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Food Guide: Indian Rojak – What on earth is this colourful dish?!?!

Food Guide: Indian Rojak – What on earth is this colourful dish?!?!

I have been doing food reviews occasionally on my blog and have focused on specific stalls or shops selling certain types of food. These reviews have been more evaluative in nature as to the overall quality and value of the food on offer. This time around, I am deviating away from a review per se and doing more of a food guide introducing to my foreign readers a dish that they may not have heard about and may accidentally miss out on when in Singapore or Malaysia.

The Indian Rojak

This dish is the Indian Rojak (or less commonly known, in Singapore at least, Mamak rojak). The word “Rojak” means “mix”.

Most guide books would have recommended the Chinese variant which is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore that is coated with sweet fermented shrimp paste and powdered peanuts.

However, such guides may leave out its equally tasty (if not, even tastier) sister dish, the Indian Rojak. Unlike the fruit and vegetable Rojak, the Indian version does not use any shrimp paste and also does not revolve around fruits and vegetables. You can say that the Chinese variant can be an appetiser and the Indian Variant a main.

So, what is Indian Rojak? Well, it looks something like this:

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Indian Rojak, as a dish, is something that can fill your stomach at any time of the day. It can be a meal by itself, a dish for sharing if in a group or as a heavier afternoon tea snack or supper.

How to order Indian Rojak

Unlike other hawker dishes in Singapore, Indian Rojak is not something you will typically order by saying “Uncle, I want one portion of Indian Rojak” or “Uncle, I want $[insert amount] of Indian Rojak”.

If you are in the know, you will pick up a plate and a pair of tongs by the counter and help yourself to items you would like to have. The prices are generally affordable (the huge plate I had only cost me SG$4 or US$3):

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The food variety differs from stall to stall. There are however certain classics such as the prawn fritters, tofu, hardboiled egg and some kind of battered vegetables fritters.

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Prawn Fritters

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Battered vegetables fritters

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Tempeh – Fermented soy beans 

The items you chose will be fried until they are hot and crispy before being cut up into bite size pieces. When I ordered my Rojak, I could hear that heavenly and beautiful crunch as the cleaver cut into those crispy bits (Food Nirvana!). These pieces will then be served on a plate with chunks of cucumber, onions and fresh green chillies and an accompanying bowl of mouth-watering gravy (just thinking of this makes me hungry). Yummmmy!

The gravy is the highlight of the dish and complements the crispy bits with its mix of flavours: sweet, savoury and mildly spicy. Simply amazing! So, dip those bite size pieces into the red goodness and make sure you give them a good coat of that yummy goodness.

Where to get Indian Rojak

As this is not a food review per se, I am not recommending or evaluating any particular stall. However, there are good Indian Rojak stalls found at Tekka Market in Little India and you can always incorporate them into your itinerary when you visit Little India.

For those interested in the Rojak that I had, I got it at Maxwell Food Centre for dinner after work. If you are there to try out Tian Tian Chicken Rice, why not get yourself some Indian Rojak as well?

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