Rojak – a fruit and vegetable salad from South-east Asia. it doesn’t have completely fruits and vegetables. Some people also add in fried beancurd puffs (tau pok) and fried dough fritters (you tiao). My favorite combination is just plain ole’ Mexican turnip (jicama in this part of the world and benkoang in my hometown) and youtiao. Read more about rojak here.
I grew up only eating the “black” version – rojak with a shrimp sauce, also known as hae kor. Recently, during a cooking session at the school I was consulting for, the teacher made “white” rojak with the kids. White rojak is made using plum sauce instead of the normal black shrimp based sauce. It apparently is “healthier” and is very suitable for vegetarians and people allergic to shrimp.
I brought back a bottle of the rojak sauce (black one) just in case I had a craving for rojak. The hubs is not a fan of the black sauce, nor is he a fan of anything shrimp-y. We recently had a themed potluck with our church small group. We were supposed to bring something from our ethnic heritage. Since most people were bringing meat dishes, we decided to bring rojak – a “veggie” dish. I made both the white and black version since I wasn’t too sure if people would be receptive to the strong shrimp flavours of the black sauce. Surprisingly, many people enjoyed the black rojak more.
To make good rojak you need more than the black shrimp sauce. In Singapore and Malaysia, people also add lime/tamarind juice, ginger flower pieces, etc. Over here in the US, it’s a little hard to find those things. As such, I just mixed the black sauce and a little tamarind juice and tossed the ingredients in it. For the salad, I used jicama, green apple, fresh pineapple, blanched beansprouts, cucumber, toasted beancurd puffs (tau pok) and toasted youtiao. I made the youtiao (fried dough fritters) myself because I couldn’t find them at my local Chinese grocer.
To make the white rojak, just toss the ingredients with the plum sauce. Garnish both types of rojak generously with crushed roasted peanuts.