Balinese basic spice paste Recipe (Basa Alit)

December 06, 2011

Basa (Bumbu) is Balinese word for spices, it is the mixture of spices that makes the whole dish delicious outcome.

Balinese people believed that all spices which they have today are sincerely a gift from God, in fact that it specifically describes in the Hindu epic of “Pandawa Lima“ (Five Pandavas)
I could imagine that the great sacred of Balinese belief to regards their spices is actually passing through a legend and a winding road which makes Balinese have more highly appreciated to their cooking.

I was truly amazed after understanding all about Balinese spices, base spices and differences processing the spices traditionally—traditionally pounded spices, traditionally grounded spices and traditionally chopping spices.
The best part is the classic rule that I ever discover since I passionate of Balinese cooking, there is a guideline of preparing the mixture of Balinese spices,  every spices has its own symbolic for example " Turmeric (kunyit) has representation of Arjuna while Galanga (lengkuas) has representation of Bima
Arjuna and Bima are hero character in Hindu epic--two of five pandava brothers (Pandawa Lima).
To be honest, it sounds unbelievable to me and perhaps it takes me a century to be an expert and understanding of all Balinese cooking for each category lol.

Well, I’m writing a post here is not going to scared you to death by telling the legend and the complex method to cook an authentic Balinese food, I just want you to know how amazing Balinese cuisine is--harmonize between culture and belief, Its unified beautifully!

I reveal "Balinese base spices" also known as Basa Alit (bumbu genap kecil)
It can be use for making Balinese poultry dishes, Balinese wrapped (tum/pesan), Balinese lawar (warm salad), marinated fried fish and many more.
I adapt the recipe from my previous cooking class.

Basa Alit (Bumbu genap kecil)
Balinese basic spice paste


6 shallots
5 cloves garlic
5 red chillies
2 bird eye chillies
2 candle nuts, crushed and toasted
20gr fresh kaempferia galanga (kencur), its about 3 pieces small size
30gr fresh turmeric root, its about 2 pieces medium size
40gr fresh galangal
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
2 indonesian bay leaves (daun salam)
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
½ teaspoon shrimp paste (terasi/belachan)
2 tablespoons shaved coconut sugar, 
substitute palm sugar or brown sugar
Coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying

Using mortar and pestle or food processor, or an electric blender, 
combine all ingredients except lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and 
salam leaves. Grind to smooth paste.
* if you using a blender make sure to add a little bit of water or 
cooking oil to keep the ingredients moving.

Heat the cooking oil in a wok, add in the spice paste, lemongrass, salam leaves, 
and kaffir lime leaves, stir-fry until fragrant 
or until the spice paste changes to golden color.

* do not season with any seasoning

 Transfer into sterilized jar and refrigerated

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