While in Ubud I was able to have the day to do something by myself. With the kids it is hard to do a lot of things and so we made the decision that on vacations we should each have some time to do something ourselves. My choice was a Balinese cooking class hosted by a local family. I am not a chef or passionate home cook, I just thought it sounded different and would be a nice cultural experience and it was a great experience!
We started the day with a tour of the local market. This is where most Balinese shop. We were told that all the food used in the cooking class was purchased from a more Western style market/store with different health standards because our bellies would not be able to handle the local market. The class was actually the day before a huge festival and so it was incredibly busy with people picking up supplies and food for the first day of the festival which is when they cook and prepare huge meals because the second day you are not allowed to cook. It was really busy, lively and a great experience walking around.
You could select your chicken alive or if you would like or you had the option of already killed and de-feathered. You would never see non refrigerated whole chickens just laying on a table cloth back home....
After the market tour we were brought to the families home/compound and given a tour and taught about how the homes are set up and how certain houses are in certain directions, and the kitchen is always in one direction. We were taught more about daily life and served a cup of Bali coffee before meeting our instructor and taught about all the ingredients we were to be using that day. Such beautiful and fresh ingredients!
And then it was time to prepare our nine dish meal. We cut, grinded the peanuts for peanut sauce, chopped, sliced and made everything as a group. It was very hands on and educational. We all worked together on every step so you really were involved. We made a salad, a soup, peanut sauce, a curry chicken, a fish satay stick, rice, crepes filled with coconut, a vegetable dish and I am sure more that I can't remember! Here I am making the peanut sauce....
Several hours later we were finally done! While we were cooking the mother of the house was preparing the offering with pieces of our meal. It is customary to give an offering in the family temple prior to eating. We were all given sarongs and invited to witness the offering in the family temple.
At the end of class we were given a bottle of homemade coconut oil and a recipe book of what we made to bring home. The whole day was so much fun, totally different than anything I have done before and a great memory!