Mango Salad Appetizer or Kerabu Mangga (酸辣芒果开胃菜)



Kerabu basically means salad in Malay.. Some fruits, vegetables or meats are mixed with a concoction of herbs and spices, tossed and served as an appetizer or salad.. It is very appetizing well liked by many families..


Though this is a dish that is  more common with the Malay and Peranakan families, my late mum who hailed from China also prepared this dish occasionally at home. The more common fruits or vegetables that we used were pineapple, cucumber, jicama, buah kedongdong and etc. and I had always looked forward to her preparation during hot weather where most people do not have appetite for oily food..


As this is a common dish, I believed every family will have their own style of Kerabu and what I am sharing is my own recipe, based on the Kerabu Mangga (Mango Salad) that I have tasted in Malacca recently.  I am really impressed by the one that the restaurant had prepared.. It definitely suit my taste bud..


If this set of illustration pictures looked different from the Mango salad that you have tried in the restaurant, probably it is because of the usage of ripe mango instead of the unripe mango.. There are two reasons that I have decided to use the ripe mango. One is because it is very sweet and less sugar need to be added.. Another reason is the price.. It is rather ridiculous that 3 unripe smaller mangos is only less than a dollar difference as compared to the 3 ripe big mangos…. I felt that it is not logical if I buy the “baby mango” that can be overly sour as compare to the sweet mango. Of course the disadvantage is that you cannot cut the mango into very fine stripes if ripe mango is used.. Well, I will leave it for the readers to decide your choice..


To appreciate this dish, readers must also appreciate the aroma and texture of uncooked herbs such as shallots etc..If you can’t take raw onion, this dish is not for you.. But having said that, you can always reduce the amount of the ingredients that you do not like.. Recipe is very flexible and this is very basic  and I can guarantee that in my next preparation, I will opt out certain herbs if it is not readily available in my refrigerator..  I may add dried shrimps or shrimp paste if I have stocks at home. But what i think crucial to the basic taste of kerabu is “Lime or kalamansi, shallots, chilli, sugar and a bit of salt or fish sauce”. All others can be optional depending on individual preference..



Servings: About 3-4 Adult servings


  • 2 medium size mango of your choice
  • 2-3 shallots
  • 5-6 kalamansi or 2-3 limes , squeezed into juices
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 3-4 chilli padi
  • 2 sprigs of coriander leaves (optional)
  • 10-15 pieces of daum kesom (laksa leaves)
  • 3-4 pieces of kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of grounded peanuts
  • 1-2 teaspoons of fish sauce

Note: Most quantities listed are for your reference. Kerabu cannot have an exact recipe and it depends very much on your personal reference of the herbs and spiciness.



PicMonkey Collage1

  • Julienned the shallots, chilli padi, daun kesom, kaffir lime leaves, coriander leaves into small pieces. Set aside.

  • Skinned the mango, Use the peeler to slice the mango as thinly as possible. Use a knife to cut it as thin as possible. Transfer the cut mango into a serving bowl, add all the chopped herbs above, add the sugar and fish sauce. Toss it lightly and sprinkle sparingly with the grounded peanuts. Best served chilled as an appetizer in a full course meal.



The dish is a good appetiser and I especially like it when the weather is hot.. For me, a good kerabu shall be slightly sweet, sour and spicy.. Feel free to reduce or increase the herbs and change the mango to other types of vegetables or fruits you like.. How about unripe papaya? You can even added some cooked belachan, chincalok or dried shrimps. What differentiate your household recipe with others is based on your unique concoction of herbs.. Lastly, as I did not check the Thai mango salad recipe, I am unsure if this recipe is the same as their Thai counterpart.. I believed it should be rather close.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.