The mamak culture and cuisine is very authentically Malaysian and comprises of food establishments in restaurants, roadside vendors and stalls which are sometimes tucked in the most outrageous places yet still manage to gain a following of loyal patrons. If there’s one thing you can count on in a mamak stall is it being open for late night or early morning supper at 3 or 4 in the morning.
What I love about this salad aside from the authentic peanut sauce is the combination of juicy cool cucumbers, crisp tofu and prawn fritters and spongy hard boiled eggs. There are so many textures in this salad, the term rojak is not limited merely to its list of ingredients.
The prawn fritters are traditionally made with whole shrimp to emphasize the crispiness of the shell, tail and head once it is deep-fried but I have chosen to do it shelled, with tail and head off to westernize it a little. I also made a change to the cucumber style as well; where it is usually julienned, I chopped them up into cubes instead to use up the cucumber I had left in the fridge. You can opt to stick with the julienne method if you prefer, I just don’t like wasting food.
This dish is a lot of work and preparation but for the industrious and adventurous cook, you will be well rewarded. Making this dish was an achievement for me and I’m sure those familiar with it who are up to the task will feel the same, while those experimenting for the first time will be pleasantly surprised.
Mixed Salad in Peanut Sauce (Rojak Mamak)
- Yield: 4 1x
- 1 large garden cucumber, peeled
- 2 blocks of firm tofu, cubed
- 2 hard boiled eggs, shelled and quartered
- 1 cup medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined with head and tail off
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 3 green chilies, deseeded and chopped
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
Peanut Sauce (makes 3 cups)
- 5 shallots, sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 5 dried chilies, deseeded and soaked in warm water
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 star anise
- 1 green cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel powder
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
- Salt to taste
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. Chop the cucumber into 1″ cubes and refrigerate until ready to serve
- Flash fry the tofu in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside
- To make the prawn fritters, combine flour, baking powder, turmeric powder, sugar and salt
- Beat the eggs with the shallots, green chilies and water and combine with the flour mixture, mixing into a thick batter
- In the same oil used for the tofu, ladle in one serving spoon of batter with a shrimp placed on top of it
- Deep-fry until golden brown and turn over to cook the the shrimp facing side. Repeat with the rest and drain on paper towels, allowing them to cool down
- Cut the shrimp fritters into quarters and set aside
- To make the peanut sauce, blend the shallots, garlic, ginger, chilies, lemongrass, coriander and fennel into a spice paste
- Over medium high heat in a nonstick pan, saute the spice paste until fragrant, about 3 minutes
- Add sugar, kaffir lime leaves and tamarind juice, stirring to mix
- Pour in coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continuously
- Toss in cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, star anise and nutmeg and stir to combine
- Add in the ground peanuts, season with salt and mix well. Simmer until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency
- Remove from heat and set aside. Once cool, fish out the aromatics and discard
- Arrange the cucumber, eggs, fried tofu and prawn fritters on a plate
- Pour the peanut sauce over it and serve hot.
Choose a healthier salad by omitting the prawn fritters and eating the tofu fresh or ‘raw’ .
You can add fresh bean sprouts to the salad for more crunch
The peanut sauce will thicken upon standing once it is removed from the heat
Comments & Reviews
This salad looks amazing!
How long does the dressing last in the fridge?
The Cooking Jar says
I’m not 100% sure but it could last in the fridge about a week or so. Freeze it instead and it can last for months though! The only thing you need to worry about it the coconut milk going bad.
kumars kitchen says
WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE IN THIS DELICIOUS SALAD….SERIOUSLY TEMPTING 🙂