Kerabu Timun (Spicy Cucumber Salad) – a spicy and tangy cucumber, onion, and dried shrimp salad tossed with sambal belacan and lime juice.
Kerabu Timun (Spicy Cucumber Salad) is a spicy and tangy Malaysian cucumber salad. It is usually eaten during a meal with steamed rice like a side dish or a palate cleanser. This particular concoction is a favorite among the Malays and Nyonyas.
The Malaysian kerabu usually starts with raw or blanched vegetables. Others use mangoes, pineapple, and jackfruit for a sweet and tangy combination. The dressing is usually spicy and tangy but may include a little coconut milk to give it a creamy flavor.
The Spicy Element in Kerabu Timun
The spicy ingredient in this salad is Sambal Belacan, a popular chili condiment made with chilies, shrimp paste, and lime juice. Malaysians of all races love this condiment and it is a must-have for those with a spicy palate. They eat sambal belacan during meal times with just about everything and use it as an ingredient in many dishes.
The binder for this tasty salad is dried shrimp. Pounding it releases flavor and provides texture to this tasty salad. It is packed with concentrated umami flavor and so a little goes a long way. You can buy dried shrimp in the refrigerated section of most Asian grocery stores. They are usually packed in little plastic bags or containers.
Preparing The Dried Shrimp
For this recipe, simply rinse and drain the dried shrimp. Then, soak it in hot boiling water. Alternatively, you can also boil it for a few minutes if preferred. This softens the dried shrimp enough for you to pound it into a sort of “paste”. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can also give the soften dried shrimp a coarse chop with your knife.
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Kerabu Timun (Spicy Cucumber Salad)
- ¼ cup dried shrimp (rinsed and drained) (25g)
- 1 large cucumber
- 1¼ tsp salt (divided)
- 3 shallots (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 1 tbsp
- ½ lime
- 1 tsp sugar
- Soak dried shrimp in hot boiling water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil the dried shrimp for 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a stone mortar.
- Pound with a pestle until the shrimp are all smashed. Dried shrimp can also be coarsely chopped on the cutting board. Set aside.
- Peel cucumber with a vegetable peeler. Cut into quarters lengthwise. Cut off the entire strip of seeds.
- Then cut cucumber strips at a diagonal into ¼ inch thick slices.
- Mix cucumber with 1 tsp salt in a bowl for 20 minutes to draw out the juices. Rinse and drain.
- Place cucumber, shallots, and prepared dried shrimp in a large bowl.
- Add sambal belacan and squeeze lime juice over the top.
- Add remaining ¼ tsp salt and sugar.
- Toss to get everything well mix.
- Transfer to a smaller bowl and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Kerabu Timun is best served with steamed rice. Be sure to cook extra rice for seconds as this appetizing salad is sure to whet your appetite. Do give it a try.
NOTE: The original publication of this post was on January 30th, 2015. This republication comes with minor changes to the writeup. The recipe remains unchanged.