A unique Malaysian salad that is vegan, nut-free, night-shade free, gluten-free and grain-free. Made with just 6 ingredients including cooling cucumbers and sweet tropical pineapples, this salad is exciting. Ready to try this pineapple salad?
If you are travelling to Malaysia and you have an invite to the banana leaf meal, don’t miss the opportunity. Unlike the South Indian banana leaf sadhya, this meal is a unique experience. There is a confluence of food styles in that banana leaf meal is what makes it a stand-alone. It is not really an Indian meal, rather it puts together a collection of Asian influences. The Pineapple salad that is usually served for this meal is what we have made today. Thankfully we have had multiple opportunities to sample this pineapple salad. The ones we had in Kuala Lumpur while visiting the Batu Caves had crushed lemongrass added to them, whereas the ones in Penang are like the recipe below. At times, you will find a bit of soy sauce replacing the salt in this recipe. The end result is spicy and salty with the sweetness of pineapples.
Let’s gather the ingredients
Pineapple – The juicy fresh pineapple is what we need for this salad. I have used a Queensland variety that is commonly available here. Canned pineapples will not be suitable for this recipe, as they will e soft and not have the bit of freshness that this salad needs.
Cucumbers – Asian or Lebanese cucumbers work perfectly in this recipe. the cooling cucumbers are needed to add the crunch and cut the heat of the bird’s eye chilli that you add.
Onion- the sliced red onions soaked in ice-cold water adds a ton of flavour to this Malaysian salad. There is not much of a swap that I can offer for the red onions in this pineapple salad.
Herbs – the predominant herb in this salad is fresh mint. Most Asian salads use the common mint. the sharper, Vietnamese mint is not a favourable choice here.
Chilli – the heat for the salad comes from Bird’s eye chillies. These strong spicy chillies can be deseeded if you are not a fan of the heat. Let me forewarn you, the salad is on the spicier side if you want to keep it authentic. If you cant tolerate the heat, add some sliced nonspicy bullhorn peppers or banana peppers. they add a spicy smell without the heat.
Dressing- the dressing for this pineapple salad is very very simple. The juice of lime mixed with some soy sauce is all you need. If you don’t have soy sauce or are allergic use a bit of sea salt. You will miss the characteristic smell but won’t miss much on the taste.
How do the flavours come together in this Malaysian salad?
The salad is truly unique in flavour and the fact that each ingredient though individually opposing in taste actually complements each other. The sweetness of the pineapple is enhanced by the lime in the dressing. The spicy kick from the chilli gets cooled instantly if you munch on the cucumbers. The cucumbers being bland actually highlight the pineapples. The onions that are soaked in lime are crunchy adding to the bite. Overall a must try Malaysian salad or “kerabu”. the nearest dish you can think of while eating this salad is pineapple salsa.
Malaysian Pineapple salad
- 1 Cutting board
- 1 mixing bowls and spoons.
- 1 cup cucumber Sliced
- 1 cup Pineapple diced
- 1-2 bird's eye chilli
For the crunchy onion
- 2 cups icecold water
- 1 small red onion Sliced thin
- 1 small lime extract the juice
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp brown sugar optional
I have not used in this recipe.
- Into a small mixing bowl add the soy sauce and the juice of 1 lime.
- Whisk together and set aside.
- Peel and thinly slice the red onion.
- Add to the ice cold water and leave for 5 minutes.
- Wash and thinly slice the cucumber ( use a mandolin slicer if you like). Add to the mixing bowl.
- Peel and dice the pineapples and add to the mixing bowl
- Now drain the red onion and add them.
- Slice the bird's eye chilli and add to the salad mix.
- Tear up the mint leaves and that as well.
- Now add the salad dressing and toss well.
- Serve immediately.
Storing the Salad for later
If you are planning to make this salad later but need to meal prep, slice the cucumber, dice the pineapples and the other salad ingredients other than the onion. Add them to a bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Place this in the refrigerator till needed. when ready to make, add sliced onions, and the dressing and toss.
Some Malaysian influences on this blog.
Dragon fruit jelly – the good fortune of participating in Chinese new year customs comes from our life in Penang. It is here That I knew jelly mooncakes were a thing. The dragon fruit agar-based jelly recipe is based on this idea.
Tomato sup bihun – My school canteen for my Children served a tomato sour recipe with rice noodles. Since we were all fond of it, here is my version made when we were leaving Malaysia.
Dragon eye longan tea – the Tropical heat was very evident during travels in Malaysia. Thankfully there were plenty of cold teas and fruit-based drinks. Here is a fun one with longan and oolong tea.
Once you are addicted to this pineapple salad, blame me!! I love the salad with fried rice or just on its own. If you like these recipes or our travel post, don’t forget to let us know. Here are the links to our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. More than anything, subscribe to this blog newsletter so we can update you regularly (not every day!). If you haven’t had a chance to visit our youtube channel, try this little snippet.
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