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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Balinese-Style Vegan Coconut Curry

“In Bali, what you see—sekala—is a colorful world of ceremony, ritual, dance, and drama. What you don't see is occult—niskala—the doctrine underlying the pageants, the code underlying the rites, and the magic underlying the dance.” (From the book “Bali: Sekala and Niskala” by Fred Eiseman)

Of all the places I’ve visited, none has the charm and magic of Bali. I’ve never been too fond of its crowded beaches, but kept going back to its inlands - my favourite place being Ubud, the centre of traditional dance and crafts, surrounded by rain forest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines where traditional Hinduism from the first century AD mixes with pre-dating Animism - its visual expressions sometimes terrifying, but alway beautiful and fascinating.

I’ve been feeling very nostalgic of my time in Asia lately, must be the weather in London. So I made this easy Balinese-style curry the other day. Hope you like it.

Ingredients & Method

For the bumbu (curry paste):

Banana shallot - 1 large

Garlic - 2 cloves

Red chillies - 2 large, fresh

Candlenuts - 3, soaked in warm water (or 1/3 cup almonds)

Turmeric - 1 small piece, fresh (or 1 tsp powder)

Ginger - 1 small piece

Add all ingredients to a blender or mortar and blend to a paste.

For the curry:

Seitan - 125g (or tofu, tempeh, or any other protein)

Curry paste - above

Lemongrass - 1 stalk, bashed and tied in a knot

Tamarind - 1 golf-sized ball soaked in hot water

Coconut milk - 400 ml, full fat

Oil - 1 tbsp

Soy sauce - 2 tbsp

Brown sugar - 1 tbsp

Kaffir lime leaves - 2

Salt to taste

Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the tamarind - discard fibre and seeds and reserve the water.

If you are using dry roasted seitan, pre-soak then discard the water. If you are using a seitan block, slice into large chunks.

Heat oil and add the curry paste, along with lemongrass. Season with salt and fry until the raw smell is gone.

Add seitan, tamarind water, soy sauce, sugar and increase heat to high. Sauté for 1 minute, then lower heat to medium. Cook until the seitan is fork tender.

Add coconut milk and cook on medium low heat for another couple of minutes.

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