Singapore Salad is the best crunchy, salty, acidic, juicy and sweet dish to serve at a summer Asian-inspired barbecue or healthy potluck dinner party.
Looking to learn how to make a healthy “Rojak” Singapore Salad recipe? This cold salad takes under 30 minutes to prepare and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser for lovers of Southeast Asian cuisine.
Our quick and easy salad recipe features crispy deep fried tofu, chopped cabbage, jicama, cucumber, carrots, bell pepper, red onion, fresh herbs and peanuts. The flavourful Asian dressing includes mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, minced ginger and lime juice.
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What Is Singapore Salad?
Singapore is not known for having an obsessive salad culture, but its unique location offers a muddling of fresh Southeast Asian flavours thanks to its proximity to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Singapore also has a uniquely diverse population featuring indigenous Malay and large immigrant communities from India and China. Singapore is known for having some of the best street food in Asia, offering bustling hawker stalls in the city’s colourful China Town and friendly Little India neighbourhoods.
Many Singapore Salad recipes features chopped cabbage and canned citrus like mandarin oranges or clementines. We’ve developed a Singapore Salad recipe that pays homage to local chefs who so expertly showcase a diversity of flavours and textures in traditional and authentic sweet meets sour Singaporean dishes.
The region’s most popular salad may just be Rojak, a spicy fruit salad that can be found served in kitchens and restaurants throughout Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Today, Rojak Salad is often served at retro dinner parties, studded with tropical fruit, such as pineapple, packed with deep-fried dough and tofu, and covered in a sweet, syrupy tamarind sauce.
We’ve adapted several Singapore Salad inspired recipes to create a refreshing kitchen keeper, perfect for a summer barbecue or winter potluck party.
Travel to Asia by Cooking Singapore Salad at Home
I love traveling through Asia. My first visit to Asia had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
I spent 3 jam-packed days adventuring through the spotless streets of Singapore. I arrived to Asia’s smallest country on a flight from Kuching on the Island of Borneo after scuba diving the world famous coral reefs of Sipadan.
My fondest memories of my time in the tiny Southeast Asian city were visits to the world famous Singapore Zoo and National Museum, which has a captivating exhibit on the city’s famous hawker food culture. I ate every breakfast, lunch and dinner in Singapore at al fresco food stalls featuring spicy Indian curry, Chinese dim sum, coconut milk infused Malay soups and Indonesian satay skewers.
Where To Eat Crunchy Asian Citrus Salad
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you may have access to a local Southeast Asian restaurant that serves their very own take on Singapore Salad.
Haven’t traveled to Asia before? It may be helpful to first sample “Rojak” Singapore Salad at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess the variety of ingredients used and sample the correct texture before trying to make them at home from scratch.
In Toronto, popular Southeast Asian restaurants that may serve Singapore Salad include Pinky’s Ca Phe, Pho Phuong, Pho Vistro, Anh Dao, Pho Hung, Pho Asia 21, The Golden Turtle, Sabai Sabai, Sukothai, Khao San Road, Pai, Kiin, Bangkok Garden, Mengrai Thai, Soos and Favorites Thai BBQ.
The world’s most famous Singapore Salad is without a doubt Chef Susur Lee’s multi-ingredient masterpiece served at his trendy King West restaurant in Toronto simply called Lee.
The Toronto restaurant’s flagship Singaporean Slaw features sublime sweet & sour components such as sweet plum and crunchy deep fried daikon. Each of Lee’s servers have memorized the list of over 30 Singapore Salad ingredients, which are recited with glee for each guest at the table.
My Family Loves Singapore Salad
I first sampled Chef Susur Lee’s Singapore Salad at a birthday dinner with my sister. We both fell in love with the combination of contrasting flavours and textures, which had me dreaming of my past travel adventures to Southeast Asia.
After researching many Singaporean dishes and regional Rojak Salad recipes I developed and low carb recipe, which my family loves!
In the warm summer months, we love to serve the crunchy, fresh cold salad al fresco at our cottage in Muskoka. My parents both love crunchy salads so the sliced jicama, chopped cabbage, roasted peanuts and crisp deep fried tofu made this recipe a keeper!
