Guide to making rojak

rojak

Rojak is a local variant of the fruit salad that is usually served with thick, dark sauce and topped with coarsely ground peanuts. It’s a very popular dish for snacking on and Bintangor rojak is one of the most famous rojak concoctions out there, much like Klang bak kut teh. Keing managed to get hold of the rojak sauce from her trip to Bintangor and we decided to make some rojak at Joyce’s house.

The sixthseal.com Guide to Making Rojak:

You will need:
Cucumbers
Pineapples
Potato cakes
Tofu
Rojak sauce

slice cucumber

Slice some cucumbers into coarse chunks. You can peel the cucumbers beforehand if you don’t like the skin. It is important to slice both ends of a cucumber first and use the ends to rub the cucumber – this somehow attenuates the bitterness of the cucumber through reasons unknown to modern science.

diced cucumbers

The cucumber should be processed to be roughly angular chunks instead of pure circular slices for authenticity. No one slices cucumbers into rojak – slicing cucumbers is better suited to sandwiches and eye masks.

heat oil

The next thing to do is to heat up some oil in a frying pan. This is for the tofu and sweet potato fried in batter (optional).

sweet potato

The sweet potato slices in batter can be bought from your friendly neighborhood kueh vendor for RM 0.30 per piece. This can be fried (basically reheated) later for the rojak.

tofu

The tofu should be fried whole instead of being sliced. This is so the frying process only imparts a certain crunchiness to the tofu while maintaining a soft and sauce absorbing interior when sliced.

cut tofu

Joyce tells me that fried tofu should never be sliced – it flattens the entire thing. The proper method is to cut it using sharp kitchen scissors.

build up

The build up of ingredients should be contained in a large base serving dish for easy tossing and mixing.

pineapple

Next, the pineapples. Now, dealing with pineapples can be a bit of a prickly problem. This is due to the circumference of  “thorns” on a pineapple (which is one of the naturally occurring Fibonacci sequences in the world). The trick is to slice in an oblique direction down the entire length of the pineapple to cut out the “eyes”. The de-thorned pineapple can then be further sliced into appropriate lengths…
(Or you could just do it like us normal folks and get the pre-sliced pineapples)

pineapple chunks

…and then chunks. Pineapple must be present in rojak despite the hassle involved. It’s not rojak if there’s no pineapple in it.

rojak sauce

The essential ingredient in rojak is undoubtedly the rojak sauce. This is acquired from the famous stall in Bintangor and has a thick, gooey consistency. It’s RM 7 for a bottle of the sauce.

ground peanuts

Ground peanuts is an optional but highly recommended ingredient. You can get it pre-ground in hypermarkets and other supermarkets or just do it yourself in a food processor/mill.

add sauce

Heap all the ingredients into the bowl and then add in the rojak sauce to taste. The rojak sauce should completely cover and saturate all the ingredients until it puddles down at the bottom of the bowl.

add peanuts

Sprinkle ground peanuts over it…

mix

…and mix it well. Don’t toss it like a regular fruit salad, the pineapples are fragile and would likely bruise. Just mix it carefully, blending in all the sauce into the ingredients.

meal

We also had Coke chicken, prepared by Joyce earlier in the day. It’s awesomely tender, the meat practically falls off the bone! It tastes great too. Katherine’s mom also cooked some curry chicken, and she brought a pot of it over and made it into a meal.

rojak done

Here’s a closer look at the finished rojak.

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25 thoughts on “Guide to making rojak

  1. hmmm, how many version is there actually? i only had 2, one like that, another one malay one… duno which 1 is nicer yet

  2. No offence but I just could not help but comment on the the way she cut the cucumber and the choice of cucumber. Common thats a ‘old’ cucumber and you supposed to leave some skin on and ‘buang’ the seeds.One more thing is you no need to refry the ‘tauhu’ and in tend to have this oily flavour (bau minyak) when you mix it with the rojak sauce.Oh ya wheres the ‘mang kuang’ something missing here.

