Indian Rojak – Pasembor

In Malaysia, mamak rojak (or Pasembur) contains fried dough fritters, bean curds, boiled potatoes, prawn fritters, hard boiled eggs, bean sprouts, cuttlefish and cucumber mixed with a sweet thick, spicy peanut sauce. Traditionally, Tamil Muslim (Mamak) rojak vendors used modified sidecar motorcycles as preparation counters and to peddle their rojak. These mobile vendors now use modified mini trucks. The Pasembor available in Singapore is an assortment of potatoes, eggs, bean curd (tofu), and prawns fried in batter, served with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. In the Northwest Peninsular Region (Penang, Kedah, Perlis, Perak), it is always called pasembor, but in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore it is called rojak.

Indian Rojak - Pasembor
Cuisine: Malaysian
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: Serves 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 waxy potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable oil
  • 200 g firm tofu, pat dried
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, julienned
  • 1 jicama, julienned
  • 2 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 long green chillies, thinly sliced
For the prawn fritters
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 red Asian shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ cup bean sprouts, washed and drained
  • 150 ml water
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 g small green prawns, shell on
For the rojak sauce
  • 500 g sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 6 red Asian shallots, diced
  • 100 ml tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 50 g roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) Sriracha chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 35 g (¼ cup) grated palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Korma powder
  1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok until the temperature reaches 180°C. Cut the cooled potatoes into quarters and deep-fry for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
  3. Slide the firm tofu into the hot oil and deep-fry for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel, cut in half and set aside.
  4. Slide the eggs into the hot oil and deep-fry for 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
  5. To prepare the prawn fritters, place all the ingredients, except the prawns, in a large bowl and mix well until you get a fairly thick batter.
  6. Bring the oil back to 180°C.
  7. Using lightly oiled hands, shape the fritters into discs about 5 cm wide and 1 cm thick, then place 1 or 2 prawns on top of each disc. Carefully slide the prawn fritters into the hot oil and fry for 5–6 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel, then cut each fritter in half and set aside.
To prepare the rojak sauce
  1. Place the sweet potato, shallot and tinned tomato in a blender. Add 500 ml (2 cups) water and blitz until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, add the crushed peanuts, Sriracha chili sauce, salt, sugar and korma powder. Bring to a gentle simmer over low-medium heat and gently cook for 15 minutes or until slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. We are now ready to assemble our rojak. Divide all the fried ingredients between 4 small serving plates. Scatter the julienned cucumber and jicama on top of all the fried ingredients, then ladle a generous amount of the rojak sauce over the top. Garnish with the sliced red shallots and green chilli and serve immediately.

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