Margarita's International Recipes


Bebek Betutu

Roast Duck in Banana Leaf

Bebek Betutu is a beautiful-looking dish and one that is commonly served to oogling tourists. Balinese themselves usually only serve it in festive occasions. I am sure that if properly prepared this is probably a very good dish - unfortunately it was a complete failure when I tried to make it.

The recipe itself is not too complicated though it does call for some difficult to find ingredients. For example, it calls for kencur, a root apparently only used in Bali. For those of us in the US it's very, very difficult to find (though it seems to be available in ground form at the Ori-Deli in San Jose), so I substituted with galangal. I was able to find the galangal, the kaffir lime leaves and the fresh turmeric at a Thai market in Berkeley, and saw that they were also available at the Berkeley Bowl. The candlenuts I found at the 99Ranch supermarket, if you can't find them, you can substitute with macadamia nuts.

The problems for me came with actually cooking the duck. First, I didn't have a steamer large enough to accommodate the duck. I ended up putting it on top of the bowl for my rice-steamer, but that was not ideal. Secondly, I'm a complete idiot and I didn't realize I had to make holes in the aluminum foil for the steam to get into the duck. I corrected that, but I wasted an hour. Finally, for whatever reason the duck would not cook. After finally steaming it for 1 hour, I put it in the roasting pan. After 2 hours it was still not done. It finally cook after 3 hours, but by then it was too late to serve it to my guests. I sliced it and tried it cold the next day and while it was eatable it wasn't particularly good. Indeed, the spice mixture gave it a strange, not-too-pleasing taste.

In sum, I can't recommend this dish though in the hands of a more apt cook it may be very good indeed. All the other Balinese dishes I made were great.

Roast Duck in Banana Leaf


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