Inside the Kitchen of “Warung Java 1” in Kuta, Lombok

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I ate at Warung Java 1 almost every day during my two week stay in Kuta, Lombok. The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside…but step under the metal roof and you’ll find traditional, budget friendly meals, made by Mama Java 1 and her bubbly crew. They have a diverse menu of Indonesian offerings, cooked fresh to order and served in generous proportions. If your keen to try the daily mix you can sample their nasi campur (mixed rice) – an assembly of whatever is in the glass case. Personally, I was in love with their vegetable dishes – urap urap, gado gado, and pelecing kankung.

Urap Urap – steamed fresh vegetables covered in a spicy, aromatic sauce and freshly shredded coconut.

Gado Gado – steamed fresh vegetables with a thick peanut sauce, tempeh and/or boiled egg.

Pelecing Kankung – a traditional dish of Lombok – steamed fresh water spinach topped with a spicy chili sauce.

Its easy to enjoy the food of Indonesia, but I was craving to learn the cooking methods. I peeked at a couple of listings for cooking classes, but none had that home-made, traditional feel I was searching for. I biked around the town looking and asking for options, but nothing presented itself. Disappointed but hopeful I went to Java 1 for a fruit juice. It was still early for restaurant time, around 11 am. Mama was not yet around, but her 3 young assistants were running the show. I told them how I wanted to learn about Indonesian cooking and asked if they could teach me. The first girl was shy and unsure, but she grabbed her vivacious co-worker who essentially replied “Sure! Why not? Step into the kitchen!”

I chose 2 simple, but delicious, vegetable fares. Pelecing kangung, because it is a traditional Sasak dish from Lombok and urap urap because it is SO incredibly good. The kitchen was small, but given that there were no other diners at the time, it made a great classroom. Our teacher gathered fresh ingredients for the lesson and gave us a step-by-step explanations on how to prepare each dish. Here are my recipe stories from the kitchen of Warung Java 1 in Kuta, Lombok:

Pelecing Kangung

Ingredients:

Vegetables:
Water Spinach (Kangkung)
Bean sprouts (Toge)

Sauce:
1 large red chili (cabai besar)
3 small chili / thai chili (cabai kecil )
2 large cloves of garlic (bawang putih)
salt (garam) – to taste
sugar (gula) – to taste
about 1/2 tsp terasi (a paste of mashed shrimp with salt)
about 1/4 cup oil

Steps:

1. Gather ingredients and wash the vegetables

 

2. Steam (or lightly boil) vegetables for about 10 minutes or until tender. (Don’t let the color change too much!)

3. Strain vegetables.
4. Split the water spinach in two by pulling it apart from the base (this leaves them a bit thinner, but still very long).

5. Put in the blender – hot peppers, garlic, salt, sugar, and shrimp paste. Do not yet blend.
6. Heat cooking oil in a frying pan (maybe 50ml or 1/4 cup)

7. Once oil is hot, pour over the ingredients.
8. Blend all together.
9. Place vegetables on a plate and pour sauce over top.
10. Garnish with lime juice

Urap Urap

Ingredients:

Vegetables:
large bean sprouts (toge)
green cabbage (kol)
cassava leaves (daun ubi)

Sauce:
1 large red chili (cabai besar)
3 small chili / thai chili (cabai kecil )
1 large tomato (tomat besar) – about the size of a golf ball
3 small red onions (bawang mera), very small
2 large cloves of garlic (bawang putih)
salt (garam) to taste
sugar (gula) to taste
shredded coconut – about 1 cup

Steps:

1. Cut vegetables – roll the cassava leaves together and cut into strips. Cut caggabe into smaller pieces. Mix together with the bean sprouts. dd bean sprouts
4. Boil or steam the vegetables until tender (5-10 minutes)
5. Strain the vegetables.

6. Add sauce ingredients into the blender. Do not yet blend.
7. Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan, about 1/4 cup.
8. Add hot oil to blender over ingredients, then blend together.
9. In a large bowl, add the vegetables, shredded coconut, and sauce.

10. Mix together with the hands, mashing up the ingredients slightly.
11. Garnish with lime juice and a bit of fried onion.
12. Serve with rice and selamat makan (Enjoy your food).

Warung Jawa 1
Kuta, Pujut, Central Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83573, Indonesia

 

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