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Giving Back Tolet’sNature eat! culture 1

cover story

Giving Back to Nature Cover Photo By: I Nengah Januartha { }

The Balinese Hindu believes in the existence of three dimensions; one for the gods and deities, another for humans, and a third for invisible beings. Life happens when the three dimensions interplay, hence the belief, which has existed since ancient times, that humans should maintain a relationship not only to the supreme God and higher spirits, but also to fellow man and to nature. These entwined relationships are reflected in five types of sacred work, known as Panca Yadnya.

Dewa Yadnya (a sacrifice / sacred offerings to Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa), the Supreme God. Pitra Yadnya (a sacrifice / sacred offering to the sacred spirits and ancestors.) Manusa Yadnya (a pure sacrifice for the perfection of human life.) Rsi Yadnya (sacred religious works addressed to the Maha Rishis (holy men), saints, pinandita (priests.) Bhuta Yadnya (a sacrifice to sarwa bhuta – regarded as low creatures – both visible and invisible, including animals, plants and other species.)

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The implementation of the Bhuta Yadnya ritual may be a ceremony, known as Mecaru, which means to harmonise the relationship between humans, spirits and nature in order to create balance. Such a ceremony can be addressed to a creature or the universe and is usually held before and after building a house, temple or other structure, and the day before Nyepi. The Spirits known as bhuta kala are guardians of the five elements of soil, water, fire, air and ether, reflected in offerings of five different colours – red, white, yellow, black, and a mix of all four. The offering is completed with sacrifices like pig, chicken, duck, and cow, (the number of sacrifices depends on the size of the ceremony.) Flowers and leaves are also used to make beautiful offerings, as are colourful statues created from rice cake which look more like works of art than items for sacrifice. Once the praying is completed, the offering is buried in a symbolic act of returning nature’s bounty to the earth.

Photo By: Kartika Dewi Suardana

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cover story In Denpasar, a big Mecaru event is held at Pura Jagatnatha (the Temple dedicated to the Supreme God) on the day before Nyepi. The temple is located on Jalan Mayor Wisnu in the heart of the city, (next to Museum Bali.) The event starts around 8am and finishes by midday, with people gathering to pray, and to collect a small offering and a little amount of holy water to be used for the Mecaru ceremony at home. Believing that every single part of nature has spirit is an act of sustainability, and the reason why here in Bali we cannot arbitrarily cut trees down and must maintain sacredness through green zones where we cannot build. If the relationship between all realms can be maintained, not only spiritually but with respect to nature then life can unfold in much greater harmony. Dewi Photo By: Kartika Dewi Suardana

Balinese spiritual activities always take into consideration the concept of “tattwa” (philosophy), “susila” (ethics) and ceremonies (ritual). One of them is Mecaru. Mecaru comes from the word “Caru” which means holy sacrifice to keep the harmony of nature. “Mecaru” is also closely related to the philosophy of Tri Hita Karana (three causes of world harmony), namely; the relationship of man with God, man with man and man with nature. Kadek Wahyudita ‘Penggak - Men Mersi’

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balinese street food

Jaja Bali

Ibu Kadek Lati Jajan Bali refers to an assortment of Balinese cakes traditionally enjoyed at breakfast, but sadly they are increasingly hard to find. Ibu Kadek Lati is well known for making some of the best of the island so I make a trip to the Negari market in Gianyar where she has a small kiosk. I arrive early – at 6.30 am but she has almost sold out already. I choose a selection which she sprinkles with shredded coconut and a drizzle of liquid palm sugar and wraps in paper. I can’t wait till I get home, so back in the car I unwrap the parcel and enjoy a slice of Balinese culinary history. The light and fluffy Laklak is a mini Balinese pancake with the natural fragrance of pandan (see recipe). The Jaja giling is made from tapicoca and is red, sticky, and savoury in flavour, while the black sticky rice might not look so appealing but has the sweetness of liquid palm sugar and many nutritional benefits. Dewi

