Bring Home the Flavours of Bali
WRITER: Online Editor PHOTOS BY: Caleb Ming
Bring Home the Flavours of Bali 20. May 2021, by Online Editor, Photos by Caleb Ming
Executive Chef Dean Fisher fell in love with Asian cuisine when he first came to Bali on a surfing trip. Several years later, he put his keen interest in Asian spices to good use – in 2011, he teamed up with Chef Consultant Luidi Gerosa to head the kitchen at Dean’s Bali Cooking School.

Here, you can try your hand at some traditional Balinese cooking, and learn how to whip up mouth-watering dishes that are typically spicy with hints of sweet and sour. The Balinese cooking class begins with a visit to the local market for some grocery shopping, and covers dishes such as Balinese seafood soup, roast duck in banana leaf, and even the popular babi guling, or roast sucking pig in traditional spices, upon special request.

Learn to make base be pasih (spice paste for seafood). This is a basic spice paste that is commonly used in a variety of seafood dishes.


  • 450g large red chilli, seeded and sliced
  • 50g garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 225g shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 175g turmeric, peeled and sliced
  • 200g medium-sized tomato, peeled, halved and seeded
  • 100g ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 125g candlenuts, crushed
  • 2tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 250ml water
  • ¾ tbsp. salt
  • 3 salam leaves*
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised


  1. Combined all ingredients (except tamarind pulp, salam leaves, lemongrass, oil and water) in food processor or stone mortar and grind coarsely.
  2. Place ground ingredients in a heavy saucepan, add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium heat for approximately 60 minutes or until water is evaporated and marinate changes to golden colour.
  3. Cool before using.

Now your paste is ready to be used for various Balinese seafood dishes.

* Salam leaves are a cousin to bay leaves in Indonesian cooking. Dried Salam leaves are practically odourless. Flavours are released during the long cooking time often required for stews and other simmered dishes.

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