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Sunday 7 July 2024

Sea Grape Salad (Urap Latoh) Recipe

 Sea grapes, also known as "green caviar," are marine algae scientifically named Caulerpa lentillifera. These small, bead-like structures resemble miniature clusters of grapes, hence the name. Originating from tropical and subtropical regions, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, sea grapes thrive in warm, shallow waters with sandy or muddy bottoms.

Nutritionally, sea grapes are a powerhouse. They are rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Additionally, they contain significant amounts of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, making them a healthy addition to diets. The unique texture and slightly salty taste, reminiscent of the ocean, make them a popular ingredient in various dishes, especially in Japanese and Filipino cuisine.

In culinary applications, sea grapes are often eaten raw to preserve their crunchy texture. They can be served as a salad, garnished with vinegar or lemon juice, or included in sushi and sashimi plates. Their unique appearance also makes them an attractive garnish for seafood dishes.

Beyond their culinary uses, sea grapes have potential health benefits. They are believed to support cardiovascular health, boost the immune system, and aid in digestion. Due to these benefits, they are sometimes referred to as a "superfood" in the health community.

Cultivation of sea grapes is relatively simple, requiring clean water and adequate sunlight. This ease of farming, combined with their nutritional benefits, makes sea grapes a sustainable and valuable crop for coastal communities.

Sea Grape Salad (Urap Latoh) Recipe


For the Salad:

200 grams of sea grapes (latoh), rinsed and drained

1 cup grated young coconut (preferably freshly grated)

2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon tamarind juice

2 tablespoons palm sugar, grated

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup bean sprouts, blanched

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 carrot, julienned

1 red chili, thinly sliced (optional, for garnish)

For the Spice Paste:

5 shallots

3 cloves garlic

3 red chilies (adjust according to spice preference)

2 candlenuts (or substitute with macadamia nuts)

1 teaspoon shrimp paste, toasted

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Prepare the Sea Grapes:

1. Rinse the sea grapes thoroughly under cold water to remove any sand or impurities. Drain well and set aside.

2. Prepare the Spice Paste:

In a blender or mortar and pestle, grind the shallots, garlic, red chilies, and candlenuts into a smooth paste.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the spice paste and sauté until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Add the toasted shrimp paste to the pan and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

Mix the Salad:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated young coconut, tamarind juice, palm sugar, and salt. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the spice paste to the coconut mixture and stir until evenly combined.

3. Gently fold in the blanched bean sprouts, cucumber, carrot, and sliced kaffir lime leaves.

4. Finally, add the rinsed and drained sea grapes to the bowl. Toss everything together gently to ensure the sea grapes are well-coated with the spice and coconut mixture.


Transfer the sea grape salad to a serving platter. Garnish with thinly sliced red chili if desired.

Serve immediately as a side dish or a light main course.


For the best texture, prepare the salad just before serving. Sea grapes can lose their crispness if left to sit for too long.

Adjust the amount of red chili in the spice paste according to your preferred spice level.

Freshly grated coconut is preferred, but if unavailable, you can use unsweetened desiccated coconut and rehydrate it in warm water before use.

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