Cuisine: Holiday Bites and Refreshing Cocktails

DA MAN knocks on the door of Jusman So, the Singaporean head chef of Rimba Jimbaran Bali, Ayana’s newly opened sister hotel, to get some recipes for scrumptious holiday bites and refreshing cocktails.

Jusman So is a name to reckon in both Singapore’s and Bali’s international culinary scenes. Having established Singapore’s much-lauded Sage Restaurant and voted as Rising Chef of the Year at the 2008 World Gourmet Summit, he brought with him a wealth of invaluable knowledge to Bali when the lean chef decided to join Ayana’s Dava Restaurant in 2011. It was of course a delightful move welcomed by foodies and gastronomes who live in or frequent Bali. And in just a matter of a year, the posh eatery earned a slot in the Miele Guide’s listing for 2012/2013.

While So’s expertise is grounded in classic French and European delicacies, he quickly adapted to Bali’s tropical bounties and drew much inspiration from the local foods and beyond. Early this year, he stepped up to be the head chef of Rimba Jimbaran Bali, Ayana’s new sister hotel located at the same complex. There So oversees and creates the enticing menus for the all-day dining To’ge Restaurant, Unique Roof-top Bar & Pool, and Swim-up Pool Bar.

Especially at To’ge, So unpacks delicious secrets of Asian street-food cuisines: Vietnamese noodles and salads, Thai and Indian curries, and Indonesian village favorites. Western classics such as beef burger, homemade pastas, pizzas and steaks are also incorporated in the ever-revolving menu. During breakfast hours, To’ge serves buffets which include a lavish selection of Asian and international favorites.

As if that is not enough to keep him busy, chef Jusman So kindly took some time to share special holiday recipes for DA MAN. Scones begin the tasty introduction, followed by Scandinavian salmon gravlax. The main course is a Christmas staple of roast chicken with baby carrots and potatoes. To whet the appetite, So didn’t forget to add a couple of refreshing cocktails. So, shall we begin?


Whole roast chicken with baby carrots and potatoes

4 portions
Comprising mouth-watering ingredients such as honey, fresh thyme and garlic cloves, this roast chicken is a sure-fire dish to please the heart of the loved ones, be it your partner or the parents-in-law. The secret formula to perfection, though, is the duck fat, which will ooze a delightful aroma when the meal is ready to be served.

• 1 pc whole large chicken 1.5kg
• 5gr fresh rosemary
• 5gr fresh thyme
• 10gr garlic cloves
• 20ml canola oil
• 20 pcs baby carrots peeled
• 20ml honey
• 4 pcs potatoes, skin on and washed
• 30gr duck fat
• Salt and black pepper crushed

Pre-heat oven to 200C and truss the chicken with butcher strings. Brush some canola oil over the skin of the chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Crush the garlic clove and insert the garlic, rosemary and thyme into the cavity of the bird. Roast the chicken in the oven for about 45 minutes to one hour.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat with a third of the duck fat, and roast the carrots till they brown slightly. Add the honey, salt, pepper and some water till it comes half way up the height of the carrot. Simmer till most water has evaporated and the carrots are glazed.

Cut the potatoes into cubes, and heat a medium frying pan with the remaining duck fat. Sautee the potatoes for about five minutes, and add salt and pepper. Place the pan into the oven with the chicken for 15 minutes till the potatoes are nicely browned and cooked through. Once the chicken is done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before removing the butcher string and carve to serve.


Mangosteen Ginger Splash

1 portion
Mangosteen is quite an exotic fruit and alternatively referred to as the queen of fruit, since it was Queen Victoria’s favorite. As you muddle it in the cocktail concoction, the fruit’s beautiful balance between sweetness and sour makes the drink very much special on the palate.

• 40ml vodka
• 2 pcs fresh mangosteen,
• 40ml ginger ale
• 1.5 tbsp white sugar

Prepare a tall glass. Muddle fresh mangosteens at the bottom of the glass, then add the vodka. Pour in the sugar and top it with ginger ale and ice blocks.


Salmon gravlax on pumpernickel

4 portions
Salmon gravlax is definitely a sumptuous treat for those who enjoy fresh natural bounties, especially raw salmon, with a little seasoning—unlike Japanese sashimi. Relatively easy to make from scratch, chef Jusman So shares a simple recipe to follow.

• 300gr salmon fillet skin on
• 20gr sea salt
• 20gr brown sugar
• 5gr black pepper crushed
• 20gr fresh dill
• 15 to 20 slices pumpernickel bread
• 50gr crème fraîche
• 20gr capers

Lay the salmon fillet skin-side down on a deep dish. Combine the salt, brown sugar and black pepper, and sprinkle it evenly over the salmon. Roughly chop the dill and lay it over the seasoned salmon.

Cover the salmon with plastic wrap, and lay a small tray over the salmon. The tray should be just slightly larger than the piece of salmon. Weigh it down with some heavy cans.

Refrigerate for two to three days. Remove from the deep dish, and dry the salmon with kitchen towel. Thinly slice the salmon at an angle without cutting the skin below. Spread some crème fraiche on the pumpernickel bread, and lay the salmon slices over. Sprinkle some chopped capers.


Purple Snow Flake

1 portion
This cocktail throws a party of flavors in the mouth, with a bunch of fruits in the mix. Girls might dig it more than boys, but it certainly seals the deal for a very memorable sunset-viewing or a tropical-themed event.

• 40m Gilbey’s Vodka
• 10ml Vibe triple sec
• 10ml Malibu liqueur
• 40ml blueberry purée
• 40ml pineapple juice
• 10ml fresh lemon

Prepare a martini glass. Mix the Gilbey’s Vodka, Vibe triple sec and Malibu liqueur. Top that with pineapple juice, fresh lemon and blueberry purée. As garnish, you can add some slices of fresh fruit, including coconut shaves or some dried orange.



4 portions
Holiday seasons always entail lots of eating. From pastries to heavy-duty main courses, it is seriously a fun time to try various foods and meet old acquaintances. To welcome any visiting guest, why don’t you try to bake some toothsome scones? Quite practical to make and excellent for nibbles, with or without any company, it might just be the perfect start to a warm, three-course family dinner.

• 350gr plain flour, with additional for dusting
• 2 tbsp baking powder
• 90gr butter, cold and cut in cubes
• 80gr sugar
• ¼ tbsp salt
• 170ml milk
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 pc egg

Sift flour into a large bowl, and mix in the salt and baking power. Add the cold butter and quickly rub together the flour mixture and butter till it looks crumbly, and mix in the sugar.

Warm the milk and mix with the flour and butter mixture. Add the lemon juice and form dough. Transfer it onto a floured surface, and fold the dough over a few times before flattening it to about three centimeters thick. Use a ring cutter and cut the dough in circles. Transfer the circles onto a baking sheet pan lined with baking paper.

Beat the egg and glaze the top of the dough with the egg. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200C for ten to 12 minutes. Serve with jam and clotted cream.