Vegetable Spice Paste

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings (1 cup total)
Prep Time:  10 minutes Cook Time:  2 minutes

Vegetable Spice Paste

Spunky, spicy, and rich with savory flavors, this paste brings the flavors of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to your kitchen. The preserved soybean paste makes our version a nice vegan option. It tastes great and is bursting with flavor.


6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

4 shallots, roughly chopped

2 large red chiles, seeded and chopped

2 small bird’s-eye chilies

1 piece fresh galangal or ginger, about 5 inches long, peeled and roughly chopped

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon fermented soybean paste (doenjangsee Kitchen Tips)

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper

½ fresh lemongrass stalk, bruised


  1. Process the garlic, shallots, chilies, galangal, turmeric, soybean paste and coriander in a food processor until a paste forms.
  2. Heat the oil in a small skillet set over moderate heat. Add the paste, lemongrass, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Discard the lemongrass. The spice paste will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Soybean paste is a common ingredient in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar as well as Korea and China. It may be found at Asian markets or online. If you have a gluten sensitivity, please be sure to read the labels thoroughly.
  2. Let the paste sit on vegetables for 30 to 45 minutes before grilling.

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