Pucuk paku are wild ferns commonly consumed in Malaysia. Once cooked, they are tender and sweet. Paired with lightly toasted coconuts and a bit of chilli, and you have yourself the recipe for an addictive Kerabu Pucuk Paku, a Malaysian salad that is a lovely balance of sweet, spicy and rich flavours in a single bite.
Besides being delicious as a salad, pucuk paku is good for you too.
Pucuk Paku for Health
In Malaysia as well as much of Southeast Asia, Pucuk Paku is not only enjoyed as a delicious salad, it is considered to be medicinal. The ferns have properties that can help with symptoms of cough and diarrhoea. The leaves are also sometimes ground into a paste and applied on the skin to reduce symptoms of fevers, odours, and rashes.
Besides, these ferns are also a good source of iron, making it quite a popular option to serve to new mothers in confinement. The iron in pucuk paku helps promote the production of red blood cells, ensuring good circulation and improves our immune system.
Easy Kerabu Pucuk Paku Recipe
- 100g grated young coconut
- 15g belacan (shrimp paste)
- 40g (3 pieces) big red chillies
- 5g (5 pieces) bird’s eye chillies
- 100g or 1 whole big onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp kasturi lime juice
- 250g pucuk paku (fern sprout), old stems removed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 50g dry anchovies (optional)
- Prepare your pucuk paku. Wash and remove the old stems. You’ll be able to feel if it is old as the stem will be harder.
- On a dry pan, toast the grated young coconut until it is light yellow in colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Blend the belacan, big red chillies and bird’s eye chilli. If it is too dry to blend you can add 2 to 3 tbsp of water. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pucuk paku and leave to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the water and set aside.
- If opt to add dry anchovies, simply wash then toast on a pan until they are dry.
- Time to put it all together. In a big bowl, toss together the pucuk paku, sliced onions, anchovies (optional), 2 tbsp of lime juice, salt, belacan mixture and toasted coconuts. Note: You can always add a bit more salt or a bit more lime juice to suit your taste.
Pennywort Salads and More
While Kerabu Pucuk Paku is made with blanched Pucuk Paku ferns, there are many more types of kerabu made with all types of fresh raw herbs, 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 belecan (shrimp paste). From Kerabu Pegaga (Botu Kola, Pennywort or Centella Asiatica) to Kerabu Paru (beef lungs); there are many types of kerabu recipes to try out.
Check in with us on Butterkicap.com 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.