Bebek Betutu – Bahasa Indonesia Bebek is duck and Betutu is the name of the blend of spices. It is a popular ceremonial dish in Bali.
On a little island just off Pulau Bawean in the Java Sea, Dwayne and I decided to cook a duck on the beach. First thing we had to do was decide how were we going to cook this duck (which would take about four hours).
We tossed around ideas of cooking the duck ‘hungi’ or ‘lovo’ style (buried in the ground with hot rocks), but because we didn’t know whether the rocks on the beach would hold their heat we decided to build an ‘oven’ that would have a small fire at the bottom.
Armed only with a small shovel and some ideas on what he wanted to build, Dwayne headed to the beach to build the oven while I made a betutu paste and prepared the duck.
I decided to use a recipe I had seen on the SBS website, you can find the link for it at the bottom of this blog.
For the betutu paste I blended shallots, garlic, candlenuts, shrimp paste, galangal, ginger, turmeric, chilli, palm sugar, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves in my mortar.
I cleaned the duck inside and out and then rubbed some paste on the inside of the duck cavity and all over the outside.
I wrapped the duck in banana leaves and put it in a tray and covered it with alfoil.
The duck was ready to put in Dwayne’s oven.
Meanwhile Dwayne had found a large slab of wood with a ready made chimney and used it as the back of the oven. Using a large rock on the beach as one wall he then had to build the next two walls of the oven out of rocks and sand, leaving a small opening to feed the fire at the bottom of the oven. After I put the prepared duck in to the oven we closed the top with bamboo and pandanas leaves.
We had to feed the small fire at the bottom of the oven constantly as we didn’t have any first class wood to build up the coals.
We wrapped a couple of potatoes in alfoil and popped them in the oven. Meanwhile I was soaking a length of bamboo in the beach water, getting prepared to cook some rice in it.
All I did for the rice is add 1 cup of rice and 1 1/2 cups of fresh water to the bamboo and seal the top with alfoil. I propped the bamboo over a small fire and cooked the rice slowly, until it was miraculously cooked…. to perfection.
Not everything when smoothly our oven did partially collapse once and the roof of bamboo and pandanas leaves caught alight a couple of times! But in the end the duck was fall-apart tender. Potatoes and rice were al dente`. Fantastic meal in a fantastic setting….. worth the five hours of hard work!