Rojak is a traditional dish eaten in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It consists of fruit and vegetables and is generally considered to be a salad dish. The term rojak denotes mixture in the Malayan language. The Indonesians know the dish as rujak. Although it is recognized as an appetizer or a side dish, it can be served as the main dish as well. The Javanese people serve rojak as an essential item during the pre natal ceremonies where it is consumed by the mother to be and her female companions. The sweet and spicy flavor of the fruit based dish is much adored by the people residing in the Far East. The traditional rojak recipe also requires the fruits to be sliced thinly whereas the Indonesian version shreds them thickly with the Pomelo or the pink grapes being one of the principal ingredients of the rojak. The Mangarabar or the rojak making ceremony is held after the harvesting season in the Batak Mandailing region of Indonesia where all the inmates of the village join in preparing the dish which is then shared by the entire population of the village.
History Of The Rojak Recipe
The origin of the rojak recipe remains unknown and the variety of dishes known as the rojak throughout the Far East differs considerably from each other. The Indian rojak is yet another dish that shares the name while having absolutely nothing in common with the salad eaten in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Ingredients And The Popular Rojak Recipe
The most popular rojak recipe requires an equal amount of pineapple chunks, yam beans and cucumber chopped into bite sized pieces. Bean curd puffs, red ginger plant buds and roasted peanuts for the garnishing serve as the main ingredients of this salad dish. A sauce prepared from prawn paste, lime, chilies and sugar is often mixed along with the rojak. The rojak is one of the easiest dishes to prepare as the ingredients are simply tossed along with the sauce and garnished with ground peanuts before serving. The Chinese dish is deemed to be incomplete without the red ginger plant bud which lends the salad its unique flavor.
Variations Of The Rojak
There are a quite a few variations of the salad dish depending on the region where it is prepared. The primary variations of the rojak are:- • Penang Rojak- This is recipe unique to the Penang region of Malaysia. It makes use of squid fritters, jambu air and guavas and omits the addition of tofu puffs and bean sprouts. The entire dish is laced with honey and includes tart fruits like the green apples and raw mangoes. The sauce for this particular salad dish is very thick in consistency almost akin to that of a toffee.
• Mamak Rojak- Also known as the Pasembok in Penang, this is the traditional dish favored by the Tamil Muslims of India who had migrated to Singapore and Malaysia. It consists of a mixture of potatoes, cucumber, prawn fritters, bean sprouts, hard boiled eggs as well as cuttlefish.
Nutritional Value Of Rojak
The fruit rojak is much healthier than the Indian rojak which is particularly high in fats and carbohydrates that add up to the total calorie count.
The term rojak also signifies the multicultural ethnic mix of population inhabiting Singapore and Malaysia.