Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Curry/ Recipes

Bumbu Bali – Balinese Spice Paste (Base Genep)

30/04/2021

A magic 10 minute spice blend known as Bumbu Bali (Base Genep). This Balinese spice paste is filled with freshly ground herbs and spices for the perfect base to your favourite Indonesian dishes like Nasi Goreng and Sate Lilit.

Grinding the fresh herbs and spices for the bumbu Bali spice paste.

Why We Love This

There’s something about cooking curries from scratch, you just know they’re going to be filled with such good flavour.

This Balinese Spice Paste is so versatile, it’s great to make a big batch in advance and use it as a base for various recipes throughout the week.

Using an Indonesian mortar and pestle to make base genep.

What is Bumbu Bali (Bese Genep)? 

Bumbu Bali, also known as base gede or bese genep, translates as ‘complete seasoning’ or ‘big seasoning’ in Balinese. With all those curiously delicious flavours and textures blended into one, it’s no wonder Bumbu Bali brings big flavours to your cooking.

Where We Learned This

In the heart of Tabanan, Bali we were staying at Puri Taman Sari and learnt to make Bumbu Bali alongside Chef Lole and Bagus. We ground everything by hand with the cobek (Indonesian mortar and pestle) until it transformed into a vibrant yellow-orange spice paste.

The smell from all those fresh ingredients alone was enough to set out mouths watering before we even started cooking.

We had so much fun using the cobek, that later on, Bagus and his friend offered to take us to the Mengwi night markets so we could buy our own set to take home. (And despite the fact that the heavy volcanic stone weighed a ton, we managed to fit it in our bags with room to spare!)

Bagus from Puri Taman Sari making fritters.
Bagus frying our dessert.

What You’ll Need

Depending on where you live, you should be able to source most of the ingredients from a mix of your local supermarket, fresh produce markets and/or an Asian grocery if you have one nearby. If not, you could always try heading online or substituting fresh ingredients for dried or powdered versions where necessary.

Ingredients laid out for bumbu Bali spice paste.

Key ingredients to look for include:

  • Candlenut – We’ve found these at our local Asian grocery here in Australia, but if you have trouble sourcing them you can substitute with macadamias. The texture will be similar but the taste isn’t quite the same. Still, they’ll do the job nicely.
  • Ginger – While we’ve used fresh ginger today, traditionally, lesser galangal and kencur (greater galangal) are used in this recipe. They are both similar in appearance to fresh ginger and turmeric, and we’ve found lesser galangal at our local Asian grocery but not fresh kencur (greater galangal). If you can source these, use them instead of ginger.
  • Shrimp paste – Sometimes labelled belacan or terasi, this is a must have ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine. While you can find terasi (as it’s known in Indonesia) or belacan (as it’s known in Malaysia) in wet or dry pastes, it’s the dry variety that you’ll most often find in Indonesian cuisine. Made from dried shrimp that’s been mixed with salt and fermented for several weeks, terasi is usually sliced and sold in small blocks. The smell is… pungent, but when used in small doses it provides an awesome umami kick to your edible creations! Your best bet for terasi is to source from an Asian grocery or online.
  • Wewangen Spices – This is usually a mix of peppercorn, coriander seeds and nutmeg. We’ve separated them in our recipe below, as it’s hard to find them in a pack outside of Indonesia.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Blend – Use a blender to have this whipped up in minutes.
  • Storage – Store the spice paste in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze in an airtight container for 1-2 months. Any longer and the paste would start to lose its flavour and freshness.
  • Ratio – Use 1 tbsp of spice paste for every 100g / 3.5oz of meat (chicken, pork etc) unless otherwise specified.
  • Fry the Paste – For an extra aromatic kick, fry the paste with 1-2 tbsp of vegetable and 2 bay leaves (salam leaves) for a couple of minutes on high. Then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge once cooled.

FAQs

What can I use Bumbu Bali spice paste in?

Satays, curries and rice dishes are all perfect for using your fresh bumbu bali spice paste. We highly recommend it in our creamy Indonesian fish curry or pork satays.

Can I freeze base genep?

Yes, you can freeze base genep for up to 1-2 months in an airtight container.

Using a cobek to make Balinese spice paste.

Want more Indonesian dishes? These are some of our favourites:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Grinding the bumbu bali spices into a paste.

