The Rojak is Malaysia’s sweetheart meal. It is also the emblem dish of Penang, often referred to as Pasembur there. Contrary to common misconception, this delicacy is not only eaten with buah (fruit) as a sweet and crunchy snack, but can also as a meal with the addition of noodles.
Due to its simple concept, several versions of this dish exist. Some of the common variations we are more familiar with includes the Indian Rojak and the Penang Rojak. The first version can be spotted easily in local Mamak stores characterised by its topping of tofu and potato; the latter is more commonly found in the streets of Penang, where it is served with its distinctive dark sauce—har koh.
Origin of Rojak
This dish, in the Malay language, is defined as a mixture because that’s exactly what this dish is. It’s a jumble of different cuts of root vegetables, fruits and sometimes noodles. Although the exact origin of the this snack is unclear, history suggests it is a dish from the Malay Archipelago. In the past, the Malays used to dip unripe tropical fruits like mangoes (a key ingredient of this dish) into palm sugar to balance out the acidity. Pretty soon, dipping fruits and vegetables into sauces became the new norm. Hence, the creation of this local dish.
Besides that, among the Javanese, this dish holds a special significance as it is an essential part of the traditional prenatal ceremony—tujuh bulanan. During the ceremony, this dish is served with the wish of a smooth and safe labour for the mother-to-be.
Rojak Recipe: How to Make Authentic Rojak at HomeDifficulty: Easy
200g jicama (finely sliced)
200g cucumber (finely sliced)
1 unripe mango (cubed)
150g beansprouts (blanched and set aside)
5 yellow tofu
2 small potatoes (boiled and cubed)
2 hardboiled eggs
- Coconut fritters:
½ cup rice flour
½ cup wheat flour
½ cup fresh coconut (grated)
1 small onion (finely sliced)
½ tsp. bicarbonate soda
- Rojak sauce:
500g sweet potato. (peeled, boiled and mashed)
125g dried prawns
100g peanuts (roasted)
10-15 dried chillies (fried)
3 cloves garlic
2 onions (fried until translucent)
- First, mix all the ingredients for the fritters in a bowl. Then, get a wok ready for deep frying. On high heat, drop one spoonful of the fritter batter into the oil and fry until golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is used.
- Next, prepare the sauce. Fry the dried prawns in oil and set aside. Add this to the mashed sweet potatoes. Mix well. Next, blend the dried chilli, garlic and onion into a smooth paste and add to the sweet potatoes. Add salt if necessary. Set aside.
- In another bowl, add in all the ingredients for the rojak except the eggs. Pour the sauce over the rojak and toss well.
- Lastly, add the fritters and gently stir. Top with the sliced boiled eggs. Serve.
Ways to enjoy Rojak
While this dish is great in its own, you could amp things up by adding yellow noodles. They make the meal more substantial and perfect for sharing.
For a sweeter dish, add a ripe mango, an apple and a few slices of pickled papaya!
Explore other popular Malaysian delights with Lokataste Recipe and more!