Rojak (Malaysian and Singaporean spelling) or Rujak (Indonesian spelling) is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. There are non vegetarian salads too, like in this recipe. The term “Rojak” means a “mix”. It is also used as a colloquial expression for an eclectic mix, in particular as a word describing the multi-ethnic character of Malaysian and Singaporean society.
Thanks Wiki Uncle!
There are quite a number of Rojak available. Indian Rojak, Rojak Bandung and Rojak Buah, just to name a few. Rojak is SUPER popular in many parts of Asia. Most of us can relate to this spicy dish as most of us Asians just love our spice! Of all the different types of rojak available, Indian rojak and rojak Bandung are my absolute favorites.
My mom is a huge fan of Rojak Bandung and she has been mentioning “Rojak bandung” a tad too often lately. Yes mom, I got your hint. I had to make Rojak Bandung on her birthday and I think I made her very happy 🙂 I am not sure of the origins of Rojak Bandung. Bandung is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia and I think it would make sense to assume that this dish hail back from Indonesia?
This Rojak Bandung recipe is pretty straight forward. The only tricky bit is to find the right balance in all the flavors. The gravy needs to have a good balance of heat, sweetness and sour. The heat coming from the chili, sweetness from the sugar and the tang from the ketchup and tamarind paste.
Rojak bandung is basically made from fresh squid, water convolvulus (kangkong), slices of cucumber, tofu and a sauce that is made from chilli paste, ketchup, sugar, garlic and petis (made of shrimp paste). It is then topped with toasted sesame seeds and roasted chopped peanuts. You can opt to use fresh tofu that has to be fried or those ready-made fried puffed tofu that just need to be reheated. Personally, I like to use a mix of both the tofu to get the different texture in the salad.
You can actually add a handful of other ingredients to give it some variety. A favorite of my family would be rice vermicelli (bee hoon) If you have not try eating Rojak Bandung with rice vermicelli, it is high time that you give it a try!
Ramadan is fast approaching, in 8 days to be exact, and this is one of those kinda dish that is perfect for Ramadan as it really whets your appetite after not eating for about 14 hours. (Duration of fast differs according to countries). For those of you who are not sure as to what Ramadan is, it is a holy month for Muslims where we observe a strict fast and participate in pious activities such as trying to give more to charity, bonding with the family and reciting the holy book throughout the nights. This is also a busy period for most of us as we start to spring clean the house to usher in Eid. You might want to read a Ramadan Article that I wrote last year.
This rojak bandung recipe might not be the simplest of recipe but this dish definitely pleases the crowd. Rojak Bandung is HUGE in flavors and every ingredient compliment each other really well. Do not forget to top it with a good amount of roasted chopped peanuts as this actually accentuates the taste of this dish with it’s added crunch. All the ingredients used in this dish can be found at Asian grocers.
Do give the recipe a try people!
- 15 dried chilies - de-seeded and soaked in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 900 ml water
- 1 bottle tomato ketchup
- 60g palm sugar (If not available, substitute with brown sugar)
- 50g tamarind paste
- 5 tbsp shrimp paste
- 1 cup peanuts - Roasted and chopped/grind coarsely
- ¼ cup sesame seeds - Roasted
- ½ tsp Salt
- 500g Squid - cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 bunch of water convolvulus (Kangkong) - cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 Tofu puffs or 2 fresh tofu
- 1 Cucumber
- Mix the tamarind paste in ½ cup of water. Mix well, squeeze and strain it into a bowl.
- Heat oil and fry blended ingredients for 10 minutes
- Add tomato ketchup, shrimp paste, sugar, salt and tamarind juice.
- Cook the sauce for about 15 minutes till it thickens.
- Add half of the chopped peanuts and sesame seeds.
- Cook the squid in a pot of salted boiling water till soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain.
- Discard the water and boil a fresh pot of water. Blanch the water convolvulus for 30 seconds to 1 minute and strain using a colander.
- Place the tofu puffs in a hot oven or a frying pan for a few minutes to crisp up.
- If you are using fresh tofu, cut the tofu into cubes and shallow fry in a frying pan till golden.
- Slice the cucumbers.
- Add the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and top with a good serving of sauce. Scattered with the remaining chopped peanuts and sesame seeds.