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Base Genep: Basic Balinese Spice Paste

Base Genep: ‘Complete’ Balinese Spice Paste

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Spice Pastes
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Balinese
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Balinese cuisine uses many spice pastes, known as base, which are used for cooking elaborate meat or vegetable dishes. This recipe, for base genep, is a common and universal spice paste that can be used for everything.


  • 5 cm turmeric, chopped
  • 5 cm galangal, chopped
  • 4 cm ginger, chopped
  • 4 cm lesser galangal, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 10 shallots, peeled, chopped
  • 4 big red chillies, seed removed, chopped
  • 4 bird’s eye chillies (add or reduce the amount according to your preference)
  • 5 stalks lemongrass, use only the white parts, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 0.5 tsp black peppercorn
  • 0.5 tsp white peppercorn
  • 3 candlenuts, chopped
  • 0.5 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp roasted shrimp paste
  • 2 salam leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 0.5 cup coconut oil


  1. Using a blender or food processor, blend into a coarse paste the: chopped turmeric, galangal, ginger, lesser galangal, garlic, shallots, big red chillies, bird’s eye chillies and lemongrass (Paste 1).
  2. Using a grinder, grind the coriander seeds, black and white peppercorns, candlenuts and nutmeg (Paste 2).
  3. Mix paste 1 and 2 together.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a wok over medium high heat.
  5. Add the blended spices, roasted shrimp paste, salt, sugar and salam leaves.

    Base genep: mix the two pastes together


  6. Fry for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to a low flame, and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the spices have turned golden brown.
  7. Let the spice paste cool and keep in the fridge for later use. 


  • Base genep can be portioned and stored for a week in the fridge or a month in the freezer. 
  • To save time and energy, I used a food processor to make the paste, but feel free to do it the traditional way, which will involve mincing the fresh ingredients and pounding the dry spices to get the real Balinese experience.

Keywords: Spicy, Condiments