Maliani’s dearest kitchen tool is her 10-kilo heavy spice grinder made of lava stone. It is handmade by stone carvers living close to the enormous volcano, Gunung Agung. This is where she regularly grinds the spices used in her different sauces, -sambal and dishes. She also has a smaller one, but the large one is most often used. Her steamer is also in regular use. It is a 3-4 l kettle with an internal and external lid. This kettle is used to steam chicken packaged in banana leaves or to heat already boiled rice.
The tiny kitchen knife is made by a local smith in her home village, Selemadeg in Tabanan.


Maliani is an intuitive chef. She composes the meals with a view to sound cooking principles and organic ingredients. The oil she uses is made by a friends mother from local coconuts. The butter and the meat she uses are from grass-fed animals.
The barracudas and the lele fish are caught in the ocean by local fishermen or farmed locally. The greens we eat, fresh ferns, sprouts, water-spinach, beans, and broccoli are grown by local farmers. Ducks parading the nearby rice fields where I have my morning walks, provide us with eggs, and even the coffee we drink, ie. Bali-coffee is made locally from beans grown in the highlands nearby also produced by her friend’s mother.
Maliani’s kitchen is not a big space. She has a small gas stove with two burners, two kettles, a wok and some simple tools. Most days she uses her wonderful spice grinder made of heavy lava stone in which she grinds the delicious and healthy spices she uses for her tasty sambal – the typical Indonesian spicy sauce.

Bulletproof coffee

Maliani’s cooking for my friend Lars is based on his strong views that fat is good for your brain and health, and carbohydrates are the villains in Western diets. Consequently, Lars’ daily breakfast does not consist of home-baked bread and buns, but of a large glass of the protein-rich Bulletproof Coffee.
Two months ago, I started my days with Bulletproof Coffee and can vouch for the truth in what the company writes on their website. This fat, protein-rich, morning coffee gives you three things:

  • Suppressed hunger. Brain Octane Oil balances ghrelin and CCK, your hunger hormones, keeping you full until lunch. You can read more about the science behind BP Coffee and hunger suppression here.
  • Steady lasting energy. The saturated fat in grass-fed butter slows the absorption of caffeine, which gives you even energy for several hours instead of a caffeine spike and crash. No jitters, either.
  • Mental clarity. Brain Octane rapidly converts to ketones, a type of molecule that your brain uses more efficiently than carbs or sugar. Pair ketones with the slowly releasing caffeine and you can literally feel your brain turning on.

Ditch the carb-heavy breakfast. Start your day with fat for fuel. You’ll be sharp and alert straight through until lunch. Remember what Dr. Mark Hyman writes in his book Eat fat, get thin: Fat burns fat. Carbs sparks insulin. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone.
In the 8 weeks, I have started my day with a Bulletproof coffee, I have lost 8 kilos, and have never felt better!

Low carb rice

If you decide to eat healthy meals with as little carbs as possible, you have to shun bread, especially made of white flour, white potatoes, starchy vegetables and white rice, of course. Too much rice too often is not good. Your body converts white rice to glucose quickly, which is why too much of it, like too much of any carbohydrate, can trigger insulin resistance, fatigue, weight gain, and a host of other issues.
But you can hack the carbs in the white rice. Yes, that is exactly what you can do, biohack the white rice
You alter the fast carbohydrates in the rice to more slowly burning carbs, by simply adding coconut oil in the water when you boil the rice, and you cool the cooked rice in the fridge.
‘When you cook coconut oil and rice together, the oil binds to the digestible starch in the rice – that’s the starch that converts to glucose. Once bound with the oil, the digestible starch begins to crystallize, creating another form of starch: the resistant variety. The researchers found that cooling the rice after cooking it promoted crystallization, leading to a shocking 10 to 15-fold increase in resistant starch compared to normally prepared white rice’.
According to Bulletproof marketing info, the benefit of cooking rice with coconut oil, therefore, is twofold:

  • The rice produces a smaller spike in blood sugar because you get more resistant starch to take the place of digestible starch.
  • Moreover, the inherent qualities of the resistant starch decrease this smaller spike even further.

The result is lower-carb rice.
Any coconut oil will do the trick, but according to the Bulletproof company, their oil is far more potent than the ordinary coconut oil produced by Malianis neighbours. It is ‘rapidly absorbed by your body and converted into fatburning, brain-fueling ketone energy
Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil converts into ketones more efficiently than coconut or other MTC oils that have Lauric Acids and it produces 4 times more ketons than coconut oil’.


Hati = liver, Ayam = chicken

Like many people, you may never have eaten chicken liver. Often used in pate, chicken liver can also be pan-fried for an iron- and protein-rich meal. A 100g serving, which is about 3.5 oz., of pan-fried chicken liver contains 172 calories, more than 100 of which come from protein. One serving of chicken liver contains 25.8g of protein, which provides more than 40 percent of the DRI for protein. Chicken liver is a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids, which are those that your body cannot produce.


  • Lemongrass
  • Thai shallots called bombay merah (red onions)
  • Slices of garlic
  • Half a large onion cut in rings
  • Red chili (big and small, depending on how hot you want it)
  • Galan-galan (
  • Tomatoes
  • Chicken liver, 500g (serves 2-4 persons)


Maliani dips the pieces of chicken liver in boiling water and lets them boil slightly. She then gently fries the seasoning in coconut oil, adding lemongrass and cut tomatoes. The seasoning she uses is the typical Indonesian mixture of small Thai shallots, garlic, slices of half a large onions, big and small, red chili and galan-galan ( The spices, onions, and tomatoes should be chopped. The quantity of small red chillis used is what decides how hot you want the dish to be.

