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 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”


  1. The soup looks very savory! Can't believe how many types of food from Indonesia that I even sometimes haven't tasted it before like this one. Thanks for sharing the recipe Pep 🙂 Have a great weekend too!

  2. Ehehehe, pertama aku binggung mangane yok piye, mosok dicutik'i sitok2 hehehe. Ternyata dislruput lan disedoti hihihihihi…. Nyenengno tapi kok rodok ribet yo mbak Pep lek dibayangno, pirang jam enteke 😀

  3. We were amazed to learn about all the dialects when we visited Bali last October. Thanks so much for sharing this cookbook. It is going on my wish-list!

  4. I didn't know they eat snails too in Bali ;). Snails are something that I am still quite hesitant to try…. The picture looks great though, as usual Pep :)!

  5. @cooking gallery: this snail is different with the one that lives on the tree that we know as [email protected]: For the picture purrpose, it was just my idea to have a traditional look. @LCOM: try to look the freshwater snails at frozen seafood rack at the Asian or Vietnamese markets.

  6. Never really tried snails except the ones cooked in chili sauce I've had in China. Those are really yummy so I'd give this a try given the chance. Looks great, Pepy!

  7. Thats looks really yummy, the only snail dish that I know of is the escargot. Will definitely try this one out!Raymund


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