Getting There Pasar Negari near Agro Kopi Luwak Negari Denpasar – Ubud Route passing through Jalan Raya Singapadu (Negari Sub-district is right after Singapadu Sub-district.) Best Time to Visit: Early Morning, 5am- 6.30am

traditional ingredient

The Coconut The coconut tree is highly revered in Bali, with coconut making an important ingredient in offerings such as Daksina, where it is placed in a bucket woven from coconut leaf along with ingredients such as an egg, a slice of banana, a sliver of sugarcane and candlenut. Daksina is a complement to other offerings and given in symbolic gratitude for the blessing. Coconut is also used for Penjor, a decorated bamboo structure installed in front of a house during the important celebration of Galungan and Kuningan. Penjor is a symbol for prosperity and honours the Supreme God with natural products such as banana, corn, cakes and coconut. Not only coconut fruit, but also the leaf is a precious product for the Balinese Hindu because it is used to create various shapes an receptacles for offerings. Beside its spiritual use, the coconut has much to offer, being rich in minerals, low in fat and highly nutritious, providing the body with

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protein, calcium, glucose and fructose. Dried coconut fiber can replace coal and be used for cooking; the coconut shell can be transformed into spoons, bowls and other decorative items; while the wood is strong enough for building houses. The flesh of young coconut is a delicacy, while the water is rehydrating and a source of quick energy. Shredded coconut and coconut milk enhance the fragrance and flavour of Bali’s traditional cuisine and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. While coconut oil, has been described as one of the healthiest oils in the world and is good for cooking, massage and treatment for hair loss. Dewi

authentic recipe

Laklak is a traditional Balinese bite-size pancake. This palatable cake, which is served with shredded coconut and a drizzle of liquid palm sugar, is usually served at breakfast with cup of tea or coffee, but is also suitable as a dessert.

Ingredients: 150 gr 2 tspn 100 ml ½ tspn 350 ml

Directions Rice Flour Tapioca Water (boiled) Salt Coconut milk

Sprimkle 100 gr ¼ tspn

Shredded coconut Salt

Toppings 200 gr 100 ml 2 ¼ tspn

Palm sugar Water Pandan leaf Salt

Steam the rice flour for one hour, mix with tapioca and stir well. Boil water and pour into mixture. Add salt and sugar and slowly pour in the coconut milk. Beat the mixture for 30 minutes and leave to stand for another 30 minutes. Heat up the clay pan and use a spoon to pour the mixture into the pan, wait till you can see the pores opening at the top, and then cover until cooked.

For the Toppings Bring the palm sugar, water, pandan leaf and salt to the boil and stir till thick. Strain and let cool to room temperature. Steam the shredded coconut mixed with salt for 15 minutes, then sprinkle on top. Dewi

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street food directory Jajan Bali Ibu Kadek Lati A little kiosk sell various types of Balinese traditional cakes, the most favourite is LaklakBalinese mini bites traditional pancake.

Location: Pasar Negari, Negari Subdistrict Jalan Raya Singapadu - Gianyar

Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka

Joglo Gula Bali A Joglo-javanese traditional wooden house- transformed into an open-air restaurant selling Balinese authentic cuisine, such as [tipat cantok]-rice cake with mixed vegetable, rujakfruit salad, etc.

Location: Jl. Merdeka II, Renon Denpasar

Nasi Kedewatan Ibu Mangku

A little warung located in the heart of Ubud, very famous for its Babi Guling- suckling pig.

The open air warung sells various types of Balinese cooking made from chicken, such as Balinese chicken satay, mixed vegetable with chicken, etc.

Location: Jl. Sweta, Next to Ubud Palace Ubud - Gianyar

Location: Jl. Raya Kedewatan, in front of Pura Melanting Kedewatan - Gianyar

Warung Jukut Undis The warung sells jukut undis – north Bali’s authentic black peas soup- and various types of home cooking style Balinese’ cuisine.

Location: Jl. Hang Tuah, West of KFC Sanur 8 let’s eat! culture

Warung Babi Guling Chandra The recognised restaurant is specialise in suckling pig and pork satay in Denpasar.

Location: Jalan Teuku Umar no. 140

Vol-1 Let's eat! Culture  

'Mecaru' edition, insertion of Let's eat! Magazine Vol-43

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