Kerabu is an umbrella term in Malay denoting a vibrant salad of vegetables and herbs, dressed with a fiery sambal, shrimp paste and lime to bring everything together. 




Skill level

Average: 2.6 (4 votes)

The dressing is spicy, sharp and smells wonderful from all of the herbs. It is a good a way to use up both raw and cooked leftover ingredients. ... Feel free to experiment with different main ingredients while keeping the powerful dressing the same! Just replace the shrimp paste with salt to make it vegan.


  • 1 cucumber
  • 200 g fresh pineapple, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 150 g red onion, finely sliced
  • 80 g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 40 g laksa leaves, roughly chopped


  • 3 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 makrut lime leaves, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
  • 20 g (2 tsp) shrimp paste, dry-toasted
  • 40 ml lime juice (juice of approximately 2 limes)
  • 2 tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • ½ tsp tamarind paste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time: 15 minutes

  1. Cut the cucumbers in half straight through the middle, and then in half again lengthways. Use a spoon to deseed them, then cut into 1cm chunks.
  2. Mix the cucumber, pineapple, red onion and herbs together.
  3. Combine the dressing ingredients.
  4. Pour the dressing over the prepared salad at least 15 minutes (but no longer than 30 minutes) before serving. Stir to combine. Season with a touch more salt to taste if necessary.


This is an edited extract from Sambal Shiok: The Malaysian Cookbook by Mandy Yin, published by Quadrille, RRP $49.99, available in stores nationally.