Bumbu Dasar Putih: Basic White Spice Paste (Vegan)

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Nowadays, people are busier than ever. Cooking fresh, healthy meals from scratch can be time-consuming, and many people opt to have pre-packed or home-delivered food instead. And while ready-to-eat foods are handy, they lack nutritional value. Food deliveries, on the other hand, may provide better options in terms of flavours and nutrition. In the end though, they will burn our pockets if indulged in too often! To eat well, save both our health and our wealth, and avoid kitchen slavery, we’re going to share some little tricks here. 

To make my life easier, I do weekly food planning. It’s a process which only takes less than 30 minutes of my time. I like to plan what I want to eat a week in advance. I create a list of the dishes and the ingredients needed, and then shop for the ingredients based on the list. 


To further save my time, I might also prepare a basic spice paste for cooking. The paste can last two to three weeks! During weekdays, which are usually very busy, I still can cook without much hassle. The spice paste provides a great short cut while maintaining the quality of the food. It really saves a lot of time. Aside from adjusting the flavour, I only need to chop the fresh ingredients, and then cook using the pre-prepared spice paste. No more spice preparation! No extra chopping or blending, and it reduces the cooking time significantly. In a matter of minutes, VOILA! Delicious, fresh, healthy meals! 

There are several different basic spice pastes for different types of dishes — I will eventually feature them all. This time I’ve made a very basic spice paste first, which is bumbu dasar putih, or basic white spice paste. 

A Really Useful Paste

Bumbu dasar putih is white in colour and it’s prepared with shallots, garlic, galangal, candlenuts and coriander. The paste is finely blended and sauteed until it’s cooked and fragrant. You can use Bumbu dasar putih to prepare food such as opor ayam, gudeg, terik, empal, and all kinds of fried or stir-fried dishes. You might still need to add a few fresh/dried herbs for additional flavour and aroma, but it’s just a matter of adding it to the cooking pan, which is almost no work at all. Just follow the simple instructions on how to prepare this spice paste and your food preparation will be simplified for weeks. 

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Bumbu Dasar Putih: Basic White Spice Paste

Bumbu Dasar Putih: Basic White Spice Paste

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Spice Pastes
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


This non-spicy, basic spice paste can be pre-made and kept for a few weeks, to be used for quick and easy cooking on the fly. It’s vegan and is used in many traditional Indonesian dishes.


  • 250 gr shallots, peeled, chopped
  • 100 gr garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 50 gr candlenuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 cm fresh galangal, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp sugar
  • 100 ml cooking oil


  1. Blend into a fine paste: shallots, garlic, candlenuts, coriander and galangal.
  2. Put the oil in a wok and heat it over a medium high flame.
  3. Fry the spice paste until fragrant, then reduce the heat to medium low.

    Fry the spice paste until fragrant

  4. Add salt and sugar.
  5. Continue frying the spice until done or most of the liquid has evaporated, around 10 minutes.
  6. Cool the spice paste.
  7. Transfer the paste into a clean glass jar with a tight seal and keep it in the refrigerator. 


  • Store the spice paste in a tight lid jar to keep it fresh.
  • The spice paste can be kept for several weeks in the fridge. 
  • Always use a clean spoon when taking the spice to prevent bacteria.

Keywords: Shallots, Garlic, Candlenut, Coriander, Vegan, Non-Spicy

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