CUMI-CUMI goreng

If you translate this dish to English, it would be FRIED SQUIDS. Squid = Cumi-cumi, goreng = fried.

The squids Maliani buys at the local fish market in Denpasar, have to be fresh. You can tell if they are fresh if the eyes are white and not sunken in. Fresh squids are easy to clean. You tear off the skin and take out the guts, cut them in rings of about 1 cm and give them a quick boil.
The seasoning for squid dishes is the same as for many Balinese dishes: A mixture of the following ingredients:


  • Thai shallots called bombay merah (red onions)
  • Slices of garlic
  • Half a large onion cut in rings
  • Red chili (big and small, depending on how hot you want it)
  • Galan-galan (
  • Tomatoes
  • Squid, 500g (serves 2-4 persons)


The spices, onions, and tomatoes should be chopped. The quantity of small red chillis used is what decides how hot you want the dish to be. The seasoning mixture is lightly fried in coconut oil together with the squid rings.

PEKAK LELE – Balinese catfish

Fried filets of catfish with tempeh, low carb rice, kangkung and red sambal.

Lele is the Balinese name for catfish. living in shallow fresh waters and often cultivated in small South Asian fish farms. It is a much-used fish all over the world and has gotten its name from its prominent barbels, which resemble a cat’s whiskers.
Maliani buys the lele in the Denpasar fish market early in the morning. The leles are cleaned and washed, and the filets are fried gently in her mother’s coconut oil.
The fried lele is served with Kang Kung, greens much like spinach, low carb boiled rice, tempeh, and the spicy Balinese sauce, red sambal.


Kangkung is a dark green vegetable much like spinach, Its foliage is picked off, the stems are sliced and chopped. All the greens are cooked gently in coconut oil in a wok or a frying pan.

Kangkung is a semi-aquatic, tropical plant grown as a vegetable for its tender shoots and leaves. It is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The plant is known in English as water spinach. Occasionally, it has also been mistakenly called “kale” in English.
According to Linda Oon’s delicate food blog Roti & Rice, this is the side dish that South East Asians miss the most when they are abroad:
– Kangkung Belacan is a spicy water spinach stir-fry flavored with chilies and shrimp paste. Full of umami flavor and delicious with steamed rice.

Kangkung can be gritty and should be washed in a copious amount of water. Always make sure they are well drained before stir-frying. Use a salad spinner if necessary to get rid of excess water.


  • 1 lb kangkung / ong choy / water spinach / convolvulus, cut into 3-inch lengths (450g)
  • 3 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
  • 6 to 8 Thai-shallots or 1 medium onion (peeled and cut into pieces)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimps (washed and soaked for 10 minutes to soften) ¾ inch cube terasi (shrimp paste, also called Belacan. It is wise to toast the
  • terasi before using it to dampen the very fishy taste of the paste.
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste


Be sure to rinse water spinach well as it can be gritty. Allow vegetables to drain in a colander for at least an hour or use a salad spinner to get rid of excessive water.
Blend red chilies, Thai shallots, garlic, dried shrimps, and terasi with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water into a paste.
• In a large pan or wok, heat oil. Saute blended mixture for 4 to 5 minutes until it is fragrant.
• Add kangkung and fry on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are wilted. Add a little salt to taste.


Sambal is the wonderful, spicy red sauce that Balinese housewives and chefs serve with boiled rice. How hot you want it, depends on your use of chili and garlic.
According to Bethany Moncel who writes on South Asian food for, there are hundreds of varieties of sambal that vary depending on the type of chilies used, other added ingredients, texture, and region in which it is made.
The sauce consists of ground or pureed chilies and may include small amounts of other ingredients such as citrus juice, shallots, fruit, salt, sugar, or other spices. Making this spicy chili paste is a way to preserve chilies and is often used when fresh chilies are not available.
The word “sambal” is also used to indicate a dish in which sambal sauce is a main ingredient. For example, the Malaysian dish “Sambal goreng udang” is fresh shrimp seasoned with sambal sauce.
Flavor: Popular chilies used to make sambal include: habanero, cayenne, bird’s eye, and lombok. The heat level of the sambal is directly related to the type of chili used. Depending on whether or not sugar or fruit are added to the sambal, there may be a hint of sweetness to compliment the heat. Varieties that include shallots, salt, and other spices almost resemble a relish or chili-based salsa.
The texture of sambal ranges from a coarse relish to a smooth puree. Traditionally, sambal is made using a stone mortar and pestle to grind the chilies and other ingredients into a paste.
Sambal Oelek, which can be found in many western grocery stores, derives it’s name from the pestle with which it is made.
Traditionally sambal is used as an all-purpose condiment. It may be added to noodle dishes, soups, stews, meat, rice, and even eggs. Sambal can also be used to add heat and flavor to marinades, dips, sauces, and spreads


• 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
• 6 bird’s-eye chillies (cabe rawit), finely chopped
• 7 thai shallots, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• ½ ts proasted shrimp paste, crushed finely
• salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 2 halves of lime

All the ingrediences are stirred together in the frying pan, cooked in coconut oil and then ground until it becomes an even, spicy sauce.
You can watch the process of making Balinese sambal here:


A crispy soy product rich in vitamins and minerals

Tempeh is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from Greater Chinese cuisine.
It is a staple source of protein, rich in all vitamin Bs, even B12. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities.
Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor, which becomes more pronounced as it ages.
The tempeh cakes are cut into biscuit or thumbnail sized pieces which are fried in coconut oil. It is a tasty side dish often served with fish or meat and the famous Balinese sambal.