An insightful new cookbook will soon be published that goes beyond just flavours and taste. ‘Paon: Real Balinese Cooking’ takes its readers into the depths of culture and cuisine on the island of the gods, simultaneously exploring recipes and ritual, technique and tradition, ingredients and intuitive cooking.
Paon is written by two Balinese locals who share a love of their heritage cuisine, though through different backgrounds. Tjok Maya Kerthyasa is an Indonesian-Australian writer living in Ubud, Bali. After a successful career in Sydney writing for Australian Gourmet Traveller, she has returned home with a mission to document her grandmother’s recipes and become a bridge of understanding Balinese cuisine, both for outsiders and future Balinese generations.
Maya is joined by Chef I Wayan Kresna Yasa, a Nusa Penida native whose cooking experience extends to Chicago and New York, and in Bali he helped to launched the lauded Room4Dessert and is now the Executive Chef for the Potato Head Family, one of Indonesia’s most successful hospitality brands. In his time with the group, he has opened Kaum, an Indonesian restaurant focused on tribal recipes across the archipelago; and Ijen a zero-waste sustainable seafood restaurant.
This shared passion has led them to co-author a unique cookbook that shares more than 80 dishes alongside essays and beautiful photography capturing the life, culture and food from across this widely beloved island.
The cookbook explores authentic Balinese fare through six distinct chapters: Foundations; From the Fields; From the Land; From the Sea; From the Pasar; and Rare and Ceremonial. A rich mélange of dishes, from the simple to the spectacular, are presented, with a particular focus on presenting traditional processes.
In traditional Balinese cooking there is an emphasis on the whole process, which is something Maya and Wayan learned from their ancestors and wish to preserve for future generations. Readers will be encouraged to make their own coconut milk and spice pastes, double-cook rice the traditional way, and use their hands and intuition.
Paon offers a deep understanding of the true meaning of Balinese cooking – the philosophies, traditions, rituals and elements that give it purpose and soul. All of the wonderful stories and recipes are complemented by the fantastic photography of renowned Bali-based photographer, Martin Westlake.
Paon will be published 4 May 2022, and is available for pre-order through hardiegrant.com.