Eggs with Traditional Balinese Spice Paste (Taluh Mepindang) by Ira Rodrigues of Cooking Tackle

bali beach with blue skies at karma kandara resort

Have you ever dreamed of visiting Bali? 

You can start by heading over to Ira Rodrigues' blog, Cooking Tackle, where you will find Ira cooking up gorgeous Indonesian dishes at her home in Bali. Recipes that may be intimidating with their long lists of ingredients, unfamiliar spices, and cooking times in hours instead of minutes.  Amazing dishes that you would love to try, but may be challenging to replicate in your own kitchen.  With each deliciously complex recipe at Cooking Tackle, you will realize, and finally discover, your excuse to visit the island of Bali…

balinese religious ceremony with girls in traditional costumes

As part of our ongoing series of exploring Southeast Asian spices and cultures, we welcome Ira – our representative of Bali on the New Spice Route – to share her wonderful images of the island, and an authentic Balinese dish that uses not one, but two types of galangal (and a lot of other spices!).

bali food blog cooking tackle with ira rodriguez

I’m so delighted to take part in Season with Spice’s series – Explore Southeast Asian Spices & Herbs.  I love the idea of introducing different Southeast Asian foods, with the wonderful mix of flavors and aromas in each dish.

I’m from Indonesia, living now in the beautiful island of Bali.  A place with endless stretches of beaches and unlimited sunshine, and a culture and cuisine that is absolutely unrivaled anywhere else in the world!

bali pagoda on water at bedugul lake area

I feel blessed to have been born in a tropical country, where I developed a passion for cooking, and had the freshest spices and ingredients all around me to create delicious Indonesian dishes.

great balinese spice paste bumbu besar - galangal turmeric, chili peppers, bali long peppers, ginger, and other indonesian spices & herbs

I’m still in the process of learning and exploring how to cook traditional Balinese food with a long list of to-do recipes, but it’s what I love.  And I hope to one day be an expert on Balinese food.

It's time to take a closer look in my kitchen and into my cooking pot, as I reveal a Balinese dish called Taluh Mepindang / Telur Pindang (Eggs in aromatic Balinese spice). 

eggs with balinese spice paste called taluh mepindang

Taluh Mepindang is cooked by boiling whole eggs with guava leaves, shallot skin and garlic skin, until they turn a deep, dark brown color.  Then, the eggs are cooked again in an aromatic Balinese spice paste (Basa Gede)

Perhaps, it sounds strange to all of you but it is worth the effort – the cooking process is authentic, rare, and unique to the island.

hard-boiled eggs with bali spices and herbs

Traditional Balinese cooks will use a clay pot to cook the eggs with guava leaves, because the leaves release a dark color that would dye their regular cooking pot.  But I just use my regular thick, bottom aluminum cooking pot, which I can clean with a one hour boiling process.

guava leaves herb from bali indonesia

Taluh Mepindang/Telur Pindang (Eggs with Traditional Balinese Spice Paste) 
by Ira Rodrigues of Cooking Tackle 

Part 1: Cooking the Eggs
4 whole eggs
A handful of shallot skin
A handful of garlic skin
1 1/2 tablespoons of salt
4 Indonesian bay leaves (salam leaves)
8-9 guava leaves (if available)

1. Wash the eggs, and place them in a deep cooking pot. Top up with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. After 10 minutes, lift the eggs out using a slotted spoon and place in cold water.
3. When the hard-boiled eggs are cool enough to handle, gently crack the shells with the back of a spoon until the entire shell is a network of cracks--do not peel!
4. Return the eggs to the pot and add in guava leaves, Indonesia bay leaves, shallot skin, garlic skin and salt. Boil until the water has evaporated and eggs are dark brown. I did this step in about 1 hour.
5. Peel eggs, and set aside.

* During Step 4 above, I normally prepare and make the spice paste, so it’s ready when the eggs are done.

Part 2: Preparing the Traditional Balinese Spice Paste (Basa Gede)
100g shallots
80g garlic
40g greater galangal
20g fresh ginger
30g kaempferia galanga (kencur)
30g fresh turmeric
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 tsp white peppercorn
1 tsp coriander seeds (toasted)
2 cloves
1/2 nutmeg
4 Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam)
3 candlenuts (crushed and toasted)
2 Balinese long pepper (tabia bun)
1 red chili (deseeded)
3 bird’s eye chilies
1/4 tsp toasted shrimp paste (terasi/belacan)
Coconut oil/vegetable oil for frying

1. Using a mortar & pestle, or an electric blender, combine all ingredients except Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam), Grind to a smooth paste. If you are using a blender, make sure to add a little bit of water or cooking oil to keep the ingredients moving.
2. Heat oil in a wok on medium fire, then add in the spice paste and salam leaves, and stir-fry until fragrant or until the spice paste changes to a golden color (do not add any additional seasonings).

- If you can’t find Balinese long pepper (Tabia Bun), you may leave it out.
- For a less spicy version, you can always skip the bird’s eye chilies, and only add in the red chilies.
- Any leftover spice blend can be transferred to a sterilized jar and refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Part 3: Cooking the eggs with the spice paste
1. Place two tablespoons of the cooked Balinese spice paste into the wok, and pour in 3/4 cup of hot water.  Stir well.  Then add in two Indonesian bay leaves, and simmer until aromatic.
2. Place in the cooked eggs, and stir well.  Continue to simmer until the water reduces to half and thickens.  Serve as a side dish.

To learn more about Balinese (and Indonesian) culture and food - and to see examples of stunning photography -  visit the very talented Ira at her site, Cooking Tackle.

Thank you Ira!

All images courtesy of Ira Rodrigues at Cooking Tackle