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Base Genep - The Essential Spice Paste
Base Genep - The Essential Spice Paste

Base Genep - The Essential Spice Paste


Makes 700g

2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
8 cloves
6 long black peppercorns, or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs shrimp paste
120mL virgin coconut oil
10 salam leaves
Sea salt and pepper

Spice mix:

275g red shallots
150g garlic cloves
4 long red chillies, seeds removed
50g tabasco chillies
40g fresh turmeric
2 cm piece fresh ginger
45g freshly grated lesser galangal
6 cm piece fresh galangal
2 lemongrass stems, white part only


Spice mix:

Roughly chop all the ingredients. Using a mortar and pestle, pound everything together until it forms a rough paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In the mortar and pestle, crush the nutmeg, cloves and peppercorns into a coarse powder.

Toast the shrimp paste in a wok or frying pan over a low heat until it is aromatic, about 1 minute.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a high heat. Add the shrimp paste and spice mix and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring continuously to make sure nothing sticks or burns. When all the liquid has evaporated and a dark green paste has formed, add the dry spices and salam leaves and give it another stir.

Turn the heat down, cover and let it simmer for 3 hours, stirring gently every 10–15 minutes.

When the paste is ready, it will be smooth and aromatic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Credits: This is an edited extract from Paon: Real Balinese Cooking by Tjok Maya Kerthyasa and I Wayan Kresna Yasa, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $50, available in-stores nationally.

Photo Credits: Martin Westlake

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