Grazing around Bali

Continuing his search for good Balinese food, DonQui heads to the Denpasar night market.

The delightfully enthusiastic Micheal Sega is DonQui’s guide for the evening. He takes DonQui to the best food stalls, explains the different foods as well as giving insight into Balinese culture, beliefs and legends.

The onde and pisang snacks are very moreish. 

Pisang (right) are bits of banana (sometimes also with chocolate) wrapped in a light batter and deep fried while the onde sesame coated balls (left) are filled with mung bean paste. Both are very good but DonQui adores the latter. They also keep well until the next day.

The highlight of DonQui’s taste journey is soto ayam. DonQui’s guide assures him that the soto ayam at this stall is the best one can find anywhere. In many other places he says that it can be lacklustre as they do not know how to cook it properly.

Soto ayam is a hearty chicken soup flavoured with turmeric and coriander and including hard boiled egg, cabbage, glass noodles and potato. It is eaten by scooping out some of the solid ingredients onto the accompanying rice, rather than adding the rice to the soup which would change the taste and constituency. A chilli sambal adds a bit of spice to the rice, meat, egg and veg combination. A spoonful of crushed crackers adds body to the soup.

It is washed down with a deliciously refreshing bottle of temulawak — a non-fizzy soft drink made with turmeric.

Another of DonQui’s favourites is tender goat satay, freshly grilled over hot coals and served doused with kecap manis (sweet soy).

The babi guling (various parts of a spit-roasted suckling pig) at the night market is a bit of a disappointment. It is lukewarm and bits of it are quite chewy rather than crispy.

He had a far better one at Babi Guling Men Lari on his lunch stop coming back from Tanah Lot (see Canggu Explorations).

There are so many other delectable treats that DonQui begins to loose count of them as his capacity for more food is stretched to bursting. 

The choice of exotic fruits to finish off with are simply astounding. He is slightly relieved to hear that the rank-smelling durian fruit is out of season as pride and curiosity would have made him try it. 

Instead he opts for a delicious (and apparently very healthy) mangosteen which he enjoys very much, taking a bag back with him to his abode.

At other times during his stay on Bali ,DonQui is able to try a variety of other dishes. Of course at some point he has a nasi goreng (fried rice) which is a bit of a staple and not unknown to him.

Beef rendang is a favourite which he has also had before — deliciously slow cooked in coconut milk, turmeric, lemon grass and ginger.

DonQui is quite surprised that, although living on an island, the Balinese do not seem to eat much fish. Eventually he comes across gulan ikan. This is a curry, made with barramundi fish and tomatoes. DonQui has never heard of barramundi before but it is apparently quite common in S.E. Asia. The flesh is flaky, a bit like cod, but the taste is milder — more like sea bass. This means that it takes the spicy coconut curry sauce very well.

DonQui’s Goat Curry

Readers will be pleased to learn that DonQui’s frivolous musings on political matters have been put to one side for more important things — food.

Inspired by the gorgeous goat curries he had in Tanzania he has decided to try to recreate something similar. DonQui has cooked goat curry before, using a Jamaican recipe. It was rather good but this time he wants to create something different, based on the flavours he remembers from Africa.

Goat Curry 6a

So here goes — and once again DonQui apologises for his lack of exact measurements. He is not a very exact creature and tends to do things to taste rather than measurement.


3-400g diced goats meat (DonQui gets his from the Wild Meat Company)
coconut oil for cooking (vegetable oil can substitute)
1 onion chopped
1 red chilli seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
a good sized piece of ginger root chopped
2 tablespoons of mild curry powder
500ml lamb or beef stock (lamb is better if you can find it. DonQui gets his from Waitrose)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (DonQui normally uses fresh but with winter coming his supply has dwindled)
three or four dried curry leaves
a good dollop of tomato purée
chopped coriander leaves
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste


Goat Curry 1

Brown the goat in the coconut oil at high temperature. It is better to do this in small batches so the pan remains hot. Once done set the browned goat to one side.

Goat Curry 2

In the same pan gently fry the onion until it starts to brown. Then add in the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir around for a minute or two then throw in the curry powder.

Add the lamb stock to the pan, stir it around well to take up all the brown bits, bring to the boil and then let simmer to blend and reduce for a while.

Goat 4

At this point you could put the goat back into the pan, cover and simmer for a few hours.
However, DonQui thinks it a far better idea to bung it all in a slow cooker so he can go off to the pub for a couple of pints without worrying about having to watch the stove. So this is what he does.

The goat and the spiced stock from the pan go into the slow cooker along with the thyme, curry leaves, tomato purée, coconut cream and salt. DonQui puts a lid on it and goes to the pub leaving it to simmer together gently for at least 3 hours or 3 pints, whichever takes longer.

If you do not have (nor want to use) a slow cooker then simply put it all together in the pan, cover and again simmer for 3 hours or more.

Goat Curry 5

After 3 hours slow cooking the goat should be falling apart tender. If you cooked it in the pan you simply need to take the lid off, turn the heat up and let the liquid reduce to a rich deep sauce. If, like DonQui, you used a slow cooker then tip out most of the liquid into the pan and cook it down while the meat remains warm. Then put back together.

Goat Curry 6

Stir in the juice of 1/2 a lime, and serve with the chopped coriander on top, rice on the side and the other half-lime for more juice for those who want it.