Base Genep, Balinese Spice Heritage

Balinese traditional dishes have a distinct flavor of spice. The distinct flavor comes from a mix of spice base called ‘Base Genep’, a foundation of Balinese traditional cooking. Some Balinese believe that Base Genep spice blend came from the Pandawas and Drupadi goddess who have been blessed by the power of tastes. Base Genep is a blend of 15 different locally grown spices that makes the blend distinct and marks a Balinese cooking style.

The tradition has lived since old Bali along side Subak Bali (rice plantation tradition) two millenia ago. Subak is the water management (irrigation) system for the paddy fields on Bali island, Indonesia. It was developed in the 9th century. 

A blend of wet and dry spices

Wet bumbu blend are shallots, garlic and chilli. Dry bumbu blend is coriander seeds, candle nut, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom and tabia bun chilli. In daily practice people would then add other spices such as galangal, ginger, turmeric, even salt and preserved shrimp (terasi).

Base Genep in royal dishes : Bebek Timbungan

Bebek timbungan is a culinary heritage written on an ancient manuscript called “Dharma Caruban”, a manuscript that writes guidelines for preparing dishes for Balinese kings. The dish went through a unique cooking process in a bamboo with spice blend of Base Genep. It took 12 hours to have the spice blend infused in the duck meat. The marinating process is followed by smoking the duck in the bamboo.