Cooking Balinese Organic Food with Astri

 Astri at Work

Astri at Work

Today I spent the morning cooking with Astri. She is the Balinese cook at Jiwa Damai. She is this beautiful lady who is always smiling and makes the most amazing food. So I thought it would be a fun way to spend my day by being her assistant in the kitchen. Oh. I'm Giulia by the way. I'm a WOOFer here at Jiwa Damai. I basically work 6 hour days, 5 days a week & in return I get to live at Jiwa Damai and get these delicious cooked meals for free. I'm very lucky if I may say so myelf.

On the menu for today was Balinese-Style chicken, butter & lemon tuna, curry-style tofu, green beans and red peppers & rice of course. We started working at 10:30 am. We kicked off by making the sauces. Everything is done by hand. There are no blenders, or fancy knives, just a little cutting board. Let's just say to chop up lemongrass, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 mini onions, 3 peppers it took me about an hour. I do have to give myself some credit though. It was so finely chopped that it almost looked like a paste. A good job indeed. While I was working on that, Astri was making a beautiful mix using our mortar & pestle. I want one of these things so bad to bring back to the States. Too bad it weighs like 15 lbs!

 Curry Paste

Curry Paste

After that I started cutting up the string beans. It sounds so easy, but since presentation is pretty big over here, it took me quite some time to make them perfect. I thought I was going to cut my finger off a couple of times, but hey, it was worth it. Look how pretty they came out!

 Hands at Work

Hands at Work

Astri & I had a lot of fun cooking together. It is so relaxing & rewarding at the same time. You learn to be very patient! Especially when we made the Balinese-Style chicken where we cooked it and then had to peel the chicken one little strip at a time. It took forever, but oh, does it look good.

Overall, it was an A+ morning. I don't know if I ever spent 3 hours making a single meal, but it sure was awesome to do so here in Bali. The pace of life is totally different here & that's what I love about this place.

Now...let's eat up!

 Four-course meal

Four-course meal