An Authentic Balinese Curry

Balinese Curry

This recipe, my first on this blog, one I guarantee will BLOW YOUR MIND… It is something you should definitely try. Anyone will love this recipe. This recipe will knock your socks off.

Actually… this recipe will most certainly KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!!!

This curry recipe  comes from Janet De Neefe’s book: Bali, The Food Of My Island Home. Janet is a wonderful woman who along with her Balinese husband , Ketut Suardana , run several fantastic restaurants in Ubud, Bali.

This curry never fails to warm my heart with memories of home and a burning hot mouth. You may have troubles getting all the fresh ingredients, but I promise you an unimaginable  taste bud culinary experience. Any good local Asian store should have the ingredients. Of course this recipe is best made with all the individual ingredients, but  I have given some substitutable options for the lessor common ingredients that will still pull off a great curry. Good luck!


For the spice paste:

  • 4 candlenuts
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 6 red shallots, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 long red chilies, seeded and roughly sliced (we call them cabe lombok, they are commonly 10-15 cm in length and on the milder side of “hotness”)
  • 2 small chilies (3 if you are REALLY into spice), roughly sliced (these are what we call cabe rawit, you can use pretty much any small red, spicy chilly such as the Thai chill)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white parts only, roughly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped galangal (substitutable  with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh turmeric (substitutable  with 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (substitutable  brown sugar is an acceptable substitute)
The other ingredients:
  • large dash of vegetable oil (or about the equivalent of 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil)
  • 2 lemongrass talks, bruised (hammer them lightly)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (substitutable  with half a squeeze of lime)
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 600 g chicken (filet or boned, cut into large pcs)
  • 250 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
  • sea salt
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • steamed rice (to serve)
  • fried shallots (to garnish)
Cooking Guidelines:
  1. Put the spice paste ingredients into a food processor, blender or mortar and pound/blend into a paste (add a splash of water to get things moving if it resists the force).

    Blitz the spices
  2. In a wok or a deep pan, heat the oil and add the spice paste. Stir till fragrant, about a minute on high heat. turn down the heat, add the lemongrass, lime leaves, salam leaves and tamarind. Stir for a minute and add the chicken. Season with salt. Toss around for a couple of minutes before adding the water. Allow to cook for 20-30 min with the lid on, stirring once in  a while.
    Add the coconut milk
  3. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 3 minutes. Do another seasoning taste… and serve with rice and fried shallots.

Feeds 4 people, or three large hungry male students.


5 thoughts on “An Authentic Balinese Curry

  1. I hear candlenuts are mildly toxic.. Is the minute of cooking the paste enough time to negate the toxicity of the candlenuts? Obviously they and the paste continue cooking during the cooking of the curry too…

    • We use it in everyday cooking. No one seems to have issues with it in Indonesia so i never heard of toxicity issues. Quick google search revealed that when cooked toxicity reduces greatly and even disappears. Just don’t eat them raw and you should be fine.

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