Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jukut Gedand Mekuah - Spicy Chicken Zucchini Soup

Jo and I have just returned from a twelve night holiday in Bali, staying 5 nights in Ubud and the final 7 nights in Seminyak, an area we both love to spend time relaxing, eating and drinking, it is hard to be back!

We arrived in Ubud after a one and a half hour drive from the airport, picking up a few things on the way to stock the bar fridge, Bintangs, soda water, orange juice and bottled water, just the essentials to go with the duty free items we brought with us.
Walking into the beautiful foyer of the Kamandalu Resort we must have looked a sight loaded down with our supplies, we were greeted by a beautiful Balinese woman who after placing a lei of frangipani around our necks, sat us down for an ice cold drink of freshly squeezed fruit juice, we were happy we had arrived, we were back in Paradise!

The woman then proceeded to tell us about the resort and informed us that we had been upgraded to a garden villa, as I had marked the guest register when booking as being on our Honeymoon, to say we were excited is an understatement, I had forgotten all about ticking the "special holiday box" and Jo having no prior knowledge was a little embarrassed, but we delightedly accepted the upgrade.

Once the business of paying was taken care of the young lady invited us to follow her to our villa, I hoped up grabbing the bigger bags we had walked in with and took off following her across the foyer, Jo following, as we walked all the other staff members came forward to greet us and to wish us a wonderful honeymoon etc, when the bag I was carrying with four 1.25 litre bottles of water decided to break open sending the contents rolling in all directions and me stood there with and empty bag trying to decide which way to run first, the laughs had begun!

We managed to gather the water bottles up and with our hostess sharing the load we made our way to the villa, the gate of which was decorated with streamers made from Pandan leaves and adorned with bright red flowers, the girl explained that this was traditional Balinese decoration to mark a Honeymooners residence, the decorations remained there for our entire stay, which meant the old grey haired bugger got a few wry smiles and knowing looks from the gardeners etc. as we walked around the resort.  But I was not complaining the villa was absolutely beautiful, as was the special Honeymooners cake we were presented with and the large fruit bowl adorned with yet more flowers, special.  On the bed there where two beautiful white swans kissing, above a red heart shaped from rose petals with  letters inside spelling out Mr & Mrs J, even though this was in fact our fifth honeymoon, it made it feel to us, as special as our first.

We had been through Ubud a few times on previous trips, but never stayed long enough to see what the place was all about and once I had made the booking for five nights a year ago, I began to wonder what we would do, so at that time I started to investigate and whilst doing so found some information about a cooking class which included a tour through a local market before going to the peoples home for the cooking class, I was taken by the idea and booked us in immediately.  I was very surprised to learn on the day that they had only just started the business venture a few weeks prior to my booking, had I known this I may not have booked, so I am so glad I did not as I would have missed out on the best day out, both Jo and I rated it as one of the best two things we have done during our travels, the other being the two nights on board a junk on Halong Bay we had in Vietnam 2010.  I intend to do a blog just on this very special cooking class so I will not go on about it any more now, other than to say the recipe for Jukut Gedang Mekuah came for this day, and it was the first thing I cooked on arriving home, I could not wait to do so.

The Jukut Gedand Mekuah, is in fact a Papya, mince chicken soup served with crispy shallots, however I was unable to souce a fresh green Papya so I substituted this with a zuchinni, as suggested by the chef  from the cooking class and quite frankly I could not tell the difference, the dish tasted just as it had back in Ubud.   However it did look quite different, mine was a lot richer in colour, I have put this down to the fresh turmeric being pumpkin orange, whereas the home grown variety we enjoyed at Lobong Villa was a lot paler in colour.

One of the things I really liked about this soup, was its simplicity, counting the spice paste as a ingredient, there where only 9 ingredients in all to make this wonderfully flavoured soup.
1 tbl spn coconut oil
1/2 cup gede paste
1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised
2-3 salem leaves, I used fresh curry leaves
200 gram chicken breast or tenderloins, diced to small mince
100 gram zuchinni, diced into 1cm cube
1 litre chicken stock, home-made is best
2-3 shallots, finely diced and fried until golden (Garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy based pot and add the spice paste, lemon grass and curry leaves, cook stirring for about five minutes, the aromas will fill your kitchen and your mouth should start to water at this point.
Add the minced chicken, stir into the paste and cook for about 5 minutes or until completely browned.
De-glaze the pot with a ladle of chicken stock, being sure to scrap up all the flavour from the bottom of the pan.
Add in the zuchinni or papaya if you are lucky enough to have some, stirring in well, continue stirring until the stock starts to boil, then add in remaining stock, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
 Served garnished with the crispy shallots, I also added some finely sliced spring onion, some red chilli and a few curry leaves, looked great, tasted unbelievably good.
For the base spice paste you will need
100 grams red chillies
125 grams shallots
30 grams garlic cloves
50 grams ginger
30 grams galangal
50 grams fresh turmeric
25 grams candle-nuts, you can use macadamia
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly roasted and crushed in a mortar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
75 ml water
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and grind coarsely, this will make a lot more than is required for the soup recipe above, if you are not making another dish straight away, simply spoon into and ice cube tray and freeze until required.

As I said earlier I will blog our experience with the Lobong Cooking Class in Ubud, in fact I think it will have to be split into three episodes, such was the day and the wonderful experiences we shared, can't wait to shared the stories it was so good!

I used more of the base spice paste today, to make my own version of a Rendang curry, it was bloody awesome too, but that is a story for another day!

No comments:

Post a Comment