by Wilson Iskandar

In southeast asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore where some of the citizens are of Malay ethnicity, they tend to often eat the same food. Rujak is a type of salad. Rujak in Indonesia as well as Malaysia and Singapore is sold at the side of the street. It is normally sold in pushcarts with white glass on the side as a cover from flies, and thus people can see the various fruits. The tools that are used are knife, cutting boards and plates. In the past, rujak is served using a folded leaf shaped into a cup but today they are either served in a small plastic or plate. To get the best taste, we have to eat it with toothpicks. Rujak is normally eaten during lunch time or after lunch as desert by most Indonesians. There are many kinds of rujak and they all taste different. But I’m only going to talk about the types of rujak that most people like to eat.

fruit rujakFruit Rujak For the Javanese, fruit rujak is essential for them and it is normally eaten during big occasions. For example, the ‘’seventh month’’ of pregnancy where the mother of the baby and her guests are invited to eat rujak on this joyful occasion. There is a saying that most Indonesians believe that if the rujak‘s taste is sweet the baby is going to be a girl, however if it is spicy, they believe the baby is going to be a boy. Fruit rujak consists of various combinations of fruits. Commonly used fruits are traditional Indonesian fruits such as water apple, pineapple, raw mangoes, cucumber, sweet potato, jicama, and kedondong ( Indonesian fruit). Sometimes additional different fruit is added depending on the person’s choice such as pomelo, green apple and belimbing ( Indonesian fruit). The fruits are sliced into small pieces. Rujak is not all about fruits. They have a sauce too. The famous sweet and spicy hot sauce which is made up of water, traditional Javanese sweets , tamarind , ground sautéed peanuts, shrimp paste, salt, tiny chilies and red chili. Once the sauce is ready, it is poured onto the sliced fruits and they are ready to be served.

rujak bebekRujak bebek or also known as rujak tumbuk The ingredients for this type of rujak is the same as fruit rujak. However, they are all mashed together on a wooden mortar that is the fruits and sauce are already mixed together on the wooden mortar so unlike fruit rujak, rujak bebek does not need the sauce to be poured as it is already mashed and mixed together.

Rujak serutRujak serut The ingredients for rujak serut is the same of that fruit rujak. Rujak serut is cut using a device and they are not sliced.

rujak cingurRujak cingur This rujak originated from Surabaya, east Java. Unlike the other rujaks that I mentioned above, this rujak has meat included. This rujak contains buffalo or beef lips, mango, cucumber, pineapple, kangkung, rice cake, tofu, tempe and bangkuang. This rujak is served with different kind of sauce that is black sauce made of shrimp paste and ground peanuts. It is served on a plate and on top of the rujak, traditional Indonesian shrimp crackers and fried shallots to make the rujak smell nice.

rujak juhiRujak Juhi This rujak is also different from the other rujaks. It is served with salted cuttlefish, fried tofu with fish inside, fried boiled potatoes, cucumber, noodle, lettuce, cabbages, peanut sauce, vinegar, chili, and fried garlic.

How to make a typical Rujak
  • 1-14 oz. can pineapple chunks, packed in natural juice - drained - save the juice
  • 1 Tb. tamarind pulp soaked in 1/2 c. the pineapple juice - OR - use 3/4 tsp. tamarind concentrate.
Soak tamarind pulp in juice for about 15 minutes. Squeeze to extract flavor. Strain and discard tamarind seeds and fibers. If using concentrate, dissolve well in juice
  • 3/4 tsp trasi (firm shrimp paste) - roasted
    to roast, wrap piece of trasi in aluminum foil, place in skillet, heat on high fire for a couple minutes, just until you can smell the trasi.
  • 1 tsp. petis (a soft gooey shrimp paste)
You may want to use both types of shrimp paste or only one, depending on availability
  • 6 Tb. brown or palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sambal ulek - or Vietnamese chili paste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste (since trasi and sambal are salted, you may not want any)
  • 1/2 c. roasted peanuts, chopped finely - or substitute 1/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
Mix tamarind, trasi and/or petis, sugar, & chili paste. Add to finely chopped peanuts
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced in matchsticks
  • 1 small jicama, cut in "matchsticks" (called benkoang in Indonesia)
  • 2 tart apples (Granny Smith, for example), cut in matchsticks - (in Indonesia, they'd use kedondong)
  • 1 mango or 2 firm peaches, if mango unavailable - cut in dice
Mix cut-up fruits, including pineapple. Pour sauce over. Toss to blend. If desired, sprinkle with additional roasted, chopped peanuts.

Rujak contains many different kinds of combinations of fruits and some of them contain meat. Eating one plate of fruit rujak should be enough to fulfill the recommended amount of intake of essential vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin C. Apart from that rujak is very cheap. It only costs about $1 a plate.

Picture sources:

Recipe information:

More pages