Monday, 29 June 2009
Rojak is a mad fruit n veg salad, with a real hot – sweet – sour – salty thing going on. It’s quite unusual and fun to make.
I’ve eaten it in different forms, with the least successful being the one I recently I tried @ C&R café, it was drowned in the sweet soy sauce called kecap manis and had tinned pineapple in the mix…a bit rank tbh (plus their satay was some of the worst I’ve tried), a shame as I’d been recommended that place as “the Tayyabs of Malay food”. Not so according to my visit! Below is the way I like rojak: pretty zingy and full of fresh fruit and veg, with no soy or kecap manis in sight.
In fact i think it's different styles of Rojak depending on where it's from - the sweet soy version is Malaysian, whereas the fruity fresher version comes from Indonesia. So looks like i'm with the islanders on this one (or perhaps i just need to try a good Malay one?).
You could eat it as part of a meal i.e at same time with other dishes (e.g soups, curries etc) as is the way people tend to eat in SE Asia, or as a super healthy light lunch (with some rice or noodles) / starter.
Ingredients (serves 4, roughly):
o A selection of fruit and veg, e.g as…green mango, ripe pineapple, granny smith apple, cucumber, chow chow, daikon….or even blanched sugar snap peas, fennel, carrots etc.
o 3-4 spring onions
o some roasted blanched peanuts – maybe 100g
o A small handful of fresh coriander & / or mint leaves
For the dressing:
o 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
o 2-3 fresh long red chillies
o 4cm piece of fresh ginger
o 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp
o juice of a lime
o 2 tablespoons fish sauce
o 2-3 tablespoons caster sugar
Slice the fruit n veg in to a mixture of odd shapes, but make sure they are all sort of bite sized and quite thin is usual good for the really crunchy ones.
Wrap the shrimp paste in foil and toast in a dry pan on low heat / in 180 oven for about 10 mins.
De seed the chili and peel the ginger, chop them both quite small then pestle and mortar (or blend) them until a rough paste.
Add in the toasted shrimp paste and mash through / wiz bit more. Now mix through the lime juice, tamarind, fish sauce and sugar. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and mix it all nicely to make a dressing. Taste & set aside.
Tear any large herbs leaves roughly, leave the rest whole, finely slice the spring onions on an angle. Mix these with the rest of the salad ingredients, peanuts etc. Finally toss with ½ the dressing and divide between plates / put on a platter, finish by spooning over the rest of the sauce.