‘Totally isolated from our own culture for long periods, we became vulnerable to forgotten times and tribes re-awakening within us.’
Laurence Blair, Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey
Stewing in Bali
Jungle fever got me yesterday. I needed a human. I felt like I was becoming a tree. I had to leave the forest villa and get on the scooter to ride down to a cafe. I was going to find me that human and someone else was going to make me my food. There.
I razzed in to a rooftop cafe in the soaked rice paddies and ordered a nasi campur; the famous Balinese lucky dip of dinners. What will be in store for me today? Well, screw the lid down on my petrol cap, what was presented was nothing short of a revelation. Corn fritters and peanut dip. Savoury rice with celery and carrot. Fried tempe. Urab and a Balinese jackfruit stew. Blow my nose with rose-stitched hankies. It was simply dee-lish.
Searching for consistencies in the Balinese jackfruit stews we’ve had on the island, it seems there are few. However, fennel or star anise (or both) feature for an aniseed flavour and there’s usually onions and carrots in the mixer. With jackfruits growing in the trees all around the villa, it would be rude not to have a go. Here’s our take.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2.5 hours minimum + overnight bean soaking
You will need
1 massive stew pot
1 massive wooden spoon
rubber gloves for handling your jackfruit – it secretes the stickiest white jackfruit blood
big sharp knife
sunflower oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup soaked/rehydrated black beans
1.5 x medium sized onions – diced
1 x carrot finely diced
1 x small/medium jackfruit (they can be huge, the size of dogs). Peeled and cut into 1.5″ cross-sections.
6 x cloves of garlic – peeled and smashed or crushed
1 x teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 x teaspoons of fennel seeds
1 x tablespoon sumac
1 x star anise
1 x teaspoon of ground turmeric
2 x teaspoon of good smoked paprika
2 x pints of water
2 x teaspoons of coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- fry the onions and carrot in oil.
- After 10-15 minutes when the carrots and onions have softened, browned and sweetened, add the garlic, fennel, turmeric, cumin and a good pinch of salt. Heat the spices gently to release the flavours. You don’t want any of the spices sticking to the bottom of the pan. After 2-3 minutes your favour base is complete.
- Add the water, half of the sugar, the star anise and smoked paprika and heat to boil.
- Throw in the jackfruit and simmer for a good two hours with the lid on.
- Balance the flavours as your cooking with the salt, sugar and apple cider vinegar.
- Half an hour before serving, toss in the soaked back beans.
- Season with salt, pepper and sumac before serving.
We’ve served ours with a coconut cream yoghurt, coconut shavings with turmeric and two brown rice and fenugreek pancakes.
We prepare vegetarian and vegan, gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy-free menus for our yoga retreats.
Try some other recipes
Sweet cauliflower, kale and papaya curry