Bumbu Bali – Balinese Spice Paste (Base Genep)

A magic 10 minute spice blend known as Bumbu Bali (Base Genep). This Balinese spice paste is filled with freshly ground herbs and spices for the perfect base to your favourite Indonesian dishes like Nasi Goreng and Sate Lilit.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 1 spice paste
Calories: 270kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Equipment

  • Mortar and Pestle

Ingredients

Instructions

Using a mortar & pestle (or a cobek & ulakan):

  • Pop everything (garlic, ginger, shallots, candlenuts, chilli, turmeric powder, salt, ground coriander, peppercorns, cloves, nutmeg and shrimp paste) onto the flat base of the ulakan or into your mortar and grind away with your pestle/cobek. You shouldn't need to push or grind with too much effort, just let the weight of the pestle/cobek work its magic on your ingredients. Continue to blend until your fresh ingredients have combined into a paste.

Using a food processor:

  • Place everything (garlic, ginger, shallots, candlenuts, chilli, turmeric powder, salt, ground coriander, peppercorns, cloves, nutmeg and shrimp paste) into the food processor and blend until well combined. It's up to you whether you blend into a smooth paste or not. If needed, you can add a little water or oil to stop the ingredients sticking to the edges and get a nice smooth consistency.

Recipe Notes

  • Blend – Use a blender to have this whipped up in minutes.
  • Storage – Store the spice paste in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze in an airtight container for 1-2 months. Any longer and the paste would start to lose its flavour and freshness.
  • Ratio – Use 1 tbsp of spice paste for every 100g / 3.5oz of meat (chicken, pork etc) unless otherwise specified.
  • Fry the Paste – For an extra aromatic kick, fry the paste with 1-2 tbsp of vegetable and 2 bay leaves (salam leaves) for a couple of minutes on high. Then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge once cooled.
  • Candlenut – We’ve found these at our local Asian grocery here in Australia, but if you have trouble sourcing them you can substitute with macadamias. The texture will be similar but the taste isn’t quite the same. Still, they’ll do the job nicely.
  • Ginger – While we’ve used fresh ginger today, traditionally, lesser galangal and kencur (greater galangal) are used in this recipe. They are both similar in appearance to fresh ginger and turmeric, and we’ve found lesser galangal at our local Asian grocery but not fresh kencur (greater galangal). If you can source these, use them instead of ginger.
  • Shrimp paste – Sometimes labelled belacan or terasi, this is a must have ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine. While you can find terasi (as it’s known in Indonesia) or belacan (as it’s known in Malaysia) in wet or dry pastes, it’s the dry variety that you’ll most often find in Indonesian cuisine. Made from dried shrimp that’s been mixed with salt and fermented for several weeks, terasi is usually sliced and sold in small blocks. The smell is… pungent, but when used in small doses it provides an umami kick to your edible creations! Your best bet for terasi is to source from an Asian grocery or online.
  • Wewangen Spices – This is usually a mix of peppercorn, coriander seeds and nutmeg. We’ve separated them in our recipe below, as it’s hard to find them in a pack outside of Indonesia.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Bumbu Bali – Balinese Spice Paste (Base Genep)
Amount per Serving
Calories
270
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Cholesterol
 
34
mg
11
%
Sodium
 
1317
mg
57
%
Potassium
 
1297
mg
37
%
Carbohydrates
 
55
g
18
%
Fiber
 
10
g
42
%
Sugar
 
22
g
24
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Vitamin A
 
2142
IU
43
%
Vitamin C
 
344
mg
417
%
Calcium
 
166
mg
17
%
Iron
 
6
mg
33
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Bumbu Bali - Balinese Spice Paste (Base Genep)

Miso E-cookbook

Image of laptop and ipad with text overlay.

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Steve
    16/10/2018 at 12:21 am

    5 stars
    Ooh, I want to try this! I’ve only got access to powdered glanagal. If I were to make this with powdered ginger and galangal, how much of each do you think I’d need? Thanks L&S, ~cantwaittotry!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/10/2018 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Steve! Digging into this, it looks like you should be fine adding 1-2 tsp for of powdered galangal for this recipe to substitute for the fresh galangal. It’s flavour won’t be quite as powerful, so you could also up the amount of fresh ginger to compensate. Hope this helps, happy cooking! 🙂

  • Reply
    Dave Purslow
    16/06/2017 at 2:48 am

    Looks good girls, have you got any recipes where we can use this paste? Could you use it to make a curry with coconut cream?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      31/07/2017 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks Dave, and absolutely yes – It’s the perfect little addition to these Balinese satays (sate lilit). The basa genap gives them so much flavour you won’t even need any dipping sauce. Enjoy!

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.