On Diponegoro street, Surabaya, there is a stall that sells rujak sayur asin. Rujak is an Indonesian version of salad. Sayur asin is preserved mustard leaves. It’s quite a unique combination since normally rujak contains fresh vegetables instead of preserved. So, I decided to try it. The name of the stall is “Rujak Sayur Asin 5 + 2”.
The seller doesn’t have to cook anything since all the ingredients were already prepared and jarred. He skillfully cuts preserved mustard leaves, tofu, and pickled cucumber directly on top of the wrapping paper. Then, he pours sauce that seems to be made from petis udang (black shrimp paste), garlic, kecap manis, chili, peanuts. I only paid 7000 Rupiahs (45 Eurocents). The dish is quite simple, but very tasty and refreshing. The preserved leaves give the dish a surprisingly good tanginess.
In this recipe, the usage of petis udang or black shrimp paste is a must. This type of shrimp paste is different than the Thai, Filipino, or Chinese version. It is also different than terasi/ belacan. This one has a sweet taste because palm sugar caramel is added in the making process. It’s also delicious eaten on its own, without being made into sambal or cooked further. We often use it as dipping sauce with fried tofu. In Indonesia we have different kinds of petis (e.g., fish, shellfish, etc), and each region may have different ways of making it too. If you live outside of Indonesia, you can find it at any Asian supermarkets.
This recipe also calls for pickled cucumber. Sometimes you can buy it from the store in a jar. But since I live in the Netherlands, it’s not possible to find authentic Indonesian pickled cucumber at the store (NO, it is not the same as gherkin🥒!). Hence, I also include a recipe of homemade Indonesian cucumber pickle (acar ketimun/ acar timun). It is recommended to make the pickle the night before so that the vinegar solution is absorbed by the cucumber slices. The cucumber will stay crunchy and have a fresh sour flavor. But, if you have no time, you can make it 1 hour in advance.
One more tip: when making the sauce, I prefer making it directly on the plate, so all the spice stays there. But be very gentle if your plate is made of glass or ceramic. Otherwise make it in a mortar or clay plate then transfer it to your plate.
This is how the street stall looks like. When you are in Surabaya, look for it!
Rujak Sayur Asin 5+2
Jl. Diponegoro no. 94
Opening hours: 12.00-17.00 everyday, Sun closed
Rujak Sayur Asin
- 1 block tofu (500g)
- 350 g preserved mustard leaves
- 3 tbs petis (black shrimp paste)
- 6 tbs fried garlic
- 3 tbs fried peanuts, plus more for garnish
- 3 tbs kecap manis, plus more for serving
- 200 ml oil, for frying tofu
- 3 chilies (optional)
- A pinch of sugar, for grinding chilies (optional)
- Fried garlic crackers (krupuk bawang), for serving
Acar timun (Pickled cucumber)
- 1 cucumber
- 300 ml hot water
- 3 tbs distilled vinegar
- 4 tbs sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- The night before, or a few hours before tmaking the rujak, make cucumber pickle by halving a cucumber. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and slice it in approximately 2 mm thick. Set aside.
- In a glass/ ceramic bowl, mix hot water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Adjust the taste, it has to be sour, sweet, and salty at the same time. Add the cucumber slices and leave to marinate.
- The next day/ a few hours later, fry the tofu block in hot oil in a pan. Depending on preference, I prefer not to fry it too long to retain the softness texture. So, it’s approximately 2-3 minutes each side. Drain and slice thinly into 2×2 cm size.
- Drain the preserved mustard greens and rinse quickly under cold running water. Slice them into bite size pieces.
- Now it’s time to make sauce and assemble the ingredients. The next instruction is for 1 portion, and you can continue with the rest as this recipe serves 3. In your plate or a mortar/ clay plate, grind chilies with a bit of sugar if using chilies. Add 1 tablespoon of peanuts and continue grinding. I prefer to make it a bit coarse, but it’s up to you.
- Add 1 tablespoon of petis, 2 teaspoons of fried garlic, and 1 tablespoon of kecap manis, and grind a little bit more until everything is mixed well. If you are grinding this in a mortar/ clay plate, transfer it to your serving plate now.
- On top of the sauce, add tofu, preserved mustard greens, and pickled cucumber. Sprinkle with extra fried garlic and drizzle it with some more kecap manis. Top with garlic crackers and serve.