Asian Fruit Salad or the Chinese Rojak as it is called in many parts of Asia is very popular in Singapore. 'Rojak' in Malay means mixed and this fruit salad actually is a mix of the Chinese and Malay cuisines of Singapore. Where and how this SoutheastAsian fruit salad originated is still unclear. It comprises of a few types of local fruits like pineapple, jambu (rose apples), starfruit, vegetables like turnip and cucumber and then tossed with a sweet sour spicy prawn paste dressing (ready made vegetarian and non vegetarian pastes are also available). Young green mangoes and green apples are less commonly used in the salad and slivers of ginger flower are added as garnish. I have tasted versions involving beansprouts, kang kong(water spinach) and even fried tofu puffs.
The most important ingredient would be for me for the dough fritters or youtiao as they are called in Chinese. Mainly made up of flour and stretched into long tubes, dough fritters are deep fried (See picture below). Crispy and salty, it absorbs the dressing quite readily. These dough fritters go well with the fruits and the dressing and they can are found in many Singapore food centres.
This Chinese Rojak is different from the Singapore Indian Rojak which comprises of batter-coated deep fried eggs, tofu, prawns and potatoes which are dipped into a spicy peanut dressing. It is served with bite sized cucumbers. onion and sliced green chillies ...that's another one of my favorite local salads.
The Asian Fruit Salad is quite refreshing and light on your tummy. It is served as an appetiser or as a snack mostly. It doesn't last very long so you have to finish as soon as you can - I'm sure that won't be any problem at all.:)
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 cups of cucumber, cut bite sized
2 cups of turnip, sliced into small pieces
2 cups of pineapple, cut bite sized
2 cups of dough fritters, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsps vegetarian Rojak paste (see picture below)
1 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tbsps crushed roasted peanuts
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
A sprig of coriander leaf for garnishing
3-4 small limes, cut into halves
1) Gather the ingredients. Pineapple, turnip, cucumber and youtiao or dough fritters.
2) Toast the fritters till crispy but not burnt.
3) Cut all the fruits, vegetables and dough fritters.
4) Get the sesame seed tamarind paste (Rojak paste), chilli sauce, roasted sesame seeds and roasted peanuts ready. As mentioned above, the usual Rojak paste is loaded with prawn paste but I managed to get a vegetarian version. I got it at a local Chinese vegetarian restaurant near my home in the East of Singapore.
5) Place both the sauces and 1 tbsp of roasted peanuts into a bowl and mix well.
6) Next, add in the cut fruits, vegetables and dough fritters and mix thoroghly.
7) Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, more crushed peanuts and a coriander leaf . Serve with small limes for those who couldn't get enough of the tanginess!
Note : If the Rojak paste is not available where you are, simply combine, water, lime juice, chilli sauce and sugar. You can also substitute lime juice with tamarind water.