Indonesia Eats

Base Genep: Bali Complete Spices Mix

Base Genep (Balinese Spices Mix)
Base Genep Bali

BASE GENEP is a genius idea of Bumbu (Indonesian spices mix) that was created or found by Balinese ancestors either 2000 years ago or on the 9th century. Base (read: baa-se) is a Balinese pronunciation for Basa. Base Genep is basically a complete spices mix that you better make it a head. It helps you alot to have a faster cooking process. Hence this mix can be applied for many Balinese or Asian fusion foods. If you live in Bali, you can buy BASE GENEP at the markets. Hence, I live in Canada so it needs more efforts on my part to have BASE GENEP.

According the story, Lontar Bible has mentioned about BASE GENEP. It has been available since 2000 years ago. However, some people said that BASE GENEP was found in the 9th century when there was a relationship between India and Bali.

As an Indonesian native, I have to learn other regional Indonesian foods that I’m not familiar with. My family background is from North Sumatra and East Java. I was born and raised in East Java prior to move to West Java.

It was years ago when I started learning about Balinese food as a part of learning other regional Indonesian foods beside North Sumatran and East Javanese. I found Balinese recipes are the most complex one. I was quite surprised when I learnt some herb roots in Balinese cooking are actually used only for Jamu (Herbal Medicines) in Javanese.

I find enjoyment to learn many different traditional recipes of Indonesia and other countries. From its recipes, I will find some connections to its cultures. I will find a connection to the history of its country.

In Balinese cooking, MEBASE BALI (variants of Base Bali)

  • BASA (BASE) CENIK: Bumbu Genap Kecil; A Small Mixed Spices
  • BASA (BASE) GEDE: Bumbu Genap Besar: A Large (Complete) Mixed Spices. This is the one that mostly people call as BASA (BASE) GENEP
  • WEWANGEN: Bumbu Wangi; Fragrant Mixed Spices
  • JEJATON: Bumbu Penambah Rasa; Additional Flavour Spices

Notes: Base Gede =Base Cenik  + Wewangen. However, some items in WEWANGEN are not being added.

WEWANGEN is really unique mixed spices due to some ingredients are not very common to be used for cooking in other Indonesian cooking such as Tabia Bun (Javanese long pepper – Piper retrofractum), Kemenyan or benzoin(resin) or benjamin, Jangu or Dlingu (Sweet Root or Sweet Flag – Acorus calamus), Bangle (Zingiber purpureum Roxb., a ginger family-like)

To process BASE GENEP, I omitted Kemenyan, Jangu (known as Dlingu or Sweet Root or Sweet Flag – Acorus calamus) and Bangle (Zingiber purpureum Roxb.) as I don’t have the ability to resource it in Edmonton, Alberta. I was glad I found a local store The Silk Road Spice Merchant on Whyte Ave where I was able to get some ingredients from Indonesia such as Tabia Bun (Javanese long pepper), Muntok white peppercorn, Lampung black peppercorn and Cubeb Berries (Tailed Peppers).

In Balinese, the skins of root ingredients are not supposed to be peeled. Just rinse them off really good. The old Balinese belief that skins of the root herb is JAMU (traditional herbal medicines). And they believe that Food should be your medicine.

Base Genep
Bali Complete Spices Mix

Ingredients:

150 g peeled shallots
100 g cloves peeled garlic
20 g candlenuts
75 g kaemferia galangal (kencur) or 1 tablespoon kencur powder
70 g turmeric, no need to peel the skin off and just rinse            
100 g (3.5 oz)  galangal, no need to peel the skin off and just rinse           
125 g  (4.4 oz) ginger, no need to peel the skin off and just rinse           
28 g (1 oz) lemongrass, take the white part only
50 g (1.7 oz) long red peppers (cayenne or serano)
50 g (1.7 oz) bird eye’s chilies
28 g (1 oz) terasi (or known as belacan or dried fermented shrimp)
5 g (1 tablespoon) coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon Lampung black peppercorn
½ teaspoon Muntok white peppercorn
5 Javanese long peppers (tabia bun)
½ nutmeg, grated
5 cloves
5 Indonesian bay (salam) leaves
50 mL extra virgin coconut oil

Traditionally, the Balinese will mince all the ingredients except candlenuts, salam leaves, cloves, nutmeg, white and black peppercorns, and tabia bun with a knife or 2 knives. However, more and more people use a mortar and pestle or food processor. I myself processed them with a Mexican-style mortar and pestle since I don’t have the Indonesian version.

Methods:

Grind all ingredients except salam leaves and oil.

In a wok at medium high heat, add coconut oil. Stir fry salam leaves and all minced ingredients until fragrant.

Check out other Balinese recipes on Indonesia Eats:
Sambal Matah (Raw Sambal)
Sambal Bongkot (Torch Ginger Sambal)
Kakul Mekuah (Balie Freshwater Snail Soup)

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