Chef Agung’s Kitchen – Love from Bali XOXO Part 2

Sep 14, 2013 by

Don't ask, don't get - barging my way in to the kitchen

Don’t ask, don’t get – barging my way in to the kitchen

So much good food is what pushed me to break in to Chef Agung’s kitchen. Leave that food to a fond memory? Not a chance. He was going to teach me. He showed me how to make satays, which I figured would be familiar enough – ground meat with herbs and spices. But there is always that one native step that is unfamiliar to the outsider – the step that makes all the difference, Bumbu. Bumbu is a Balinese spice mixture that is used in most dishes from grilled food to curries to.



Bumbu is what soffrito is to Latin cooking, or masala (cooked onion-ginger-tomatoes-spice) to Indian. Skip or short change this step and you may as well not bother making the dish. This Balinese paste is where the love in Balinese cooking shows up –believe me, all that pounding left me with achy hands. And what ingredients are getting the old-fashioned beating? Lemon grass, kaffir-lime leaves, fresh turmeric, coconut, galangal, ginger, fresh birds-eye chili, shallots and shrimp paste.

All these ingredients are then cooked bringing their flavors in to full bloom and then added to your choice of ground protein for satay. Since making the Bumbu is the only labor and ingredient intensive part, make extra and freeze it. If you choose to take a shortcut, Chef Agung blesses us to use the food processor.



Here’s where else you can add your Bumbu:

Balinese saute dishes

Rendang Curry


Meats for roasting


Adapted From Chef Agung Gede’s Recipes


Base used for Sate ‘Bumbu’

5 ounces garlic, sliced

1 large shallot, sliced

3 ounces ginger, roughly chopped

4 ounces galangal, finely chopped

1/2 ounce turmeric, finely chopped

1 ounce candle nut, chopped (if unavailable, used macadamia)

1 red chili, finely chopped

2 teaspoons shrimp paste

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

315 ml cooking oil

1 teaspoon salt



  1. Process/ pound all ingredients except oil and salt in a blender with enough water to cover ingredients.
  2. Saute the mixture until oil begins to separate. Heat oil in a wok or heavy pan, add all ingredients. Cook and stir frequently for 15 to 20 minutes until the marinade turns golden and the liquid evaporates. Cool before using.

Sate Ingredients

2lbs. boneless chicken thighs/ Beef fillets, cut in to medium-sized chunks

4 ounces grated coconut

1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped

1-tablespoon ginger finely chopped

1 red fresh chili, finely chopped

1 tsp. brown sugar or palm sugar (available at local Asian/ Thai grocery store)

2 tablespoons coconut milk

½ teaspoon of shrimp paste (available at local Asian/ Thai grocery store)



1. Combine the shallots, garlic, ginger, chili, grated coconut, palm sugar, coconut milk, lime leaves, shrimp paste, lime juice and salt.

2. Then, add the chicken/beef and 1 tbsp. base bumbu. Mix well. Allow to sit for atleast 1 hour

3. Thread on to a skewer and cook on a well-oiled pan until crisp and golden or in the oven at 400 degrees until cooked through


















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