Foreign Flavours – Indonesia: Bebek betutu, sayur urab, nasi kuning and sambal matah khas Bali

Quite a mouthful, both in a figurative and literal sense, I’m glad to say! ^^

I love Indonesian food. It brings back wonderful memories of our Bali honeymoon, it always packs a punch and no matter what Indonesian dish I prepare, it always feels like a treat. What’s not to love?

After my trip to the Asian supermarket, I got my hands on some fresh galangal, fresh turmeric and loads more, so I couldn’t wait to get started. I make beef rendang (a Javanese dish) on a regular basis, so I wanted to try something different. I did not have to think long.

On our last night in Ubud, Mrs Pomegranate and I had a smoked duck dinner at Miro’s Garden Restaurant. If I had to endure a 16-hour flight to Bali for nothing other than a meal at Miro’s, I’d hop on board in a split second. I mean, look at it:

Anyway, I decided on bebek betutu or steamed duck, a Balinese ceremonial dish, along with home-made sambal matah, nasi kuning (spiced turmeric rice) and mixed vegetables or sayur urab. Bebek betutu requires a bit of patience (the duck needs 4 hours in the oven… at least), but it’s worth the wait.

Behold, our Balinese dinner: sambal matah (top left), bebek betutu and nasi kuning (top right), sayur urab (bottom left).

Life doesn’t get much better than this… unless you can have this in Bali, of course! On to the recipes!

BEBEK BETUTU (thanks to The Intolerant Chef)

– 1 duck
– 1cm sliced turmeric
– 200g blanched shredded spinach
– 1 cinnamon stick
– banana leaves (or baking paper — I’ve never come across any banana leaves in Belgium, so that’s what I used)

For the spice paste:

– 10 (small) shallots
– 1 head of garlic
– 4 candle nuts (toasted – Beware: raw candle nuts are toxic.) — Macadamia nuts are a good alternative, but I was able to get my hands on candle nuts in the Asian supermarket. SCORE!
– 1cm piece of galangal
– 1cm piece of ginger
– 1cm piece of turmeric
– 3 red chillies
– 3 stems of lemongrass
– 1 tbsp palm sugar (grated)
– 1 tsp black peppercorns
– 2 tsp coriander seeds
– 3 tbsp lime juice
– 3 kaffir lime leaves
– 2 tbsp groundnut oil
– 3 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C
  2. For the spice paste, peel and chop where necessary, then place all ingredients for the paste into a strong blender and blend to a chunky paste.
  3. Mix half the paste with the spinach.
  4. Wash the duck inside and out with turmeric-infused water; then stuff spinach spice paste and the cinnamon stick into the duck’s cavity.
  5. Rub the rest of the duck with the remaining spice paste. This is what mine looked like:IMG_7388 (Small)
  6. Wrap the duck in banana leaves/baking paper. Next, wrap it in foil to seal in any cooking juices. Put your duck parcel on an oven tray.
  7. Cook the duck at 160°C for 2 hours, then drop the temperature to 120°C and cook for a further 2 hours. (Note: it may need longer than 4 hours… It was juicy, it was tasty, but the meat didn’t fall off the bone – well, it did with the wings, but nowhere else – , which I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to do. Maybe it’s down to our oven, though.)
  8. After the duck is done, drain any juices into a pan and let it simmer until slightly reduced. Serve alongside the duck.

! I put a bowl of krupuk (prawn crackers) on the table as well. The ultimate add-on indulgence with this dish: take a cracker, put on some fresh sambal and dip it into the juice sauce. PERFECTION.

IMG_7404 (Small)
NASI KUNING (courtesy of Delicious Rhythm)


– 3 garlic cloves
– 2 shallots, chopped
– 1 long chilli, de-seeded
– 1/2 tsp shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and baked in oven for 10 mins
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 piece of fresh turmeric
– 2 tsp coriander powder
– 1 lemongrass stalk, in thirds
– 1 lime, juiced
– 2 cups cooked white rice


  1. Make a paste in a mortar and pestle by combining garlic, shallots, chilli, shrimp paste, salt, turmeric and coriander powder. Pound until smooth.  When finished just squeeze lime juice over it.
  2. In a wok on medium heat, stir fry the paste with oil. Add lemongrass until flavoured, then the cooked rice. Stir through until well combined.

Note: this nasi tasted AMAZING. This should be enough rice for 4 people if you’re serving sayur urab alongside the duck as well, but… we ate it all. Oops.

SAYUR URAB (adapted from Delicious Rhythm too!)

-200g green beans, sliced into 2cm chunks
– 4 carrots, cut into small chunks
– 1/4 sliced white cabbage
– 1 head of cauliflower florets, cut into smallish bits
– 1/4 fresh shredded coconut or 1/4 cup dessicated, refreshed in warm water (We’d up this to at least 1/2 cup next time.)

For the spice paste:
– 3 garlic cloves
– 2 shallots, chopped
– 1 long chilli, de-seeded
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 lemongrass stalk, in thirds


  1. Make a paste in a mortar and pestle or food processor by combining garlic, shallots, chilli, salt and lemongrass.
  2. Boil all the vegetables until just tender (about 10 minutes) and wash under cold water.
  3. In a wok, add the paste and coconut. Add veg and stir-fry for a few minutes.


And finally, the ultimate companion for all the previous elements:

SAMBAL MATAH KHAS BALI (courtesy of I Love to Eat and Cook – She shares some wonderful recipes; a must-read if you’re interested in Balinese cuisine!)


8 shallots, finely chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 7 bird eye chillies, finely chopped
– 3/4 tsp good quality shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and roasted in an oven (180°C) for 5 minutes
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– 3 kaffir lime leaves (minus the stalks), finely chopped
– 2 stalks lemon grass (white bit only), finely chopped
– 5 tbsp oil (coconut/vegetable/groundnut, but no olive oil)
– 1/2 tbsp lime juice


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl except for the cooking oil. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Apply medium heat to a pan containing the oil. When the oil is hot, pour the oil into the bowl and give it a stir.


PS: If you ever find yourself in Ubud, be sure to pay Miro’s a visit and order a lemon cola float. Still trying to recreate that one…

IMG_7402 (Small)

Almost, but no cigar.

The next country on the list is… Austria! See you soon!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I love your blog 🙂

    I’ve eaten so many bebek betutu, but I’ve always cook the chicken version as I find cooking duck is very intimidating, however I will give this a shot 🙂

    So happy to see a lot of people interested in Balinese cuisine, it takes so much effort in preparation but the result is so worth it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. flandriaman says:

    Thank you!

    I’ve always found duck to have more of a rounded taste compared to chicken, so definitely give it a try!

    I totally agree with you on Balinese cuisine. May take a bit longer sometimes, but the taste is unparalleled! Already looking forward to your next recipe! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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