Pseudo rojak

Fruit with spicy peanut sauce – it’s a bit like rojak

That’s rojak not Kojak. Kojak was a bald 1970s NYPD television detective with a thick sidekick, Sapperstein. Kojak was played by Telly Savalas. Sapperstein was played by his younger brother. Playtime in their house must have been quite an interesting event.

Rojak is a very strange Malaysian thing. Malaysian food is often very hot indeed, and this applies to the attitude to fruit. Bear with me as you read the ingredients list, because you’ll be thinking, ‘This guy has really lost the plot now. He’s gone over the edge. He’s a lost soul.’

Well, maybe, but trust me this works. And it’s a sweet/pudding/dessert, and they’re a bit thin on the ground on this blog, aren’t they?

Here’s what you need

A large honeydew or Gala melon. Do not think you can make this work with watermelon! It won’t, it’ll be a disaster

A large papaya

A large mango. This is optional

A lime

Peanut butter. Smooth is OK, but crunchy is better. I should point out again here that I loathe and detest peanut butter in most of its incarnations, so that may convince you of my veracity

Chilli sauce, of your own choosing. Don’t use West Indian sauces though, since they seem all to be a bright yellow and stuffed full of parabens preservatives. I don’t mind the parabens, I just don’t like the colour

Some honey, or molasses (this works well), or brown sugar, or white sugar.

Shaoxing wine of dry sherry

Here’s what you do

Slice the melon in half, scoop out all the snotty gunk and seeds, chuck the flesh in the recycle bin. Oops just joking. Chuck the snotty bits away. Slice the melon again to give you quarters. Carefully slice the flesh out, and chop it into 1” cubes

Slice the papaya in half, repeat the process

Ditto with the optional mango

Put the fruit into a large bowl, sprinkle with a half teaspoonful of white sugar, then halve and squeeze the lime over things. A grind of black pepper will not go amiss here, but that’s up to you and how adventurous you are, and how much you trust me. Mix well with your hands; wash them first, obviously. Stick the bowl in the fridge in the coolest point. The cool of the fruit is half the amazing properties of this dish when it meets the fiery chilli heat of the sauce

Take two/three tablespoons of peanut butter, and heat it very gently in a small pan with two or three tablespoons of wine/sherry. Very gently. Just enough to let it melt.

Add a tablespoon of chilli sauce. Maybe more if you’re adventurous. This really works better the hotter the sauce is

A teaspoonful of molasses (this is brilliant, adds a lovely smokey taste), or honey (unset is best), or brown sugar. Stir like crazy, or it will separate out like a beginner’s mayonnaise.

Keep it moving swiftly, but in no circumstances turn the heat up Just don’t. It’ll wreck the whole thing. It will, trust me.

Turn off the heat, and let the sauce rest for a minute

Meanwhile, take the fruit out of the fridge, stir gently to mix up the juices, and put into individual serving dishes. Ideally glass, and ideally having spent half an hour in the freezer. I forgot to tell you that, but we’re friends now, so you’ll forgive me that

Pour the now lukewarm sauce over the fruit. Serve

Yowser yowser yowser

A variant

Hey, if you have some fresh mint leaves, shred them and sprinkle them over the top. You don’t need them, but it’s a nice way of poncing this up and making it acceptable to non-believers. A quick grating of very good dark chocolate should convince the female parties in your audience. Girlies love chocolate, right?

Another variant

Fresh pineapple works here, but it can tend to overpower the more subtle melon/papaya/mango. Best treated alone. It still tastes absolutely fab

A real variant

I you really can’t be bothered, in which case shame on you, my moho sauce

works well with pineapple and good quality apples, such as Russets

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