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Homemade Penang Rojak Recipe

Penang Rojak

Rojak–the Penang-style salad with fresh cucumber, crunchy jicama, pineapple, jambu (water apple/rose apple), bean curd, and cuttlefish in thick, gooey, and pungent Hae Ko (dark prawn paste)–is the only salad that I would eat without being forced to. The Hae Ko sauce is also one of the few sauces that I would dabble with my fingers (even lick with my tongue), leaving not a single drop. The taste of Rojak is something that one must experience to fully appreciate.

The secret of this homemade Rojak lies in a small plastic container of Sambal Rojak. If you are in Southern California, be on the look out for “Shrimp and Boy Brand Fruit Dressing Sambal Rojak” at Hong Kong Supermarket in Rowland Heights, West Covina, or Monterey Park.

While the taste of this homemade Penang Rojak is not as good as the real ones you get from hawkers in Penang, I have to say that it’s 80% close to the real taste. I am just very happy that I can now savor something I truly miss even though I am thousands of miles away from home.

And no, I didn’t lick my plate dry this time.


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21 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Chris

    Rojak relies a lot on the sauce. As long as the sauce is nice, you can definitely have a nice bowl of rojak there.

    I haven’t heard of Hae Ko sauce, not sure if it’s available in M’sia. Lemme go find out….

  2. lucia

    i love rojak very much… but must eat with lots of sambal as lebih pedas, lebih sedap. :)

    what chris? hae ko is so popular in malaysia! it’s available almost everywhere… i think. at least in penang, we can find it in supermarkets. it’s the same kind of sauce that we use for laksa.

    rojak need hae ko – hae ko is the main ingredient.. then only mix with belacan, sambal, roasted sesame seed and so on.

    sometimes when we eat jambu (the small red ones) or turnip (bengkuang?) we like to dip it with hae ko to eat.

    • Peter Kong

      Hae Ko is prawn paste or Hair Ko in Hokkien or Har Koew in Cantonese. It is that thick black thing you put in the Penang assam laksa.

      • tom mcdonald

        My wife and I are both lovers of Rojak. MY WIFE IS HOKIEN AND IS FROM SINGAPORE AND SHE BROUGHT BACK SOME SHRIMP PASTE IN A JAR BY BOY BRAND IN PENANG. WE WOULD SURE LOVE TO FIND WHERE IT IS SOLD. WE LIVE IN FRORIDA AND REALLY LOVE ROJAK. ANYONE KNOW WHERE THIS CAN BE SOLD IN USA.

  3. Rasa Malaysia

    Chris – are you sure you are real Malaysian? Hmmm, now I am curious…Hae Ko is like the NATIONAL sauce of Malaysia. Hae Ko is the Hokkien pronunciation, so KL people call it “Har Go or Har Cheung” ;)

    Lucia – yes…dip everything in Hae Ko is the way to go…anything also can. If with Laksa, put lots of Hae Ko until the soup darker, then the best. I think Chris is a “fake” Malaysian lah. LOL.

  4. michaelooi

    the best way to enjoy a rojak for me, is definitely to have it spread thickly on top of a sliced pineapple. Used to cost only 20 cents per piece. Slurrrrrrp!

    • Peter Kong

      I could never stop eating the small sour mangoes cut into 2 and skewered with the rojak gravy mix put where the hollow where the seed was. Ate too much and teeth got soft later.

  5. toniXe

    certain popular Pg rojak stalls here in PJ/KL also include beansprouts and kangkong into the mix. but they r not as hot as I would like !

    my hands will smell like that hae ko ‘smell’ 4 a while tho.

  6. bayi

    LOL.

    More hae ko and ground peanuts for me!

    Though the Cantonese say har ko or har cheong, most of them still use hae ko to indicate the sauce. It’s as though the sauce will taste different if you call it by any other name!

  7. TrueBluePenangite

    Did the cuttlefish that you used come in a dried form or fresh or in a can? I am looking for cuttlefish in Milwaukee but I can only find the dry kind. And thanks for the Hae Ko brand recommendation. Now I know which kind to get.

  8. Rasa Malaysia

    Michael – Wow, I have totally forgotten about 20 cents pineapples with Hae Ko. You are right…those are the best!

    Tonixe – sorry to disappoint you, but I think those so-called Penang rojak stall in PJ/KL are fakes. I have never seen Penang rojak with bean sprouts or kangkong. :P

    Bayi – I believe most Hae Ko’s are produced in the northern states (Penang or Kedah) where Hokkien is the dominant dialect.

    Truebluepenangite – the cuttlefish I used were fresh.

  9. elmomonster

    Oh man! You are driving me crazy! First the clams, and now this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE rujak (Indonesian spelling). Ours is just like yours, one of my favorite dishes ever.

  10. Anonymous

    hello everyone,
    i love rojak but from where i live in germany(even holland), thereĀ“s no way i can find the sauce. i can get belacan though.
    is there anyone who knows how to make the sauce?
    thank you…cheers

  11. Rui Fang

    i love rojak!
    i can totally eat one big bowl by myself…but you know, of course a little guilty:)
    but anyways i love your site and you really made things possible for people like me that lives so far away from my “home”(Malaysia)—I now live in Utah, USA.
    Thanks.

  12. faarung

    i like to eat rojak.a lot of version.singapore, malaysia.indonesia.just some ingredients they add,however they still used fruits for the rojak

  13. Annie

    Just wondering would you have a Yutiao or you cha kway recipe. I have rojak sauce from my last trip back to KL but not the yutiao, LOL. Here in Istanbul, it would be a great surprise if I can find youtiao from streeet stalls.

    Cheers
    Annie

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