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Asam Keping Asam Gelugor

Updated on August 21, 2011

Buah Gelugor - the origin of asam keping

Asam Keping is a condiment in almost all of my meals since I was born but I wasn't aware of its uniqueness. During one of my work related task, I have to do translation for a local dish recipe called Nasi Dagang. When searching for the English term for Asam Keping, only then I realised there wasn't any. It is still uniquely called asam keping or asam gelugor.

Buah (means Fruit) Gelugor is the origin of asam keping. Gelugor is a tropical tree under the Garcinia species which also include the mangosteen, another fruits popular in Asia. The fruit is soo sour that it cannot be eaten fresh. It is usually sliced thinly, soaked in water and then dried. The dried slices is then used to add sourness and zing to most Malaysian dishes.

Loosly translated, asam keping can be translated directly as sour (asam) slices (keping).

Asam Keping - from the fruit to the condiments

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fresh Gelugor fruits.Sliced evenly to ensure equal drying time in the sun.Soaked to removed excess.WasteFinished products - shriveled brown due to drying under the sun.
Fresh Gelugor fruits.
Fresh Gelugor fruits.
Sliced evenly to ensure equal drying time in the sun.
Sliced evenly to ensure equal drying time in the sun.
Soaked to removed excess.
Soaked to removed excess.
Finished products - shriveled brown due to drying under the sun.
Finished products - shriveled brown due to drying under the sun.

A Song for Asam Keping

This an oldies song that was recently rejuvenated by one of Malaysia's golden voice singer Adibah Amin. The chorus in Bahasa Malaysia:

Ikan di Laut

Asam di Darat

Dalam Periuk Bikin Muafakat .. translated into English:-

Fishes in the Sea

Asam on Land

In the Pot, they will be together..

In a way, it describes a recipe, how we usually cook our fish be it singgang or rebus (boiled), sambal or even assam laksa, fishes and assam do make delicious meal. In wider contact, as Malaysia is a multicultural country and we have different races (Malay, Chinese, Indians etc), we mixed together and live in harmony. Nice anology ain't it?

Malaysian Spices & Cookbook

Asam keping is an essential condiments for famous Asian dishes such as Assam Laksa, Singgang and even simple sardines in tomato sauce.


Medicinal Properties of the Asam Keping

The asam keping demand had now increase mainly due to its cholesterol lowing as well as slimming effects. Pictured, is one of the Malaysian slimming products that uses asam keping as one of its main ingredients. However, I have a simpler recipe for trimming your tummy with asam keping.

Trim Your Tummy with Asam Keping

-Put either one or two slices of asam keping and put it in a glass of hot water..

-Let it stand for several hours until the asam keping has become swollen (hehe.. can't really find the exact word for this as English is my secnd language :D) and the water tempature drop towarm..

- Drink the concotion every morning and nighttime;

- If done regularly, the tummy will become trimmer

* Some Malay ladies after delivering their baby would also consumed it this way as it supposed to shrink the ovaries faster.

** Apparently, some western pharmaceutical companies also used the asam keping under the name brindle berry or malabar berry for fat loss suplements. It is said that the sourness of asam keping - Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) is effective in staving the desire to overeat as well as triggering fat loss or creating of new fat cell in the body.

*** Other uses for this asam keping drinks are to ease rheumatisme, stomach ache as well as lowering chlesterol level and high blood pressure.

Clear Up Acne

- On the first day, mix lime juice with 1 spoon of cooking oil. Before going to sleep, put the mixture on your whole faace. Slight stinging might occur in the beginning.

- On the second day, put a few slices of asam keping and put it in hot water. Let it stand until warm or cooled.

- Wash you face with the mixture and scrub your face with the asam especially those parts with acne scars.

- Let it be for a couple of minute before rinse it off with plain water.

- Done regularly, the face will become smooth and clean.

Ease Toothache

- Take a slice of asam keping and wash it till it become softer and clean.

- Put it in between the affected gum area and inside cheek for 10 - 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

Sooth Sore Throat

- Get a few slices of asam keping and burn it.

- Pound it until it become powdery before mixed with a bit of betelnut water.

- Spead the mixture over the area of the sore throat.

Beautify Fingernails and Foot

- Put 5 - 10 asam keping and fine salt in a basin of warm water. Let it stand for 15 minutes.

- Soak your hands or feets in it for 20 - 30 minutes.

- Try to do this before bedtime regularly.

Preventing Backache

- If you cooked curry with your asam keping, eat the asam keping as well to prevent backache.

Removing Fishy Smell from Seafood

- use only 1 slice of asam keping per kilo of fish.

- can also be used to wash meat/mutton/crabs/mussels

Cleaning Your Gold Jewelry / Silver / Brass

- just put asam jawa in plain water and soak the items to be clean

- the impurities will be separated from the items into the solution

Cleaning Your Pots

- after been used for a while, you might notice that some part inside your pot had become stained / blackened.

- just boil some water (to the level of stained) with some asam keping

- afterwards, scrub the pot clean

Preventing Fishes sticking to Pan while Frying

- Before frying the fish, fry 2 slices of asam keping in the hot oil

- Set the asam keping aside before frying the fish

Curing Mouth Ulcer

- put the washed and soften asam keping in the affected area

From ancient Indian Ayurveda therapy, asam keping is believe to aid indigestion, worm problem, parasite, tumour and bloody diarrhea.

Have to say, even I do not really know most of these tips or "petua". I believe the benefits must be derived from its HCA content. Anyway, I think I'll try the fat loss one :)

Have you tried the Asam Keping?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      So how do i get this assam gelugor to me in Australia Sydney. And do you have contact for Assam Jawa == Malaysian one the light brown with seed and soft

    • ojahyazid profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi agalova! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks loads for visiting this lens :D

    • JackieBlock profile image

      Jackie Block 

      7 years ago from SE Michigan

      This is the first I've heard of these. Thanks for sharing this.


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