11.02.2015 - 11.02.2015 25 °C
Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into when we chose chicken over fish for the meal we were preparing as part of our culinary tour of Samosir Island. Our trip to the market ended up with James carrying two live chickens! We also bought tapioca leaves, potato, durian, banana and a bag of spices. In the bag was cinnamon, cardamon, and coriander, the rest of the ingredients came from the forest and garden surrounding our host's home.
The house was traditional Batak built in the 1960s but just the same as the ones we toured that were 150 years old. Two rooms, one being a kitchen with fireplace, no furniture but a radio and a bed. It was very dark because the house is coated in soot from cooking smoke and, in addition, there was a power cut that afternoon.
We spent over three hours preparing our meal. First we had to pound all the spices together with fresh lemon grass, shallot, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Candle nuts and red chilis to give it more flavour. Simon butchered the chicken (careful to save the blood!) and started it cooking in the spices. Every part was cooked, from the beak to the feet. The kids were put to work peeling and chopping potatoes as well as pounding the tapioca leaves in a giant mortar and pestal. James got to try his hand at making coconut milk.
While we waited for the food to cook on the fire, we got to eat the durian fruit. We'd already tried durian icecream and pudding, but fresh it was so much better. It tasted like sweet onion and it sure hit the spot.
When the food was cooked we sat on the floor and stuffed our faces. It was delicious! Fresh and flavourful, spicy but not too hot for the kids. The combination of all the fresh spices and being cooked on the fire will make it a meal we could never replicate at home. Finally, our host brought out her favourite dish - grilled chicken with a sauce made of the blood. Luckily I was already full so I only had to have a taste - it was okay, but unappetizing.
Bananas were for dessert and we learned that there at least eight varieties.
James' version of the day:
We are now staying at the Tabo Cottages in Lake Toba. Yesterday we went on a traditional cooking trip first we went to the market to buy durian bananas live chickens and tones of spices. Then we drove down the rocky roads to the place where we were going to do the coocking. When we got there we first we had to carry every thing up the hill i got to carry one of the chickens i had to hold him by the feet so that he could not peck me. We got to the top of the hill and there was our istructer for cooking she was an elderly women and she realy knew how to cook. First we had to kill the chickens we did that by cutting their throats then we had to mash all the spices together then we peeld potatos and finaly it was time to pluck the chickens. We were getting very hungry so we opend the durian it smelled like an onion and it was squishy and boy was it good.then it ws time to eat our lunch it was rice, chicken body part curry, tapioka leaves and chicken breast in black sauce (chickens blood). (I only ate the rice) nothing went to waste.