When we left Bali last week, my paradisical travel bubble burst: ceiling fans and lush sweet frangipani flowers have been replaced by fake orchids and round-the-clock air conditioning; locals devoted to poetic offerings to their ancestors are now overweight twenty somethings obsessed with beer, lots of beer; and the charming wood carving studios are now adult superstores.
I won't mention the name of the city we are currently stuck in in Northern Australia - but suffice it to say, I won't be coming back here. Did I mention that is is beyond expensive here too. Ugh.
In wanting to savor the taste, smell, and vibe of Bali, I offer Mini's superb recipe to you.....
Mini is a fabulous cook. Everything she makes is full of flavor and belly-warming goodness. Recently, I got to spend the afternoon in her kitchen and learned a number of her delectable dishes. This stew was my favorite. I ate it for lunch for five days straight! It was that good.
At Sarinbuana, a small eco-resort tucked in the mountains of Bali, you order your meals at the beginning of the day so that just the right ingredients can be plucked fresh from the organic garden. This is not your run of the mill organic kitchen garden, but a permaculture food forest in the mountain jungles of Bali. Wow!
Okay, in most of our lives we don't have access to magical rain forest ingredients, but I do think that if you use whatever veggies you grow yourself or pick up ultra fresh at the market, you will be rewarded with a really tasty, and ridiculously quick meal. So many veggie combinations would work for this soup. Play around with the recipe and use what is in season.
Cap Cay ( pronounced "chap chai") is a traditional Indonesian dish and I think is going to become a staple meal in our household. Mini and I made this stew in a single serving size (for my dinner in fact) and I thought a solo lunch or supper recipe would be a nice thing to have on-hand. You can easily double, triple, quadruple this recipe to suit your needs.
Mini's notes and condiments for the day's meals...
thanks to Mini at Sarinbuana Eco Lodge
- coconut oil, or Canola oil
- 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed
- 1 mild Indonesian red chili or 1/4 red bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped
- 1/2 chicken breast (skin and bones removed), cut into bite sized chunks
- sea salt ( Get Balinese salt if you can - it is delectable.)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (GF folks, be sure to use Tamari)
- 1/3 cup carrot, sliced into lovely flowers - check out Mini's technique in the photos below...
- 1/3 cup turnip, sliced into lovely flowers as well
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 2 large button mushrooms, sliced into sixths
- 1/3 cup fresh corn kernels ( or baby corn sliced)
- 1/3 cup sliced green beans
- (cauliflower and broccoli also work in this soup)
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced thin
- 5-6 cashews (You might as well have a few more, just for munching.)
- 2/3 cup chopped Napa cabbage
- 2/3 cup chopped bok choy
Prep all ingredients. Later, you will need to quickly add ingredients and want to have everything easy and ready for this quick-to-cook stew.
Place a sauce pan on the stove over medium high heat. Quickly heat 1 tablespoon coconut or Canola oil, then turn heat down to medium. Saute and stir red pepper, onion, garlic in the oil for about 1 minute. Add chicken and about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Stir and cook for another minute or so. Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce and one cup water. Stir and turn up heat to high. When liquid comes to a boil, add turnips and carrots. Reduce heat to a vigorous simmer and cook about 3 minutes. Add chopped tomato - cook another minute. Add mushrooms, corn, and green beans and cook another two minutes. Set stew aside until you're ready to eat.
I love that Mini remarked that the Cap Cay is ruined if the vegetables are over-cooked. Too true.
Slice shallot. Saute shallots over medium/low heat with a small amount of coconut or canola oil for about 5 minutes until brown and crispy. Stir shallots regularly to insure even cooking. Set aside.
Quickly fry cashews in coconut or Canola oil until brown. Set aside.
Just before eating, bring soup to a boil. Add cabbage and bok choy. Cook only a minute or so until all veggies are tender.
Top with fried shallot and cashews. So fresh, delicious, simple - I love this soup! Thank you Mini!