Chicken Dinners: Balinese Chicken Lawar

An authentic taste of Bali. . Yvonne Ruperti

Last month I had the chance to visit Bali, one heck of an amazing island in Indonesia. Sure, the beaches and the spa massages are pretty cool, but what I was really interested in was the food. While driving through a town called Ubud, high in the mountains inland, we stopped at a cafe and I noticed a dish on the menu that I'd never heard of: lawar. Total serendipity. I was treated to one of the tastiest and unique meals from the trip.

There are a few varieties of lawar, but generally it's a warm chopped salad of sorts, with or without a protein (such as chicken or pork). Mine came with freshly grated coconut, green beans, and bits of thin egg omelette all tied together with a rich coconut milk and sambal flavored sauce. I had to learn how to make it.

Making lawar can seem as daunting as assembling a bookcase from Ikea. There's a ton of little ingredients and a handful of exotic ingredients. This is not a pantry staple dish so plan a trip to your local Asian grocery store. There are also a few steps to push through before even cooking the dish: processing a sambal (the flavor base of the recipe), crisping up some shallots, and cooking the omelette. But that said, each step is easy. The hardest part is deciding what to do with your leftover ingredients. If you're up for a challenge or hankering to channel your inner Eat, Pray, Love, then a lawar can definitely make it happen.