Home Food and Recipes Kulnenek, The Indonesian Escargot

Kulnenek, The Indonesian Escargot

I believe everyone knows what an escargot is, a France exotic delicacy that is also known to be an aphrodisiac. Some people say it taste like chicken with a clam texture, a little chewy and a slimy sensation that leaves a sensual feeling on your tongue.

In Indonesia we have a similar dish. The difference is we are having water snails. In Indonesia, water snails has various names such as kulnenek, kol nenek, tutut, kreco, but commonly it is also known as keong sawah or siput. You can find water snails in rice fields, rivers, lakes, or any other calm body of freshwater. It is only 40 mm long with 15—25mm diameter with greenish brown shell colour. Even it is small, water snails are packed with nutrition. Water snails is a great protein source, low on fat, also high on vitamin A, vitamin E, and folic acid. Some urban legend says that water snails also have medical benefits from healing skin infections up to relieving haemorrhoid pain.

There are many kind of dishes that you can make from water snails, from just simply boil it and enjoy them with tomato or chili sauce, sauté them, or braise them with any kind of spices. Here is my favourite recipe for cooking water snail.

First, you need 300 gram of water snails. Wash and scrub them several times until they are clean. Crash the tip of the water snails for faster cooking and to ease you when you eat them. Put 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, one stick of lemongrass, and the water snails into 500 ml boiling water. Cook them until the water snails are softened. Then drain them and put them aside for a while. Heat the pan to medium heat then add some oil. Add 2 tablespoons of minced shallot and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and cook until tender. Add the water snails along with the water. Braise with small fire. Add salt, sugar, and chili according to your desire. Cook until the water is reduced to half.

There are some tips you need to know to enjoy the chewy slimy head and some creamy soft spot at the end of the water snails:

– Use your fingers. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty to eat them because they are so small, it will be hard if you try to eat them with any utensil.
– Suck them out. Okay, it might sound kinky, but it is the most fun way to eat them. Suck the tip out of their shell.
– Flick it till you get it. It is the least fun way to eat them. Sometimes water snails can be so stubborn and won’t leave their shell no matter how you suck them. You will need toothpick to flick and pick them out.

Still hungry? Then lets go and try some!


/// Written by Desthi Amalia Nur, Indonesia