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Square image, top down view of a white bowl full with Balinese spice paste with spoons, and other plates surrounding it

Simple All-Purpose Balinese Spice Paste

Balinese Spice Paste (also known as Bumbu Bali) is a fragrant and spicy base for many Balinese recipes. It can be used to make curries, stews, sauces and even fritters. Plus, it only takes 10 minutes to make!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indonesian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 95kcal
Author Jess & Dan


  • 350 g shallots – peeled
  • 150 g garlic 30-40 cloves – peeled
  • 100 g ginger – peeled & roughly sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 sticks lemongrass - roughly chopped
  • 25 g cashews
  • 25 g bird eye chillies ~8 chillies – tops removed & halved
  • 12 curry leaves or 4 salam leaves
  • 30 g sugar (palm sugar if possible)
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil


  • Start by preparing the larger ingredients for the blender. Chop the shallots in half, slice the ginger roughly, chop the lemongrass into 1-inch pieces, and remove the tops from the chillies and cut them in half. The curry leaves can go in the blender whole. If you’re using a pestle and mortar, chop all of these items very finely.
  • Put all of the ingredients into the blender, and blitz them until they create a paste. Alternatively, pound in a pestle and mortar. If using a pestle and mortar, you won’t need the water or the oil. 
  • Put the paste into a wok without oil, over a medium heat, and cook until it is hot. The paste will start to bubble and will thicken slightly.
  • Pour the paste into a jar or container and refrigerate once cool. Alternatively, pop into an ice cube tray and then the freezer. Once frozen, move into freezer bags.


  • To make a curry with coconut milk, you’ll need 5 tablespoons of the paste, or if frozen (roughly) 5 ice cubes of curry paste, which can be used from frozen.
  • This paste is a great foundation for curries, stews, fritters and many other Balinese recipes. 
  • It will keep in the fridge for 5 days, or the freezer for 3 months.
  • Palm sugar is recommended for this recipe but brown or white sugar will work too.
  • The ginger and lemon juice is to replace galangal in a traditional recipe. If you have galangal, use 100g of it instead.


Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 589mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg