Friday, July 30, 2010
Rujak Cingur--An East Javanese Specialty
Rujak cingur is an East Javanese specialty. Rujak is a kind of fruit and vegetable salad popular in Indonesia and Malaysia that combines ripe and unripe fruit, along with raw and cooked vegetables for a crisp, tart and sweet explosion of tastes and textures on the tongue. Different cultures favor different combinations of ingredients and sauces, so the rojak made by Indians in Malaysia is a totally different beast from that made by Chinese in Singapore or Madurese in East Java.
What makes rujak cingur unique, besides its liberal use of petis udang (a tar-like fermented shrimp paste popular in Java) in its sauce, is the inclusion of cingur--water buffalo snout. Boiled and sliced into bite-sized pieces, it adds an extra dimension to the rujak.
According to my sister-in-law, Lili, this Madurese woman makes the best rujak cingur in Kediri. Not an aficionado myself, I’ll take her word for it. Typical of many hawkers in Java, she has no set spot from which she sells her rujak, but carries her makings with her and prepares each salad to order, deftly assembling a salad as she slices pieces of fruit and grinds her sauce to each customer’s preference of spiciness.
Walking home from school after picking up my niece, we got several orders to go. Not a fan of spicy food, she watched to make sure no extra chilies were slipped into her order. Wrapped in banana leaf with the sauce kept separate in a small plastic bag, it made a perfect after school snack, nutritious and tasty.