Allyson Gofton - Balinese Curry

Publish Date
Friday, 17 October 2014, 12:00AM
By Allyson Gofton

Their ingredients are equally exciting and enticing in the way they are used to create the wonderful harmonies of their culinary culture. The markets are noisy, crowded and fascinating, with live pigs and chooks along with an eye-widening array of spices from all over Indonesia and endless kitchen utensils. Permeating all is the tantalising aroma of small open coconut shell fires preparing takeaway saté. As with so many countries, fresh is the key to food preparation. As we discovered, there’s no real substitute for the fresh spices and herbs as we prepared sambals, noodles, curry pastes, sates, curries and the like, and utilised lashings of fresh coconut cream.

Balinese Spiced Lamb Casserole
A unique taste that will float you off to the fragrant spice island of Bali. There, they would normally use pork and it would not be browned before cooking. This lamb version works well with the spices.

Preparation Time:
30 minutes
Cooking Time: in the slow cooker low 5-7 hours, high 3-4 hours, plus extra 30 minutes
Serves: 6

1 kilogram boneless lean lamb or hogget for casseroling
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup grated palm sugar
1x quantity of basa genep spice paste (see recipe here)
1½ cups water or light beef stock
3-4 bunches of fresh spinach


  1. Turn the slow cooker on to low to pre-warm while gathering and preparing the ingredients.
  2. Cut the lamb into 3-cm chunks. Brown the lamb in batches in a dash of hot oil in a frying-pan.
  3. Into the pre-warmed slow cooker put the lamb, onions, garlic, palm sugar, basa genep spice paste and water or stock. Stir to mix and cover with the lid.
  4. Cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Remove the coarse stems from the spinach and rinse under cold water. Stir the leaves into the lamb. Cover and cook for a further 30 minutes on high, or until the spinach has wilted and the casserole is hot. Serve the lamb with rice or breads.

Cooks Tips:

  • In Bali, ½ teaspoon fish paste would be roasted and added to give it a very authentic flavour. If using, you need to wrap it in foil and toast in a frying-pan for about 1 miute as fish paste needs to be pre-cooked. If you like this pungent paste, add it at the beginning of cooking time.
  • Use brown or muscovado sugar in place of palm sugar.

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