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Rujak Serut is Indonesian sweet potato slaw that uses a mix of tamarind, palm sugar and chilli for the dressing.
Traditionally, the slaw itself only uses sweet potatoes, pineapple and Bengkuang/ Jicama. The latter is a type of yam bean or sweet turnip that has crunchy white flesh.
Because I’ve never come across Bengkuang here in the UK, I substitute it with granny Smith apples. The green apples have a similar texture as Bengkuang but are tangier in the flavour.
Unlike the regular western coleslaw that you enjoy as a side for your main dish or as the relish for your barbecue, Indonesian sweet potato slaw is eaten as an appetizer or a snack.
There are a few different types of Rujak in Indonesia. Rujak literally means spicy fruit salad. And Serut means grated. So Rujak Serut simply means grated fruit salad.
This spicy, sweet and sour tasted salad used to be one of the street foods sold by the food gawkers who go around the housing areas.
I’m not sure if there are still sellers who do this now. Because last time when I spent a holiday in Indonesia, I didn’t come across any sellers who do Rujak Serut.
As a matter of fact, I do notice that now there are more and more foreign foods and global cuisines in Indonesia. Well, at least in Jakarta where my family lives.
And if I ask my niece and nephew of some old traditional Indonesian foods, chances are they won’t know about them. They might not have heard the names let alone have tried the food.
As I mentioned above, the traditional Indonesian sweet potato slaw only uses three ingredients. But here in the UK, I add one more item that is Pomegranate. I find it a good addition as it gives crunchiness.
The primary ingredients of Rujak Serut
This one is the must-have item for this Indonesian sweet potato slaw. Otherwise, the name will not be valid ?.
Can I remind you that the original recipe calls for sweet turnip/ yam beans called Bengkuang/ Jicama? So if you can find this Jicama where you live, you can use it for this recipe.
But if you can’t get hold of Jicama, you can replace it with crunchy green apples.
Note that I use granny Smith green apples. Because they’re the most suitable apples for the recipe that I can get here in the UK.
I like to think that this tropical fruit has now become popular and is relatively easy to get in any part of the world?
I put pomegranate in the slaw just for fun. Because I love the fruit and I love how its colour makes my rujak serut looks more tempting (at least to me ?).
So feel free to include or to opt-out. And if you do want to put pomegranate seeds, you can use the freshly taken out from the fruit, or use the frozen ones. Both are equally good.
Now, tamarind is the number one flavour ingredient for this recipe. So I’m afraid you have to put your best effort to get it. IF you want to make this Indonesian sweet potato slaw.
The first time I made this fruit salad, I used a tamarind block. It took a bit of effort to get the juice out of it. Because you have to boil with water and sieve it to extract its juice.
Then I found the tamarind paste that makes my cooking way simpler. Especially for this rujak recipe. Because it now only takes me 15-20 minutes to make this slaw. Bliss.
Palm sugar/ dark muscovado sugar/ dark soft brown sugar
The original recipe uses palm sugar. But if you can’t find it where you are, just swap it with either dark muscovado sugar or dark soft brown sugar.
You can use fresh bird’s eye chillies or dried chilli flakes.
I must say that salt will always be in my recipe of any kind. Because it always brings other flavours to the next level.
How to make the slaw
It’s so easy to make Rujak Serut. You only need to peel and grate the sweet potatoes and apples. Then you cut the pineapple into small pieces.
When you’re done with the fruit, you can put them all in a big bowl and put the tamarind paste, sugar, salt and chillies.
If you use fresh chillies, you’ll have to grind them into a paste before mixing.
Give your slaw a good stir until all the flavouring ingredients are mixed thoroughly with the fruits.
Last but not least, try to taste if all the flavours are there. Your Indonesian sweet potato slaw should taste a mix of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.
Enjoy the slaw as the appetizer. Though in Indonesia, it’s sometimes served as an after-meal menu. Your choice.
Thank you for reading the post. Hope you’re now planning to try this Rujak Serut recipe. When you did try, would you share what you think about it in the comments below?
Before you go, don’t forget to check out my other recipes that you’ll like.
- Gado-gado Jakarta.
- Ketoprak Jakarta: beansprouts, vermicelli and tofu salad with garlicky peanut sauce.
- Asinan Jakarta: Indonesian crispy salad with tamarind and peanut sauce.
Thank you and all the best.