Kakul Mekuah Recipe (Bali Freshwater Snail Soup)

Bali Spiced Freshwater Snail Soup
Kakul is the Balinese term for freshwater snail. In Indonesian term, it’s known as keong sawah. As you may notice that Indonesia is a country with many dialects, I have known two other names; kreco in Surabayan (East Javanese) and tutut in Sundanese (West Javanese).

This recipe was adapted from the Bali Cookbook by Lonny Gerungan. Lonny is a famous chef in the Netherlands. I bought this book few months ago through amazon.ca. For you who are interested to learn about Balinese cooking and not able to speak Indonesian, this is a perfect guide for you since the book is in English and written by a Balinese native.

Thou I’m an Indonesian native, I still have to learn about other foods from many different ethic groups. I know more about Sumatran and East Javanese cookings since those two are where my ancestors came from.

Lonny has described how he loves this dish. It brings his childhood memories in Bali. As he explained we have to suck the meat out of the shells and when we have done it, nine out of ten, the meat off course will shoot right into our throat. The soup is fun to eat.

Anyway, this spicy soup goes for Masbar October 2010 with a theme “Variety of Balinese Dishes”. The recipe has been slightly changed from the original as I used more freshwater snails than the recipe was stated.

Kakul Mekuah
– Bali Style Frehswater Snail Soup –
serves 4


  • 1 lb (454 g) fresh water snails
  • 2 1/4 tsp tamarind pulp
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1.2 L water seasalt
  • 7 salam (Indonesian bay) leaves

For the spice paste

  • 8 toasted candlenuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp toasted terasi (dried shrimp paste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4.8 oz (135 g) peeled shallots
  • 0.7 oz (20 g) garlics, peeled
  • 9 cayenne peppers (can be substituted for bird eyes chilies), sliced
  • 1.4 oz (40 g or 6-cm long) fresh ginger, peeled 7 cm long fresh turmeric, peeled


To make the spice paste, if you use a mortar and pestle, chop shallot, garlic, ginger and turmeric first.  Then, pound candlenuts, coriander, terasi and peppercorns to a fine paste.  Add shallots, garlic, chilies, ginger and turmeric; pound again to a paste.

Rinse off the snails with cold water and drain them.  Take the white parts of lemongrass, cut into 3-cm long and bruise them with side of a heavy knife.

Heat the oil in a wok and stri fry the spice paste for about 3 minutes.  Add water and season with seasalt.  Add snails, tamarind pulp, lemongrass, and salam leaves.  Simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes.  Serve with warm long grain rice.

If you live in Winnipeg and wonder where to get these freshwater snails, Young’s sells them in the frozen section. On the package, it was saying “rice snails and made in Vietnam”

About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives in Winnipeg, Canada for more than a decade and decided to move a bit west. Edmonton is now where she is based on. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.