• A food vendor in Bali prepares food. (Supplied )Source: Supplied
When an Australian chef saw the devastation that COVID-19 was wreaking on his adopted homeland of Bali, he was determined to lend his support.
Cat Woods

15 Mar 2021 - 1:18 PM  UPDATED 15 Mar 2021 - 3:44 PM

Our Bali, Your Bali (Bali Kita Bali Kamu) is the beautifully photographed cookbook that Australian chef and restaurateur Dean Keddell and his staff have created to raise funds for five charities that are supporting Bali's most vulnerable families and children.

The book is rich with family recipes, passed down through many generations of Balinese, along with recipes from chefs in local warungs (food vendors) in the Seminyak region. Food coexists with culture in Bali. History, ritual and healing qualities are inherent in the ingredients and the process.

Keddell was born in New Zealand and came to Australia at the age of 10 and he reflects on Bali, his adopted homeland. "I came to Bali and opened a very famous restaurant, Gado Gado, in 2000," says Keddell. "I left in 2001 then came back in 2006 to work at the Ritz-Carlton and have been here ever since. "There's a dish called siomay [an Indonesian cone-shaped fish dumpling that's steamed and served with vegetables in peanut sauce] in the book... and that's as close as you get in Indonesia to dumplings. The man who gave it to me shared his secret peanut sauce. Indonesians say it's the best in Bali."

Australian chef and restaurateur Dean Keddell is working to support the hospitality industry in Bali during a time of devastation.

Ayu Fitri, or I Gusti Ayu Wahyuni Mustika, has worked alongside Keddell as the manager of Ginger Moon Canteen since it opened eight years ago. Ayu contributed the recipe for ayam betutu, which her mother makes for family ceremonies. The Balinese spiced chicken dish comes from Kedewatan, Ubud, a favourite location for Australians attending the annual Writers' Festival and Ubud Food Festival.

The very spicy sambal sere tabia, fiery with small red chillies and the tangy bite of shrimp paste, is a favourite of Keddell's. So is jukit urab, a salad of blanched vegetables, coconut and spice.

cook the book
Ayam betutu (Balinese spiced chicken)

"Ayam betutu is one of our must-have dishes during family ceremonies...My mum makes this dish for our family and, until now, it has been a well-guarded secret recipe from my grandma. This dish comes from Kedewatan, Ubud, and we love it. We hope you will too." I Gusti Ayu Wahyuni Mustika

Jukit urab (Balinese vegetable salad)

Jukit urab is a delightful salad of blanched vegetables, spiced paste and coconut. Enjoy it on its own with steamed rice or as a part of a shared meal.

"Food is memories, isn't it? Betutu is a very famous dish in Bali. It's used at ceremonies, whether it's birthdays or the opening of a temple. Every family has its own recipe, its own take on it. Ayu's recipe, [which comes from her grandmother], is steeped in tradition. For Balinese, it's a ceremonial dish, so it's very, very special to them."

"Food is memories, isn't it? Betutu is a very famous dish in Bali. It's used at ceremonies, whether it's birthdays or the opening of a temple."

Jukit urab is a perfect addition to ayam betutu. Keddell says, "A lot of ingredients are the same. What changes are the quantities, the spices, the vegetables. It's very Bali."

Pre-order book sales, through both hardcover and digital publications, will fund both local charities and the staff of Keddell's restaurants Ginger Moon and Jackson Lily's. Keddell, his wife Baya and their children Lily and Jackson, live in the beachy, tourist town of Seminyak. He opened Ginger Moon Canteen in 2012 after working in Malaysia and Bali for over a decade. Jackson Lily's opened in 2018. The staff of both restaurants are like Keddell's extended family.

In Our Bali, Your Bali,, he has tried to bring Balinese food, community and culture to life through the scents, texture and flavours of Balinese food preparation and the meals themselves.

Keddell writes in the introduction to Our Bali, Your Bali, "I wish I could recreate the feeling of stepping off the plane for you, the blast of heat and humidity, the smell of incense burning and the floral bouquet of freshly picked frangipanis and the sound of the gamelan."

For the many Australians who love Bali and miss it, the book provides a means to connect with the Island of the Gods from afar, and to support the Balinese, our neighbours.

"I had 130 staff," says Keddell. "I have only 50 now, 30 of them are waiting at home, not working and not getting paid. I had to close Ginger Moon and if Lily and Jackson makes it through this month, I'll be surprised."

"The food they cooked, the stories they told, took us away from reality for a couple of hours each time."

"The staff look at me like I have the answers to everything. I wanted to share their recipes, their family stories. I went to everyone's house, they cooked feasts for me in the middle of a pandemic. The food they cooked, the stories they told, took us away from reality for a couple of hours each time. They've seen the book and they think they're superstars."

The book is available for pre-order via crowdfunding site chuffed.org. The goal is to raise over $150,000 for charities, including Bali Children Foundation and Scholars of Sustenance, East Bali Poverty Project, Friends of the National Parks Foundation and Bali Wise by the R.O.L.E Foundation.

"I'm OK for another year, but my staff will not be. That's why I've got to keep this book going," says Keddell.

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