source some fresh local ingredients. Once return to the resort, participants can join the chef to pick and harvest some herbs and spices from the resort’s chef’s garden, and bring every ingredient to Bejana restaurant where the Indonesian cooking class conducted by Chef Made takes place in the Culinary Cave. The fun class ends with a festive lunch where participants can taste their own creations.
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