  3. Hi man, you forgot one (important to me) item to make your rojak tastier. Get some lime(not too many), slice them into tiny pieces. Mix with your rojak and stir well. Check it out, if it taste different.

  4. clementwpy: Yeah, you’re right, there is a Malay version of it as well. It also tastes very nice. There used to be a stall opposite the Star Cineplex that does good Malay style rojak.
    Choonie: Yeah! I wrote a lot of food posts! I love cooking with friends and buying the ingredients and stuff from specialty import supermarkets, going shopping and picking all the quirky stuff to make into a dish and getting wine to go with it and friends to eat together in a properly equipped kitchen.
    I lost most of the food posts coz the backup of sixthseal.com only goes back to November 2006. Alas…I loved taking photos and writing about them.
    Roland: I remember someone slicing some pears into the rojak, not a traditional ingredient, to make it taste sweeter and juicier. We didn’t have any mang kuang. I don’t like the stuff in my rojak anyway. ;)
    Ah Seng: Coke chicken. Yeah, it’s a very popular dish in Hong Kong. It’s chicken cooked with Coke (the drink, seriously). She used a slow cooker to cook it. It tastes sweetish, from the Coke. I’ll get the recipe off her and perhaps do a post on it. Upcoming projects. :)
    Ying Yang: I didn’t actually organize a press release to say that I’m back, so it’s understandable. ;)
    Thanks for reading, and it’s good to have you back! :)
    sharon: Yeah, it’s fun to prepare food when you have spare time on your hands. :)
    Jeff: I am a little ashamed to admit that I had very little to do with the cooking process, being the official photographer and all. None of the hands were mine. It’s either Joyce, Kathy, Keing or Colin.
    shinyin_jocelyn: Coke chicken is made with Coke (the drink, not the stuff from Colombia). It’s very popular in HK, it’s actually cooked WITH Coke to make it taste the way it does, sweet (due the high sugar content in Coca Cola). I’ll post up a recipe once I organize it. :)
    sylvia: No problem. I don’t have the recipe, Joyce made it. I will get it off her and arrange a time to cook it so you can see the process.
    mocky: Lime?!?! Why? It would taste kinda funny won’t it? I’ll try it though just coz I like to try new things, but it’s not a very traditional ingredient.
    nkwai: All rojak has tofu in it. I haven’t eaten one that doesn’t contain tofu yet. I don’t really like tofu, but it’s one of the major ingredients. Oh well.
    shun2u: Thanks! :) It tasted pretty good too.

  5. I love rojak with dried and crispy yao char koay! HB, i remember started reading your blog since about 2003, then u were gone. glad that u r back now! :D

  6. xin: OMG! I remember you! You’re back! :)
    It’s really, really good to see the old skool readers of sixthseal.com back again. Thanks for reading!

  7. HB: I wonder how do u look the same since years ago :P i still remember those days with the interesting entries, but im also happy that they are the history now, i hope they are :P

  8. “use the ends to rub the cucumber – this somehow attenuates the bitterness of the cucumber through reasons unknown to modern science.”
    yeah dude, i was doing that one time when a friend ask why I did that.. I told her the reason above.. but I can’t explain how by doing it can give such result.. lol!!

  9. pinkpau: What crackers? I’ve never eaten rojak with crackers over here. It would be interesting to mail a batch to you and declare it as non-perishable and see how it turns out on your end. :)
    xin: Hmm…I don’t know. I look pretty much the same now as I do a couple of years back. I’m probably going to overcompensate and age 10 years in six months when I hit 30. :)
    bongkersz: Hey, that would taste even better than tofu. Tofu replacement. :)
    Yeah, I can’t explain the rationale behind doing that too, wikipedia probably has an answer but I’m too lazy to search. Heh!

  10. xin: Oh! Those crackers. It’s called prawn crackers right? With a shrimp inside the kueh? Hmm…it usually doesn’t come like this over here. :)

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