Spicy herbal salad

A white plate piled high with cucumber and red onion salad, with a meat cleaver in the background

Try this spicy herbal salad, then check out our spicy tomato saladherb and chilli calamari, sea bream ceviche and more starter recipes.

This spicy herbal salad recipe is adapted from Sambal Shiok: The Malaysian Cookbook by Mandy Yin (£25, Quadrille). Mandy says: “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. The dressing is spicy, sharp and smells wonderful from all the herbs.

It is a good a way to use up both raw and cooked left-over ingredients. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients while keeping the powerful dressing the same. Just replace the shrimp paste with salt to make it vegan.”

For more information on this vibrant cuisine, read our guide to Malaysian food.

  • 100
  • Total time 30 minutes
  • Difficulty Easy


  • cucumber 1
  • fresh pineapple 200g, cut into 1cm chunks
  • red onions 150g, finely sliced
  • mint leaves 80g, roughly chopped
  • laksa leaves 40g, roughly chopped
  • red chillies 3, finely chopped
  • makrut lime leaves 3, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
  • shrimp paste 20g, dry-toasted in a pan
  • lime juice 40ml, (about 2 limes)
  • soft light brown sugar 2 tbsp
  • tamarind paste ½ tsp


  • Step 1

    Cut the cucumbers in half straight through the middle, and then in half again lengthways. Use a teaspoon to deseed them, then cut into 1cm chunks.

    Step 2

    Mix together the cucumber, pineapple, red onions and herbs.

    Step 3

    Combine the dressing ingredients. 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 you like.

Nutritional data

  • kcals 122
  • fat 1g
  • carbs 23.7g
  • sugars 20.9g
  • fibre 2.4g
  • protein 3.2g
  • salt 0.3g

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top