Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chinese Rojak - A sweet memory with Mum

After so much of rich food from Christmas and New Year celebrations, it is a delight to have something light! ROJAK!

Rojak is just tossed salad of various fruits with belacan (prawn paste) dark sauce.  Different ethnic groups have different versions of "Rojak". The Chinese "Rojak" are mixture of cut up pineapple, cucumbers, guava, unripe papaya, green mangoes, bean sprouts and “youtiao” (dough fritters), and toss them with a sauce made of chilli, tamarind, lime and lime peel, and a prawn paste topped with lots of roasted ground peanuts is my favorite. The Malay version is about the same except that it contains tempeh (a patty made from cooked, fermented soya beans) and tahu goreng (fried bean curd). With Indian rojak, you usually choose which specific ingredients they would like.  These ingredients might include boiled diced potatoes, hard- boiled eggs, fried bean curd, vadai (fried dough with a chilli or prawn embedded in it) and fried squid, all served with a sweet chilli sauce.

Rojak has its origins in Indonesia where it is called ‘rujak’. A popular dish in east Java is rujak cingur which is similar to the Malay version of Singapore rojak except that it has a distinctive ingredient, cartilage from the nose of an ox (cingur). I have not had an Indonesian version of "Rojak" before.


I must share this sweet memory about me and Mum with you. When I was like 5 or 6 years old, we used to go to a place called "Old Town" in our hometown Ipoh to eat this heavenly dish.  We went there at least once a week until we moved to Kuala Lumpur when I was 9 years old but then whenever we return to visit our relatives in Ipoh, we never fail to pop by this rojak stall to have a big plate of it.    


This rojak stall had the most simplest set up. The tables and chairs were made up of wooden palettes. The rojak is truly special. The fruits and sauce were served separately. The sauce was divine and so far I have not tasted any that is even near after the old man passed away.  Everyone in my hometown knew about this rojak stall. People from abroad knew about it too. Yes, it was that famous!  It was also the most expensive rojak in Ipoh but no one complains because it was the best Chinese Rojak ever! 

Large adapted from Singapore Local Favorites:



Ingredients :
100g pineapple (rind removed)
100g yam bean (peeled)
100g green mangoes
100g young papaya
100g cucumber
50g bean curd puffs
50g dough fritters
1 tsp red ginger plant bud (bunga siantan - shredded)
150g roasted peanuts (ground)
50g bean sprouts (scalded)

Sauce:
4 tbsp prawn paste
1.5 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp lime rind
5 tbsp sugar
some fresh chilies (ground finely)

Method :
Cut pineapple, yam bean, cucumber, green mangoes, young papaya, guava, bean curd puffs and dough fritters into pieces. Mix red ginger plant bud,  3/4 of the ground peanuts and all Sauce ingredients in large bowl. Add pineapple, yam bean, cucumber, green mangoes, young papaya, bean curd puffs and bean sprouts. Toss and mix well till ingredients are well-coated with sauce. Transfer to serving dish. Top with dough fritters and remaining ground peanuts and serve.

Red ginger plant bud is one of the "must have" in this Chinese-style rojak.  It adds a heavenly flavor to the dish. This is available at most wet markets.  One tip though, do not be stingy on ground peanuts because it is necessary to make this dish really tasty.

Rojak is a Malay word and what is means it "a mixture" or "a melting pot". It is also a popular salad of all kinds of local fruits unique to Malaysia and Singapore. ENJOY!

58 comments:

  1. This sounds heavenly...I am making this one for sure:)

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  2. man i wish we could find all the ingredients in central ohio. you guys in south east asia are set for all the cool fruits and veggies

    have a great new year

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  3. Hi Quay Po,

    I've actually never had any version of Rojak before! It sounds delicious with all those different fruits. Although I will have to leave out the peanuts as I'm allergic :( I still think it would taste delicious though. I would love to try any version of this. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Love rojak. Always try to have some of it when we go back to Malaysia. But I only ever eat the beancurd puffs, cucumbers and you char kway haha. Your post makes me crave rojak now. Would love to try making my own! Though my rojak would be rather pathetic with only beancurd puffs and cucumber tossed in sauce because we can't buy you char kway here lol.

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  5. David,
    Can you get "belacan" (shrimp paste) at your end?

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  6. Matt,
    You practically can use any kind of crunchy fruits. It is the ingredients for the sauce that I am afraid you might not be able to get in Ohio but I may be wrong.

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  7. This looks delicious! I'm Filipina, and this dish is reminiscent of several Filipino dishes. I'm excited to try it!

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  8. This would not be myfavorite recipe for rojak. I like the Indian version with the mix of different fried Indian "cruellers" and the egg...(gotta have the boiled egg). Both of those Matt can do in Ohio easily. The Indian version of the sauce strikes me as very similar to the peanut sauce used to dress satay. I think he should be able to do that as well. I think we should do a version of the recipe where generally the ingredients are available in the U.S. Shall we?

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  9. That is really mouthwatering looking at the photo. Thanks for sharing this yummy dish. Wishing you and family a Happy & Prosperous 2011..

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  10. I haven't had this for a long time, this brings back memories...!

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  11. What neat flavors. I love the "action" shot!

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  12. That sounds like a wonderful combination of flavors. Never heard of prawn paste, but living in NYC, I'm sure I could find it somewhere! Wishing you and your family a happy new year.

