Guest chef at Spectrum and full-time Baliphile talks about his love of crickets, his cooking secrets and why he wouldn't eat a monkey.
Heinz von Holzen guest chef at Spectrum on One.
What was the last thing you ate? A bagel with smoke salmon and cream cheese and avocado. I don’t eat Balinese food for breakfast or lunch – just dinner.
What are you going to have for dinner tonight? Same thing as yesterday. Every night I’m in the kitchen, on the stove, cooking. Before service starts, I go to the kitchen and try and eat as much food as I can – cakes, salads, fish – the whole lot. As well, of course, as a lot of rice.
How would you describe your cooking style? What we do is traditional Balinese food. That is all about spices – when you travel the planet earth you use the same ingredients everywhere, but the one thing that makes dishes different is the spices. Every dish we prepare has so many spices. It’s very exciting.
Why do you think Nasi Goreng is so popular? Because it’s originally a Chinese dish – Balinese food is influenced by India, China, Holland and the Middle East. There are so many Chinese people on earth that the dish has travelled far.
What’s your personal favourite Balinese dish? I like seafood. I really like fish – but the thing is there are hardly any fish left. It is very, very difficult to find certain species of fish to cook.
How often have you visited Dubai? I visited a couple of years ago. I didn’t eat out much – we didn’t have time. But I’m looking forward to having lots and lots of Middle Eastern food when I get there.
Which other countries have you cooked in before? I worked at the Hyatt in Singapore for five and a half years; I worked in Australia for three and a half years and I was in Holland for a while. I’ve since spent nine years in Bali.
Is there any country left that you want to cook in? There’s only one place on earth I want to live and that’s Bali. This is home, and where I’m going to die.
Favourite ingredient and why? Fresh Turmeric, I love the rich colour and very fragrant flavour.
Which dish will you not eat? I don’t eat weird food, such as crickets and monkey – I don’t eat strange things.
What’s the secret to cooking Balinese food? The combination of spices. We have the only restaurant in Bali cooking traditional authentic Balinese food. Balinese food has given me a living.
It’s your last meal. What are you cooking and where will you eat it? I will not answer that. We cannot think about the future like that – we don’t know what will happen. Every single thing I put on my plate I cherish – it doesn’t matter what it is.
Chef Heinz von Holzen’s signature dish
Sate Lilit (Minced Seafood Satay)
Serves 4 to 6 This is probably the most delicious satay you will ever encounter. The delicate flavours of the shrimp and fish are greatly improved if you can find spears of fresh lemongrass to use as skewers, and if you can cook them over a fire of coconut husks rather than charcoal. Nonetheless, even with wooden skewers and a standard charcoal grill, you will have people coming back more.
Preparations 1. Mince fish fillet very finely in a food processor or with a chopper.
2. Add all other ingredients & mix well.
3. Mould a heaped tablespoon full of this mixture around a wooden skewer or over trimmed stalks of lemon grass and grill over charcoal until golden brown.
Note This recipe won’t work with frozen fish.
Ingredients 600g skinned boneless snapper fillet
1 cup freshly grated coconut or
1½ cups moistened desiccated coconut
½ cup seafood spice paste
5 fragrant lime leaves, chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns, finely crushed
1 tsp salt
3-5 bird’s eye chillies, very finely chopped
2 tbsp palm sugar
Lemon grass or satay skewers
2 large bunches of watercress
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (Gas Mark 6) and turn on grill.
2. In a medium sauté pan, heat grapeseed oil and sear the crab cakes in the pan, browning each side. Place in pre-heated oven until cooked through, for 7-8 minutes.
3. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and place on grill, sear both sides and season. Divide among six plates. Garnish with remoulade sauce and watercress. Place crab cakes over vegetables and serve.
Heinz von Holzen is food consultant and proprietor of Bumbi Bali in Bali and is returning to Spectrum on One for the Balinese Food Festival from June 1-30. Contact 04 311 8316.