Kerabu Pegaga, a Salad Featuring the Next Superfood?

Butterkicap Kerabu Pegaga Pennywort Gotu Kola

Look up Pegaga, also known as Pennywort, Gotu Kola or Brahmi, and you’ll find that it is one powerful herb. From boosting brain function to keeping your skin rejuvenated, this herb should be classified as a superfood. Simply tossed with toasted coconuts and a blend of chillies and belacan (shrimp paste) makes for one delicious Malaysian salad we call Kerabu Pegaga.

A Brain Boosting Beautifying Herb

Being rich in amino and fatty acids, beta carotene and phytonutrients, Pegaga improves circulation and stimulates cell growth. This in turn aids in collagen production, thus keeping your skin looking rejuvenated and your hair and nails strong. Impressive indeed!

Butterkicap Pegaga pennywort centella asiatica
Fresh Pegaga, also known as Gotu Kola, Pennywort or Centella Asiatica

Besides being a beauty booster, Pegaga has been shown to improve memory. A 2012 study found that Pegaga extract had a positive effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity.

On top of all the amazing benefits listed thus far, Pegaga also aids with digestion, helps remove toxins from your body and is an antioxidant! Do you need any more reasons to give this herbal salad a shot?

Easy Fresh Pegaga Salad with Toasted Coconut

Here’s a simple traditional Malaysian recipe for Kerabu Pegaga, a salad made with toasted coconuts and a chilli blend.


  • 250g fresh Pegaga, thick part of stems removed
  • 100g big onion, sliced
  • 100g young coconut, shredded
  • 30g belacan (shrimp paste)
  • 65g red chilli (about 5 chillies)
  • 10g bird’s eye chilli (8 to 9 chillies)
  • 2 tbsp kasturi lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g dry anchovies (optional)


  1. Prepare your fresh Pegaga. Wash the herbs and remove some of the stems.
  2. On a dry pan, toast the grated young coconut until it is light yellow in colour. Remove from the pan and set aside. Note: our preference is to not overly toast the coconut so that we keep the rich (lemak) flavour.
  3. Blend the belacan, big red chillies and bird’s eye chilli, lime juice and salt. Set aside.
  4. If opt to add dry anchovies, simply wash then toast on a pan until they are dry.
  5. Time to put it all together. In a big bowl, toss together the toasted coconut, Pegaga, sliced onions, anchovies (optional) and belacan mixture.
  6. Taste test. You can always add a bit more salt and/or lime juice to suit your preference.
  7. Serve!

Fiddlehead Salads and More

While Kerabu Pegaga is made with fresh uncooked Pegaga, there are many more types of Kerabu made with all types of blanched vegetables or even cooked meat. Kerabu refers to our local ingredients of meat, vegetables or grains, which then are then made into a salad typically tossed together with toasted shredded coconut and belacan (shrimp paste). From Kerabu Pucuk Paku (Fiddlehead Fern) to Kerabu Paru (beef lungs); there are many types of kerabu recipes to try out.

Check in with us on or follow us on our Instagram or Facebook as we try out and post new kerabu recipes. If you have any recipes of your own to share, please do contact us on our social media platforms. We’re a community of foodies just wanting to share our recipes and spread our love for Malaysian food.

Butterkicap Team

We're just a small group of friends who love food, culture and Malaysia. We saw the rise of mediocre food, deteriorating relationships and missed the good old days of Malaysia where food was good, homes were warmer and full of friends and family. So we rolled up our sleeves, and made Butterkicap with the hope that it will bring people and flavors home.

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