SPICY DUCK or BETUTU BEBEK, Special Dish

POPULAR BALINESE DISH for special occasions is called betutu bebek, duck stuffed with spices and vegetables, wrapped in banana leaf, and cooked in hot ashes or a rice steamer for three or four hours. This is probably the only one of the three special Balinese dishes that can come close to pleasing the uninitiated palate, and it is surely the only one that can be cooked in modest proportions.

Some of my own favorites cannot be called strictly Balinese, because they are found in other areas of Indonesia as well. One is be tambus. You will note the recurring use of the word be, which can mean in Balinese any sort of meat or fish or even such things as soybean foods, depending upon the circumstances. It must always be used with some adjective that indi­cates what kind of protein food is being referred to. Be tambus is often made from fish by mixing it with grated coconut and spices, wrapping it in a banana leaf and grilling it on embers or a piece of hot metal.

Another favorite is tum, ground beef or pieces of fish wrapped in a banana leaf, skewered with a bit of bamboo to hold the leaf tight, and steamed in a rice cooker. Some basa genep must be added before the ingredients are wrapped up.

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