Kerabu Bronok: An Exotic Seafood Salad from Langkawi Island
Kerabu Bronok is a must-try seafood salad dish that is commonly found in Langkawi Island, particularly known for its main ingredient, the unusual sea marine life called Bronok or Beronok. The Bronok, scientifically known as Acaudina Molpadioides, is similar to a sea cucumber and can be found in the muddy beaches and seabeds of Langkawi. The Bronok comes in either a dark chocolate colour when mature or a pinkish colour when young. When sliced and mixed with shredded vegetables, it becomes an exotic and exquisite salad that is rarely found outside of Langkawi.
What makes Kerabu Bronok unique is that it is eaten raw and not cooked. When exposed to too much sunlight or cooked, the Bronok will melt away and turn into a salty liquid similar to saltwater. Those who have tried the dish describe raw Bronok as salty, springy, and both soft and crunchy in texture. However, due to its appearance resembling a giant leech, some people may find it challenging to stomach the salad once they see its original form. Because of its shape, Bronok is also known as “sea potato” and is considered a nutritious food rich in collagen. It is also dried and used in traditional Chinese medicine.
To prepare Bronok for the salad, the head and tail sections are cut off to drain their content, which mostly consists of mud, sand, and seawater. The Bronok is then sliced into thin strips and rinsed to remove any remaining muddy water. The Bronok slices are mixed with various ingredients and spices such as chilli, young mangoes, tamarind, red onions, kerisik (fried grated coconut flesh), galangal, coconut condiments, and sambal. Other ingredients like lemongrass, lime juice, tamarind, and belacan (shrimp paste) are also used in the salad. The preparation of Kerabu Bronok allows for creativity, and there are no set rules or ingredients for making it.
Once all the ingredients are well mixed, the Kerabu Bronok salad is ready to be enjoyed, typically accompanied by white rice, fried rice, or other dishes. It offers a unique combination of flavours and textures, highlighting the distinct qualities of the Bronok as a local delicacy from Langkawi.