Bumbu Dasar Kuning

Bumbu Dasar Kuning or Indonesian Yellow Spices Paste is one spices mix that will help you a lot with Indonesian foods that are coloured yellow.  The yellow colour of Bumbu Dasar Kuning (Indonesian Yellow Spices Paste) is resulted from turmeric.  Turmeric has been known for its health benefits.  If you have no access for fresh turmeric roots, you can always use the dried or ground form.  Visit livestrong.com to get more knowledge how you substitute from fresh to drie or ground form.

This basic yellow spice paste is good for making soto ayam lamongan (Lamongan style chicken soup), Ayam Goreng Kuning (yellow fried chicken), Soto Babat (beef tripe soup), Pepes Fish (steamed/baked fish in banana leaves), Laksa either the Bogor or Betawi/Jakarta style, Indonesian Acar Fish (yellow  spiced and sour fish), Soto Mie (beef noodle soup).  The bottom line, any Indonesian dishes that include turmeric can do a short-cut with this basic yellow spice paste.

The Indonesian also loves using fresh turmeric roots as they have more distinct fragrant flavour compare to the dried or powder ones.

Bumbu Dasar Kuning
Indonesian Basic Yellow Spice Paste

500 grams shallots
325 grams cloves garlic
150 grams fresh turmeric roots, toasted and scraped
150 grams candlenuts, toasted
100 grams ginger, scraped
100 grams galangal (optional)*
2 teaspoons white peppercorn
2 – 2 1/2 teaspoons seasalt

1. If you have more energy and patience, you can use a mortar and pestle. However, if you don’t, just use a food processor to blend all the ingredients until smooth.

2. If you want to keep the basic yellow spice in a longer period, you can stir fry the paste or add water and heat up until the water dissolves. Then, transfer them into small mason jars.  Make sure to sterilize the jar before using it in boiling water for 15 minutes or in a 225ºF oven for 10 minutes.

Cook’s Note:
The reason why I write galangal is optional because not all recipes need that ingredient. But I guarantee the foods that I mentioned above need galangal.


  1. Hi, thanks for your blog, I’m enjoying reading and getting ideas from it! We spent our honeymoon in Indonesia (Sumatra) so I’ve enjoyed trying to recreate the tastes & smells at home. Sadly we couldn’t try the variety we would have liked while there as I’m a vegetarian (my husband eats fish, at least, so he had a lot more choice, and spoke very highly of some of the fish dishes he was served!), although we found a few speciality vegetarian restaurants and muddled along with our rudimentary Bahasa Indonesia elsewhere (keeping our fingers crossed and turning a blind eye when something turned up that looked or tasted suspiciously meaty/fishy!). But having a great resource like your site has allowed me to create “vegetarianised” versions of dishes at home, so we could try some of the things we missed out on!

    The reason I’m posting here is because the one thing I’ve struggled to find here is candlenuts, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for substitutions? I’ve seen various suggestions online such as macadamias, brazil nuts, almonds & cashews, but apparently these all lack the bitterness and some other aspects of the flavour. Because I’ve never knowingly tried candlenuts I don’t know what the flavour component missing from these subs is like, so I don’t know how to replicate it. Can you think of something I could add to these nuts to get a closer flavour? I’m a pretty creative cook so I’m happy to experiment!

    Terima kasih 🙂

  2. suppose can use walnut instead of candle nut, as some people prefer to use this instead of candle nut which seems to be more tasty, it depends on one’s like


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