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  13. Swathi,
    This is delicious and refreshing too. Perfect to have after so much meat during the holidays.

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  14. lequan,
    can you get shrimp/prawn paste easily at you end? Have you tried shrimp paste before? I hope you are not allergic to it.

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  15. Don't know about the dish...but I am totally intrigued with it. It looks so delicious.

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  16. Sharon,
    I know it is rather difficult to get all the ingredients at your end but without the char kway, the rojak taste just fine.

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  17. yummychunlet,
    I am glad you will try this recipe.

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  18. Darling,
    I would love to make the Indian rojak but frankly, I do not know how to make those breads assuming I can make the sauce. If I can make good Indian rojak then I do not need to que up for an hour to buy it for you. LOL!

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  19. Treat and Trick,
    Happy New Year to you and your family too. Thanks for your comment.

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  20. Cooking Gallery,
    That is what food can do to us:D

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  21. Jenn,
    Happy New Year to you and your family too. Thanks for dropping by. Hope you can the ingredients and try out the rojak.

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  22. What a delicious melting pot this is! I love how it's full of healthy goodies!

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  23. I can just imagine you and your sweet mom going up to that rojak stall and enjoying a big bowl/plate. What a lovely salad and what a lovely memory. Thank you for sharing...and for all your sweet words on my blog. I feel blessed to know you!

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  24. I've never heard of this dish, but it sounds lovely. It also sounds like a dish you could easily substitute available fruits for your lovely ones that I can't get in my small town. :) I do make trips to a larger grocery where I might be able to find some of the ingredients. Red ginger plant bud is one though that I don't think I've ever seen. I'll just have to investigate further. I hope you have a lovely new year!

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  25. This looks great! You are so right about returning to fruit and veggies after a long time with rich food!

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  26. So nice to meet you. Thank you for stopping by and comenting on my post today! Your Rojak looks wonderful and yes, a delightful welcome after all the heavy holiday foods! I loved the memory you shared about your "mum"!
    Blessings to you and your family and a very happy, "nourished" new year! Lorraine

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  27. This salad looks different and light.Never heard of it before though! Happy New Year!

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  28. That sounds so healthy and delicious! I know exactly what you mean about craving something good for you after all the holiday indulging. I love the memory of you and your Mum! Thank you for sharing! Happy New Year!

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  29. What a lovely story about your mom and the popular rojak stall. I have never heard of rojak but it sounds like a wonderful, light meal! Interesting flavor combinations.

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  30. I am aching for all those fruits - in June maybe - but right now - oranges and apples and bananas. This is the perfect antidote to all the rich holiday hoods. A little spice and whole lot of sweet fruit. Happy New Year! May it bring you and yours all good things.

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  31. Looks good :) If you do come over to Penang, will definitely introduce you to one stall - very special sauce and powder.

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  32. this looks divine, this is 1 of my favorite dish and i never got ard making it! pure laziness i guess haha! great job here Quay Po!

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  33. Love this beautiful, colorful, and healthy dish. Terrific photo of it, as well.
    Wishing you a healthy, prosperous, and Happy New Year!

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  34. is the first time I hear about red ginger. tho we have lots of asian grocery around i don't recall seeing other color than regular ginger. next time i'll ask someone at the customer service, maybe they do have it.
    your dish sounds delicious thou.
    thanks for sharing

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  35. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful Chinese Rojak, I love the sound of this dish.

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  36. I never had Chines Rojak-and I am sorry I haven't! This sounds amazing. I love all the ingredients. Thank you for sharing an amazing recipe:)

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  37. Thanks Faith, hope you will try making it someday. Enjoy.

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  38. Thanks Monet, same here, feel blessed to know you too.

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  39. scrambledhenfruit,
    Thanks for dropping by. Don't worry about the red ginger if you can't find it, it will not alter the taste very much.

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  40. llke,
    Thanks and so nice to see you again.

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  41. Lorraine,
    You are most welcome and thanks for your visit.

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  42. Tanvi,
    So nice of you to pay me a visit and leave your comment. Hope you will be back soon.

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  43. Claudia,
    Is it the season now for oranges, apples and banana at your end?

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  44. Wendy,
    You are welcome. Thanks for comment, I appreciate it.

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  45. Thanks Jeanne,
    Hope you will try this dish someday and let me know how you like it. Hope to see you around soon.

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  46. Thanks ck lam,
    If I go to Penang, I will definitely get in touch with you.

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  47. Thanks J3ss, Elisabeth & Anna and Cake Duchess.

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  48. Green Girl,
    I hope you can find red ginger but I don't think it will alter the taste very much. It is more for fragrance.

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  49. If you have time and not scared of heat, Jelapang has a sideroad stall that sells their famous rojak... it comes in a plate with small bowls of sauce... they also sell "tongsui", ice kacang... etc... sometimes we go there for our light lunch.. :)

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  50. Yummy... I haven't had rojak in ages! :)

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    1. Kenny, there is one very nice mobile rojak store in TDDI.

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  51. This is Chinese? Penang straits Chinese? Not really crazy about this but I used to make...but I would choose not toss everything together - everyone can dip or toss their own. It gets watery after a while if tossed and left to stand.

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    1. Yes, I agree with you. Better let people dip in their own sauce. That is what the famous rojak guy offered in Ipoh.

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  52. quay po,
    i'm wondering if shrimp paste can be substitute??

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