Lombok: Cooking at the Hotel Tugu.
Initially, there were a couple of reasons that brought Brunyfire specifically to Lombok that involved fire, food and clay – another cooking class and a visit to a pottery village. The choice of Qunci Villas was, as described in an earlier post, central to those reasons. So on the second day, Farosh took us up the coast to the Hotel Tugu Lombok where I had booked a cooking class.
The coast road from Senggigi to Sire Beach is spectacular – once again, a very good road winds up the side of Mount Rinjani, an active volcano that contributes to the black sand found on Senggigi beach and dominates the land – being the second highest in Indonesia. (Couldn’t resist this image by Oliver Spalt taken in 1995)
A little north of Senggigi is the tiny township of Mangsit, the gateway to the Gili Islands, with its traditional outriggers resting along the beach, as well as more conventional crafts in the bay – only an hour and a half away from Bali. Following the coastal road, past more villages, with monkeys on the guardrails and goats sitting in the middle of the road, enjoying the warmth of the tarmac, with spectacular coastal views on the left, and dense jungle to the roadside on the right, we arrived at our destination.
Tucked away onto a dirt road, past a nondescript little hand-painted sign, we turned towards Sire Beach and into the six hectare palm plantation that is the site of Hotel Tugu, Lombok.
Anhar Setjadibrata is the owner of Tugu Hotels and a long-time collector of Indonesian antiques. Evidence of his eccentric and eclectic choices are incorporated into the whole complex, a combination of Hindu statutory and traditional Indonesian building styles.
I was greeted by a charming young saried Sasak who insisted on calling me Miss Penny throughout the course of the day, who offered me his arm and escorted me over a tiny bridge overlooked by some grinning deity……………..into the magnificent Kokok Pletok, the open air dining room……… ………where we were offered ginger and lemongrass tea in locally produced pottery. Upon the roof of the Kokok Pletok sits the gigantic statue of the Hindu deity, the rooster, no doubt casting his unapproving eye upon the bikini clad guests as they soak up the sun. Quite a few French guests I noted, who must be pretty wealthy as this is quite some luxury establishment and doesn’t come cheap. For the romantically inclined, a trip in the hotel’s traditional Naga Mesem or Dragon boat for a sunrise breakfast or a spot of snorkeling off one of the coral-fringed islands.But enough of the romance, Brunyfire had come for the cooking class that had caught her imagination that promised: ‘a unique lifestyle experience that speaks of hundred years old traditions, of the beautiful humbleness and the exotic richness of Indonesian dining and cooking culture. Begin with a visit to traditional market where you will submerge into the Lomboknese way of living. Pick the recipes you favor most and finish with a traditional lunch/dinner experience, eating with bare hands surrounded by oil lamps, stone grinders, and traditional steamers on wood-fire terracotta stoves in the open kitchen’.
The cost of this was still reasonable at US$85 (expensive by comparison to my Balinese experience previously at US$35) and I was really looking forward to cooking with traditional clay pots. ……..however, it was not what I got!
Cooking with gas and an electric blender!!
Nevertheless, I was the only one in the class, and I was escorted to the local market in the nearby village of Sigar Penjalin by Joseph, the manager of the complex and a driver in an air-conditioned car. The market proved really interesting – in fact, I liked it much better than the market in Ubud despite Joseph’s warning that it was pretty dirty underfoot. However, it did not detract from the freshness of the produce, the names of which Joseph had to look up on his smart phone – once again, thank god for google! Amongst the produce was water spinach, palm sugar, garlic, ginger and galangal………………….baby aubergines……………and quail eggs. And the street food vendors making sate and pancakes.Back at the hotel, I meet my personal chef, 25 year old Eko Mulyo from Java who said I reminded him of his 70 year old Grandma – thanks kid!!I had already decided on the menu, figuring my choices would give me the best experience of cooking on the grill.
- 1/2 butterflied chicken
- 10 grams garlic
- 10 grams candle nuts (can be replaced with macadamias)
- 10 grams dried chili
- 20 grams red chilis
- 200 mls coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
- 1/2 tablespoon palm sugar
Ayam Taliwang, a local Lombok word meaning ‘grilled chicken’. In this instance, the chicken is grilled on a barbecue of coconut husk coals, till browned and partially cooked. The remaining ingredients are then blended (in an electric blender, much to my disappointment) and sauteed in a little coconut oil. The chicken and the sauteed sauce ingredients are placed into a wok, the coconut milk added and the lot cooked for at least an hour until the liquid is reduced.
- 50 grams peeled shallots
- 180 grams beef (Eko was very proud to tell me that this was Australian beef, and very expensive!)
- 30 grams red chilis
- 50 grams peeled garlic
- 50 grams candle nuts (or macadamias)
- 10 grams peeled galangal
- 80 grams fried peanuts
- 20 grams tumeric (powdered will do)
- 10 grams peeled ginger
- 50 grams coconut milk
- fresh pineapple (for juice)
Sate (meaning small pieces) Bulayak is a beef sate. Pre-marinate the diced beef in a squeeze of pineapple juice, as this will tenderise the meat – put the meat onto skewers. Blend all other ingredients and spread the marinade over the beef in this for about half an hour. Place on the grill and cook until tender, cook remainder of the spice marinade and use as sauce.
Ikan Bungkus Daun
- A couple of pieces of white fish (my fish of choice would be Ling)
- Limes (for marinating fish)
- 10 grams peeled garlic
- 15 grams peeled shallots
- 10 grams peeled galagal
- 5 grams peeled ginger
- 10 grams candle nuts (or macadamias)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 5 grams turmeric
- Couple of kaffir lime leaves
- 1 piece of lemongrass
- 50 ml coconut milk
Ikan Bungkus Daun is leaf wrapped fish dish. Marinate the fish in salt, pepper and lime juice. Grill the fish till half cooked – meanwhile, blend up the remaining ingredients, and then cover the fish in a banana leaf, then wrap it up, and grill it for a few minutes.
Uran Uran Timun
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/4 fresh pineapple
- 1/2 red capsicum
- 3 prawns (veins removed)
- 1/2 green capsicum
- 10 grams garlic
- 10 grams fried shallots
- 1 lime
- 10 grams candle nut (or macadamias)
- 10 grams ginger
- 30 grams grated fresh coconut
- 1 small red chili
We had a late lunch of the finished dishes, and could hardly finish everything, so the kitchen staff helped us out. Despite my initial disappointment in not cooking with an open fire and clay cooking pots, the meal was great, and we had a chance to enjoy the peace and quite before Farosh picked us up to return us to Qunci………..