Sunday, 25 November 2012

Rujak (Indonesian Fruit Salad with Chilli Dressing)

When I heard about rujak it went immediately on my Indonesian meal plan. It's everything I love about south east Asian food - fresh, brightly coloured and laced with chilli! An admission though - I cheated a bit. I know, I feel terrible. But the thing is, that I just happened to find a jar in my cupboard that had been sitting up the back unopened for a while. It was labelled Sambal Rujak! Great, makes it easier for me AND uses up one of the many jars in my over crowded pantry!

It still feels like cheating though, and I realise that this may be an ingredient not available to a lot of people. So, for those who don't have an Asian grocer nearby, I have included a recipe for the sambal rujak which comes from the lovely SBS Feast Magazine, which also has a beautiful recipe for Rujak in it's October edition. I'll definitely have to give it a try myself sometime, because I'm sure that making a fresh sauce is much nicer than getting it out of a jar.

Despite a lot of recipes and references for rujak around on the internet, not one of them mentioned when this dish is traditionally served. Is it a dinner or dessert? Or maybe just a snack. It could really go either way in my opinion - the fruit makes it light and sweet and good for dessert, the chilli sauce lends a savoury flair. I couldn't find an answer so I served it up with my savoury dishes at my Indonesian feast. So, if any Indonesians read this, please let me know!

2 mangoes
1/2 papaya
1 small pineapple
1 400g can of lychees
2 pink grapefruits
(Starfruit - sadly I couldn't get this, but I really wanted to put it in mine!)
Sambal Rujak (either from a jar or use the recipe below)
Juice of 1 lime

To Make
1. Cut the mango flesh, into large chunks. Remove the skin and seeds from the papaya and also chop into big chunks.
2. Remove the skin from the pineapple, remove the woody core and chop into large pieces. Peel the skin off the grapefruit and divide into segments.
3. Drain the can of lychees and combine in a bowl with the mango, papaya, pineapple and grapefruit. Drizzle sauce over to taste (I used about scant 1/4 cup). Drizzle the lime juice over and mix through. Serve.

Serves 4, or 6-8 as part of a buffet.

Sambal Rujak (from SBS Feast Issue #14)
3 tsp sambal oelek
1/3 cup grated palm sugar
1/3 cup kecap manis
1 tbsp lemon juice

To Make: 
1. Whisk ingredients together until combined. Pour over fruit.

This month I'm featuring lots of amazing recipes from Indonesia!
Check out my other Indonesian recipe posts:


  1. Great dish for summer. Will have to make it for my husband who loves chillies!

  2. Sounds like the perfect thing to eat fruit and chilli and salt

  3. Think it's worth pointing out that rujak often has unripe or not-too-sweet fruit in it. Like kedondong. Not sure what I'd suggest in the Australian context. Possibly cucumber without the seeds :-)

    1. Thanks for the tip. I found lots of references to fruits that I can't get my hands on here, I'll remember the cucumber for next time. Is this dish normally served as a savoury dish in Indonesia?

    2. Not really a sweet. Typically it's a late afternoon snack. Coffee is a morning drink in Indonesia so there's no tradition of an 'afternoon coffee break' as such. People usually go home for a siesta, then have a some zingy and spicy fruit to get you going! There are lots of rujak carts going around just about every major town.
      The economical peasant in me also suspects that rujak is a way to use up windfall green fruit. Hence unripe mangoes and stuff like that can feature in it. Kedondong is not a commercial crop in Australia but I've seen them at the Rapid Creek market in Darwin sold as Fijian apple. Crab apple might be a reasonable substitute :-) Half-ripe plums, still a bit crunchy. Nom-nom!

  4. This is the originaly receipe rujak from indonesia..and I'm indonesian, I ♥ this one. U'll ♥ too. Sometimes I make it by myself. And its different with ur receipe. Check this carefuly:
    1 mango (big/small)
    10 pcs jambu air
    1 pineaple
    1 papaya
    5 kedondong
    1 bengkoang
    1 ubi

    Sambal :
    1 brown or palm sugar
    3 pcs cabai rawit (or more-it was up to u)
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 terasi udang
    5-10 pcs Nut fries (or more)
    (We aren't using kecap manis)
    (We aren't using lemon juice)
    U can added asam jawa (its better and so delicious)

    To make : as u wrote

    1. nryila - thanks for your feedback and your recipe. Unfortunately I have to work with what I have. Almost all of the ingredients you have listed there are things I have never heard of and things I certainly can't buy anywhere in Australia, which is why my recipe is quite different. If I ever travel to Indonesia I'll be sure to eat a more authentic one!

  5. Hi Keely, thanks for featuring Indonesian dishes and glad you like it :) As mentioned by boohoo before, it hard to find some tropical fruits or the unripe fruits that usually use to make this rujak here in Australia (in my case, Perth). Usually to substitute the unripe mango, I used Granny Smith apple. Although not similar, but I find the texture and sour taste work fine to substitute the green-unripe mango.
    For the sauce, you can put use brown sugar mixed with little bit of lukewarm water, then mixed with acid liquid, i.e. lemon juice or vinegar (white vinegar or apple vinegar). Bengkoang is Jicama and Asam Jawa is Tamarind, both can be found in Asian store. Jicama usually frozen fruit/vegies imported from either Vietnam or Thailand.
    Some rujak fruit sellers in Jakarta include raw potato sliced thinly with mandolin or peeler. This is another type of Rujak, it call Rujak serut (all fruits are sliced thinly using mandolin). Pour the sauce and set aside for about 5-10 minutes before serve. It will make the Rujak tastier allowing the sauce absorbed by thinly sliced fruits.
    As for type of dishes, I think mostly we have this for dessert especially after lunch. It's a refreshing dessert during summer time.

    1. Thanks for all the information Tanti - hopefully one day I'll travel to Indonesia and get the chance to try an authentic one :) Thank you for translating some of the ingredients, I have indeed heard of those things but I have never seen jicama in any of my Asian grocers before, I will have to look harder next time.