Kate on 04/18/2014
Balinese Rujak Abbott & West

Recipe: Balinese Rujak

Dining in Bali is a singular experience. In a sense, it’s not a huge food culture; the same meal is generally eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you don’t mind the lack of variety, though, the flavors are fascinating, a classic Southeast Asian blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty with fresh tropical fruits, fresh seafood, and loads of rice.

When I was in the famously artsy hillside town of Ubud, I took a cooking class at the Casa Luna Cooking School in which we learned to make a full Balinese meal (which obviously means a full day of Balinese meals, by the aforementioned rule). Everything was delicious, but generally difficult to recreate when the abundant exotic offerings of Ubud’s daily market are not at your fingertips. Fortunately, the popular sweet and sour fruit and vegetable salad (and favorite street snack) known as rujak is simple enough to be recreated at home. Here’s the recipe as I learned it:

Balinese Rujak

Dressing
2 small chilis of the cabe or lombok variety, seeded
1 tsp shrimp paste, roasted, or fish sauce
3 tbsp tamarind paste
4 tbsp palm sugar syrup
sea salt to taste

Salad
2 apples, cut into half-inch chunks
1/2 a pineapple, roughly chopped
1 large cucumber, roughly chopped
1 ripe mango, roughly chopped
1-2 Japanese pear or jicama, roughly chopped

Starting with the chilis and salt and using a large mortar and pestle, grind the dressing ingredients until chunky and a bit liquidy. In a large bowl, combine the chopped fruit and vegetables. Pour the dressing over the fruit and vegetables, and toss the mixture to combine well. Add salt if necessary.

You can always add or substitute any of the fruits or vegetables, depending upon your preference and what’s available. Eat as a snack throughout the day or serve as an appetizer or side dish with a meal. I’m already daydreaming about bringing it to a picnic in the park on a hot, humid day this summer, when it will be super refreshing.

Image by fitri.agung via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Balinese Rujak Abbott & West

Recipe: Balinese Rujak by Kate

Dining in Bali is a singular experience. In a sense, it’s not a huge food culture; the same meal is generally eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you don’t mind the lack of variety, though, the flavors are fascinating, a classic Southeast Asian blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty with fresh tropical fruits, […]

An avid francophile and adventure enthusiast, Kate Thorman is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer based in New York City. She is also the co-founder of Abbott & West and co-host of The Innocents Abroad.