The Secrets of Balinese Cooking: Revealed!

As promised, I am sharing with you the top secret recipes that we learned in our cooking class while visiting Bali. Most are the original recipes, however, some ingredients may be hard to find in your local grocery store, so I have added substitute ingredients. All dishes are super delicious and nutritious 🙂 BON APETIT!

BASE GENEP aka Basic Yellow Sauce

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This sauce is used in many traditional Balinese dishes. Once you make it you can keep 1-2 weeks in the fridge. Or freeze it for up to 1 -2 months.


  • 10 shallots
  • 15 cloves of garlic
  • 2 thumb sized pieces of lesser galangal (substitute – ginger)
  • 2 thumb sized pieces of galangal (substitute – ginger)
  • 2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 hot chilies
  • 3 red chilies
  • 4 macadamia nuts (modification: any nut you have in the house)
  • 1 tsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns (modification: I omit this- stomach can’t handle black pepper)
  • 1 tsp white pepper ( modification: I don’t use this)
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ tsp of nutmeg powder
  • 1 tbs of palm sugar
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp of shrimp paste
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Clean and wash all ingredients except seeds and powders. Slice and remove the seeds from the hot and red chilies. Finely chop shallots, garlic,  ginger, turmeric, nuts, red chilies and hot chilies.
  2. Blend the chopped ingredients, coriander seeds, nutmeg and cloves in a blender, until they form a fine paste
  3. Saute the paste in coconut oil. Crush the lemongrass stalk then add salt, pepper, palm sugar, bay leaves and lemongrass to the paste. Saute for about 7 min on low heat.



SERVES 4 – 6


  • 3 chicken breasts (modification: vegetarian use tofu or vegetables)
  • 1 cup cubed potato
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 spring onion
  • 2 red chilies
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream
  • ½ litre chicken or veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp of base genep – basic yellow sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 lime leaves *substitute – zest of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnish – fried shallots


  1. Slice the red chilies and remove their seeds. Slice shallots, garlic, spring onion and red chilies. Clean, peel and cut the potato into 2 cm cubes. Cut the chicken into small chunks.
  2. Sauté shallots, garlic and spring onion on a medium heat until light brown. Add the base genep (in the previous recipe) then the chicken and stir together.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Break the bay leaves and lime leaves**(or zest of limes) then add them to the stock, with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the coconut cream and keep on a lower heat for 2 min before serving
  5. Serve in a bowl with fried shallots as a garnish.


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SERVES 4 – 6


For the vegetables

  • 2 cups of cabbage, shredded
  • Strong beans (for 2 cups cut into 5 cm lengths)
  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1 pack of hard tofu
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 3 tbsp of coconut oil for frying

For the sauce

  • 1 ½ cups of fried peanuts with their skin (modification – do not fy for healthier option)
  • 1 thumb size piece of lesser galangal (substitute – ginger)
  • 2 candle nuts or macadamia nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 hot chili
  • ½ a medium tomato
  • 5 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 1 lime
  • Salt, optional
  • ½ cup of water


  1. To make the sauce, first slice the chili and remove the seeds. Blend the peanuts, garlic, candle nuts, lesser galangal (substitute- ginger), chili and tomato in blender, until they form fine paste. Mix the paste with the half cup of water on low heat. Add the sweet soy sauce and salt, and squeeze the lime over the mixture. Stir thoroughly until mixed through
  2. For the vegetables, begin by blanching the cabbage and kale for less than a minute in boiling water. Boil the string beans for no more than 3 min. Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Cut the tofu cubes and fry it with about 3 tbsp of coconut oil until it is golden. To serve, mix the vegetables and tofu together, place on a large dish and pout the sauce over.

Tempe (or Tofu) Manis

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SERVES 4 – 6


  • 2 packs of tempeh or tofu
  • 10 red chilies
  • 5 tbsp of Sweet Soy Sauce (substitute: if you have regular in the house, just add brown sugar to it)
  • 4 shallots
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 spring onion
  • 5 limes leaves (substitute: zest of 2 limes)
  • ¼ litre coconut oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Slice the tempeh or tofu into thing strips. Boil the coconut oil in the pan with the tempeh (or tofu) and fry into golden brown. Remove and set aside (I would used much less oil so it is not too heavy )
  2. Slice the red chilies and remove their seeds. Slice the garlic, shallots, spring onion, and red chilies, heat about 3 tbsp of coconut oil in another pan and saute until light brown.
  3. Add the fried tempeh or tofu to the pan of garlic, shallots, spring onion and chili and mix. Adding the sweet soy sauce and broken lime laves (lime zest). Stor well to coat tempeh or tofu in the sauce.
  4. Serve hot.

Enjoy cooking up a storm!

Until next time,


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