Malesialainen Rojak-salaatti (valmistuksessa käytetty itse tehtyä vegaanista kalakastiketta)
Even though the snow has only just disappeared from Helsinki, I am already thinking of summer food. Rojak, is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad found throughout Malaysia. Rojak, can also be translated as ‘mixture’ or ‘eclectic mix’ and is the perfect word for this slightly unusual mixture of sweet pineapple, crispy carrot, refreshing cucumber and crunchy peanuts. Rojak comes in a while variety of regional variations and this is my interpretation of the dish, but the thing that pulls it together is the incredible spicy sweet-sour dressing. Rojak often includes shrimp paste or fish sauce, so I challenged myself to make a vegan alternative, hence my fishless ‘fish’ sauce! The secret ingredient is red dulse seaweed, which adds the salty ‘fishy’ element to the sauce.
For some other great salad ideas check out my Beetroot and Blood Orange Salad , Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad with an Orange and Pomegranate Dressing , Black Rice Superfood Salad with Soy Cashew Dressing and my Panzanella – Italian Bread Salad.
Malaysian Style Rojak Salad – serves 4 – 6 people
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 – 2 tbsp palm sugar, or soft brown sugar
juice of a lime
1 tbsp fishless fishsauce (see below)
1 – 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 medium pineapple, cored, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 cucumber, diced
3 large carrots, julienned
small bunch of Thai basil, chopped
small bunch of coriander, chopped
80 g roasted peanuts, crushed
For the fishless ‘fish’ sauce:
1 tbsp ume plum vinegar
1 tbsp dulse seaweed crumbled/ chopped
1/2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Zest and juice of two limes
1 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
1 tbsp water
First make the fishless ‘fish’ sauce, add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Leave to stand for 10 – 15 minutes allowing the flavours to develop, before sieving and discarding the left over ingredients.
Next make the dressing for the salad, combine the tamarind, 1 tbsp palm sugar, lime juice, and ‘fish’ sauce. Taste and if necessary add a little more sugar. You are looking for the holy grail of asian cookery, the perfect match of salty and sweet.
Add the pineapple, carrots, and cucumber into a large bowl. Add the dressing and the chilli and mix well (use 1 – 2 chillis depending on the level of heat you prefer). Next add half the peanuts and the herbs and lightly mix into the salad.
Transfer into your serving dish and top with the remaining peanuts.
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