November 19, 2014
Balinese Food by Vivienne Kruger
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons
I don't know if I'd necessarily call this a cookbook. It's as much a book on the history and culture of Bali as it is about cooking. There is not a huge number of recipes in this book and, let's be frank, some are more about the culture than what a lot of us would consider cooking--Fried Dragonflies or "Holy Water" anyone? Other recipes are quite delightful such as Mixed Rice, or Grilled Ground Chicken in Balinese Spicy Sauce with Fresh Shredded Coconut and even Banana Fritters.
This is a fascinating read on Balinese culture and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in or planning on traveling to Bali. If you're just looking for Balinese food, it may or may not be right for you. There are almost no photos of the dishes, and that is very important to me when I'm trying to cook a totally unfamiliar cuisine. I like to be able to see what it's supposed to look like when I'm finished. Some of the recipes aren't as clear as I'd like, either. One recipe says to grill then young coconut for 5 minutes and then chop into cube sized pieces. Young coconut isn't something I typically cook with so I'm a little stumped. Do you grill it whole? Do you cut it in half and grill it? It's not very clear. There are multiple unfamiliar and hard to find ingredients as well, though there is a resource guide in the back of the book for places to buy Indonesian ingredients.
Overall, while this is a fascinating book, it's probably not one I'll be going back to very often.
I received a copy of this book from Tuttle Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.