5am bright and early, our cook, Yudha Renesanto, goes to the market everyday to buy the necessary ingredients to continue cooking the delicious meals he prepares for us each and every day! Today I had the pleasure of accompanying him on his early morning jaunt, what an experience, the Balinese people know how to host a market, the freshest fruit and veggies were abundant. Following Yudha through the market taking everything in this morning as he told each vendor exactly what he wanted and knew just how much to pay. He would stop at all his favorite spots and tell them what he wanted and then we would continue walking through this maze of stalls moving quickly to the next and the next and the next until we arrived at the tail end of this long winding snake of stalls. Purchasing so many items that I had never seen before, the vendors, using their antiquated scales to weight the produce as he pulled out a wad of crumpled bills from his pocket choosing just the right amount, receiving his bag of treasures and onto the next. We would make our way back out of the maze in the exact opposite direction we came in and he would stop again at all his favorite stalls and pick up the bag of goods he has requested on the way in, pay and onward we would go. He has quite the efficient system, in and out in less than 20 minutes. I trailed behind him snapping pictures in awe of the way these people operated thinking to myself there is no way a foreigner would be able to maneuver his/her way around let alone negotiate a price. Yudha shared with me if I were to buy anything and asked him to negotiate a price, the vendors would inquire as to whether the goods were for him or for me; if it was for me the price would be slightly higher. He also let me know that each and every vendor that is familiar with seeing his smiling face and gregarious personality each morning asked if I was his wife. He would giggle and say something back to them in a language completely unfamiliar to me, they could have been saying anything, I just smiled. I enjoyed this outing with Yudha and feel like I got another cultural experience that is reserved for the locals, something that goes on at the ungodly hour where most tourists are fast asleep. Thank you Yudha for allowing me to tag along while you expertly chose what you needed to keep us all nourished for the days ahead.
Yudha is an amazing cook, I like to call him chef but he flatly declines the title based on these merits alone, Characteristic of a Chef and the Ten Food Rules for Health. See below.
Let me share one of his amazing recipes:
Manchurian Mushrooms Do not wash mushroom with water, us paper towel or a cloth to lean the mushrooms Cut mushrooms into quarters (250g) Make a batter with flour, salt, pepper, garlic power and water to make a batter Put mushrooms into the batter Make a dry mixture with flour (3 parts) and cornstarch (one part) and 1 tsp of baking powder Put dry mixture into a container with a lid, drop the mushrooms into the flour mixture and shake covering each. Deep fry mushroom in oil appropriate for deep frying and cook mushrooms over medium heat until yellow golden brown. SAUCE: Cut an onion, peppers into bite sized pieces, cut garlic (3 cloves) and ginger into tiny pieces sautee over all medium heat. Add salt, tomato sauce (Yudha said ketchup), 1 tsp soya sauce, add 1tsp of Indian chilli powder along with 1st of paprika powder. This is one of my favorites, served with steaming rice.