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Ubud Cooking Class – Exploring Balinese Cuisine

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE food. I also love to travel but a big part of my love is that travel allows me to experience new and delicious foods. Yep, basically, everything I do in life revolves around eating. On our latest trip to Bali, we decided to experience Balinese food in a new way with an Ubud cooking class.

Why an Ubud Cooking Class?

I’ve done tons of cooking classes through the years but this was our first cooking class as a family. In the last year, Evan has decided he loves to cook. A cooking class seemed like a great way to learn more about Bali and encourage his culinary exploration. I was a bit worried about picking the right cooking class for us since not all are geared for kids. After reading a lot of reviews, I decided to book Ketut’s Bali Cooking School.

Ketut’s Cooking School

Ketut’s Cooking School runs Ubud cooking classes in the morning and afternoon. The morning class gets to go to the market to buy ingredients together BUT it starts at 8:30 am. We weren’t sure we would be up and around quite that early so we chose the afternoon class. Signing up for the class also gets you free pickup from any area Ubud hotels or villas.

Our afternoon was a bit rainy so it was the perfect day to spend cooking up some of our Balinese favourites. After arrival, we were presented with a glass of iced herbal tea while we waited for the rest of our class to arrive. We ended up being a class of 10 which was a very manageable size. Everyone could see, hear and participate without any issues. While Ketut is the star of the show, there are many others who help keep the class going. Whenever you have a question, there is always someone at hand with an explanation or instruction for what to do next.

Making coconut oil at Ketut's Cooking Class Ubud

Making Coconut Oil

Our first thing to “cook” was coconut oil. I had no idea that it was something you could actually make at home if you wanted to. Your first step is to shred mature coconut meat. We grated the coconut on a board with tiny nails on it. It is different from the grater you normally see because it doesn’t have any holes in it.

Getting hands on making coconut oil

After the coconut is shredded, it is mixed with water by hand and then strained. The liquid is boiled until the oil rises to the top (around 2 hours). The oil is then skimmed off and boiled again for another hour. After, the coconut oil is ready to use. And use it we did. Every recipe had at least one tablespoon of coconut oil as the first ingredient.

Learning About Balinese Ingredients

We got to used the freshest ingredients

Next, we headed to the kitchen classroom to get an introduction to the ingredients we would be using. I was excited to realize that most of the ingredients we would be using are things I can find in Canada, though I might have to visit a specialty supermarket. The only ingredient I had never seen before was fresh turmeric. Chef Ketut went through each ingredient and explained what it was and let us taste it. We used four different types of ginger, which may seem excessive until you realize how different each type tastes.

Everyone gets in on the action

Let’s Get Cooking!

After the intro, we headed to our kitchen stations. Each person gets their own, even Evan. No special treatment for the kids here! Nope, they get to do everything the adults get to with a little help if they need it. That includes cooking on a flame, prepping their own ingredients (with large knives) and trying out the mortar and pestle. Thing is if we never let our kids try then they will never learn. I’m not sure why this is easier in someone else’s kitchen but it is. I’m happy to report that Evan made all the dishes without losing any digits or singing off any eyebrows.

Cooking Balinese Food

For each dish, we were given a small bowl of the ingredients needed. We prepared the ingredients and set them aside to be cooked later.

Each person gets their own ingredients to prep

Our Balinese Feast

Our class was about 3 hours long and we made the base sauce (which is the basic building block of almost all the dishes we made but not shown below), (from the top left) sambal (hot sauce), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), chicken satay with peanut sauce, Balinese fried chicken, tuna grilled in a banana leaf, chicken soup, steamed rice and caramelized bananas (not shown but in the video). It was so much food that we ended up taking leftovers. I can’t wait to try to recreate the recipes at home.

Our Balinese feast

Our Review of Ketut’s Bali Cooking Class

I highly recommend visiting Ketut’s Bali Cooking Class by yourself, as a couple or with the whole family. Make sure to check out my video for more pictures and to get a intro to Ketut himself. Evan gives it a big thumbs up from the tween set too. His feet did hurt a bit by the end because it is a longer class but he said it was super fun. Plus, he really liked eating all the food he made himself. For Dewey and I, it was one of the highlights of our trip.

Our class was $98 Canadian (for all of us together, not each). It was a full afternoon of fun and learning plus a giant meal for less than we would spend going out in Calgary.

Our fun family adventure learning all about Balinese cuisine at Ketut's Bali Cooking Class in Ubud.