When we left Bali last week, my paradisical travel bubble burst: ceiling fans and lush sweet frangipani flowers have been replaced by fake orchids and round-the-clock air conditioning; locals devoted to poetic offerings to their ancestors are now overweight twenty somethings obsessed with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!

Serves One


  1. I wish I had Mini in my kitchen whipping up a pot of her stew right now. It would help with the annoying little cold my children have so generously shared with me. It looks so delicious!

  2. Fantastic pictures! The soup looks delicious, what a lovely time you must have had!

  3. Lemons and Lavender - this soup would be good medicine for the sniffles. Hope you all feel better soon:)

    Bianca- thanks for stopping by! Yes, the soup was so delish!

  4. What a beautiful recipe, I cold have used a big bowl of this stew just last week when I caught a cold.

    Will definitely try it soon, it sounds and looks super delicious!

    Great photos and gorgeous colors, love those carrot-flowers,

  5. The photos are so pretty! And the colors! It love the time she takes with cutting the carrots that way. So cute.

  6. oh man! i'm so sorry you had to leave bali. what a special place. you have embraced the culture in such an inspiring way. it really has become a part of your family. i hope the next place you stay has fewer tourists and air conditioning and more inspiration and comfort like bali. i send lots of love your way. dreamy photos, btw. i love the chalkboard shot.

  7. That dish looks absolutely delicious!

  8. looks fantastic and I will attempt this recipe given your reassurance that it wouldn't mean slaving over the stove for hours! I love the purple chopping board and how all the colours of the mise en place came together. stunning photos!

  9. This looks delicious! Great, great photos too. I will have to try this recipe.

  10. This looks great and very low in's all veggies! Is it correct that the only liquid is 1 cup of water?

  11. Thanks for all the comments:)
    Jill, yes the only liquid is one cup of water. I know it is surprising, but I witnessed Mini making it first hand. And even though there is no broth, and the stew is prepared quickly, the resulting liquid is rich and flavorful.

  12. I've found this recipe courtesy of Stumble. Not only does it look totally delicious (I have the ingredients ready and waiting to cook for my lunch later)but it's so nice to find a good recipe for one. Great blog.

  13. I'd love to hear how the recipe goes for you. I so love this dish and because we are on the road I haven't had the pleasure of cooking it in my own kitchen. I hope is it delicious for you!

  14. This looks so beautiful and the flavors sound wonderful together. Thanks so much for sharing this one. --- Chef Robin White

  15. Wow - I am definitely going to the farmers' market tomorrow and will try this recipe. I love your photos and description of the food. It all brings back my days in Bali....and so does the weather here. It's Bali-like hot and sticky. The neighborhood is holding strong and your house looks good. Have great adventures!! Best to your tribe!
    Your neighbor - Marian (Kohr Family too!)

  16. Hi, I'm relatively new to your blog and I love everything about it. I'm wondering what kind of camera you're using to take these photos? I admit I'm almost more in love with the photos than the recipes, and it's all lovely. Thank you so much for doing this. You can reach me at ~ Holland

  17. Hi Holland, thanks for the compliment. I am using my dream machine... A Canon 5DII. I never though I could enjoy anything as much as eating great food, but the food photography has become an unbelievable joy for me!
    Thanks again!

  18. Thank you for everything, I live through your photos and food. Delicious! Can't wait to try it!

  19. It is rainy here in San Diego, I went to the store last night to get the ingredients I didn't have for this meal. This season I started out with the flue, went into a cold and now I have sinus going on. It was time for soup. I chopped and prepped and put everything in order. I can't have corn so I didn't put it in, forgot to chop the tomato so I forgot to put it in. Didn't have chicken but used large shrimp, a nice handful, and extra raw cashews.
    TOTAL YUMMO is all I can say. It ended up making a bowl and a half. Which of course I ate every last bite and slurp. Thank you so much for this recipe. This is going to be a great presentation soup at my table. It is gorgeous to look at and delectable to eat.
    Recovery is going to be easy from here. Who knew these combinations could taste this way? Excellent. Those of you who haven't tried's worth it. Whatcha waiting for?

  20. Olinda, Thanks for that wonderful comment! I am really glad the stew was good medicine for you. It has become a favorite dish in our house. And yes it is so versatile - I bet the shrimp were delish!
    Wishing you a speedy recovery,

  21. Pati (from Peru)July 20, 2011

    I stumbled upon your blog when I did a general search for a strawberry-thyme jam (I had never tried it before, but I figured I wasn't the first person to think the two flavors might go well together!) and have been traveling through Bali with you from my kitchen! I just tried this stew today, minus the chicken and used daikon turnip, and it was more delicious than I imagined! THe broth was full of subtle flavors that just balance out perfectly. I will continue to devour my way through Bali and hope to follow you to Australia next. Know you have a follower in Lima, Peru!

  22. I am reading this at 10:50 pm and am totally famished!!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  23. AnonymousJune 19, 2013

    Just returned from Bali and hanging out for cap cay.I thought u were supposed to use cornflour to thicken but
    Like ur version. Trying it tonight,I'll get back to u and let u know what we though
    Sue Perth WA


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