We also love salad’s that feature citrus segments as they offer an acidic tang which brightens the salty nuts, sesame and soya sauce.
We often enjoy this homemade Singapore Salad in a big bowl all on its own. Or if you’re feeling famished, feel free to pair with grilled chicken satay, barbecue lemongrass shrimp or a creamy curry.
Singapore Salad Tips
If it’s your first time making Singapore Salad we suggest you first start by reading the ingredients list and recipe directions below. This simple cold salad is inspired by Singaporean culinary tradition and is quick and easy to make.
The best Singapore Salad features finely sliced vegetables cut into thin julienned strips. If you cut large chunks of carrot, jicama, cucumber or onion you lose the desired mouthfeel. After tossing the vegetables in vinaigrette the salad should appear like a slaw.
We suggest using a sharp French Knife to thinly slice the carrots, cabbage, cucumber and fresh herbs. You could also use a specialized mandolin.
We use brown sugar in this recipe as its most readily available in North American supermarkets. Palm sugar is what’s commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking so if you can find it at a local Asian market buy it. You’ll enjoy a subtle difference in flavour profile. The sweet brown sugar, salty soy sauce and acidic lime juice create a delicious explosion in the mouth after each fork full.
If you don’t have access to jicama, feel free to substitute for daikon or Asian pear. The jicama adds a crunchy component to the salad and its flesh is not overly sweet.
We love to top our Singapore Salad with juicy grapefruit and orange segments. You could also substitute for fresh clementines, tangerines or tart limes. We do not suggest using canned citrus fruit as its overly sweet and syrupy.
We love using cilantro in this recipe but you could substitue for basil.
If you have a penchant for spicy food, feel free to add chili peppers, chili poweder, sliced Thai red chili peppers, chili sauce or chili paste to your vinaigrette.
With great success, we once added a few scoops of Indonesian sambal to the salad dressing. Sambal is a spicy condiment featuring chili paste, shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot and palm sugar. It certainly adds a nice zing!
What To Serve with Singaporean Citrus Salad
This popular cold salad topped with peanuts and deep fried tofu can be enjoyed as a main course or side dish. It keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container and enjoy leftovers as a quick and easy lunch at work.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party, pair the cold salad with egg rolls, Cong You Bing, Thai Beef & Pumpkin Curry, Red Prawn Curry, Chicken Korma, Shahi Paneer, Indian Crepes and Bánh Xèo.
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Best Homemade Citrus Singapore Salad Recipe
Citrus Singapore Salad
- Mixing bowls
- measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- French knife
- Metal slotted spoon
- 300 g Firm Tofu cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch
- 3 cups Chinese cabbage shredded
- 1 cup Cucumber seeded, peeled, sliced
- 1/2 cup Carrot grated
- 1 1/2 cups Jicama sliced
- 1 Orange peeled and sectioned
- 1 Grapefruit peeled and sectioned
- 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper sliced
- 1/2 cup Red onion sliced into rings
- 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
- 2 tbsp Sesame or Peanut oil
- 4 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 tsp Mirin
- 1/2 tbsp Fresh ginger minced
- 1 tbsp Lime juice
- 1 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1 tsp Roasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Fish Sauce
- 1/4 cup Roasted peanuts
- Slice firm tofu into cubes the size of croutons and pat dry with paper towel. Toss tofu in cornstarch until each cube is fully coated.
- In a large wok over medium high heat add vegetable oil until it is 2-3 inches from the bottom of the pan. Gently drop tofu cubes into the bubbling oil and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove deep fried tofu with a metal slotted spoon and let cool on a paper towel.
- In a large bowl combine cabbage, jicama, cucumber, orange, grapefruit, bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro. Cover and chill up to 4 hours.
- Prepare Singapore Salad dressing by whisking together in a small bowl peanut/sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, ginger, sesame seed and soy sauce.
- Pour dressing over salad and toss lightly to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.
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