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More Nigella recipes

Pineapple-Plus Salad with Rujak Dressing

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Introduction

This is the perfect accompaniment to the sumptuous biryani, meeting its aromatic heat and savoury depth with juicy freshness and a compelling sweet-and-sour tang. This is my riff on a gorgeous Indonesian street-food snack, although it is really the dressing itself that contains the essence of it. And what a dressing it is! Once you have the ingredients in the cupboard, you’ll be calling on it often: it’s glorious with halved cherry tomatoes, grilled aubergine, roasted vegetables, and so much more.

And the salad, which I serve more as a relish with the biryani, is begging to spruce up your Christmas ham and cold cuts. If you can’t get hold of the Indonesian shrimp paste, you could always add a drop of fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of miso in its place, but whatever you do, don’t be tempted to leave out the fresh mint.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This is the perfect accompaniment to the sumptuous biryani, meeting its aromatic heat and savoury depth with juicy freshness and a compelling sweet-and-sour tang. This is my riff on a gorgeous Indonesian street-food snack, although it is really the dressing itself that contains the essence of it. And what a dressing it is! Once you have the ingredients in the cupboard, you’ll be calling on it often: it’s glorious with halved cherry tomatoes, grilled aubergine, roasted vegetables, and so much more.

And the salad, which I serve more as a relish with the biryani, is begging to spruce up your Christmas ham and cold cuts. If you can’t get hold of the Indonesian shrimp paste, you could always add a drop of fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of miso in its place, but whatever you do, don’t be tempted to leave out the fresh mint.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Ingredients

Serves: 8 as a relish

Metric Cups

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 75 grams soft light brown sugar
  • 250 millilitres water
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon belacan / shrimp paste
  • 3 bird's eye chillies
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 small red onion (peeled and cut into fine half-moons)
  • lime juice (and it’s fine to use the bottled kind)
  • 1 large or extra large pineapple (2-2¼kg/4½lb) (peeled and cut into approx. 2.5cm/1inch chunks)
  • 1 large (350g/12oz) cucumber (peeled, halved and deseeded and cut into approx. 2.5cm/1inch chunks)
  • 125 grams pomegranate seeds
  • small bunch of mint

FOR THE DRESSING

  • ⅓ cup soft light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon belacan / shrimp paste
  • 3 bird's eye chiles
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 small red onion (peeled and cut into fine half-moons)
  • lime juice (and it’s fine to use the bottled kind)
  • 1 large or extra large pineapple (2-2¼kg/4½lb) (peeled and cut into approx. 2.5cm/1inch chunks)
  • 1 large (350g/12oz) cucumber (peeled, halved and deseeded and cut into approx. 2.5cm/1inch chunks)
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • small bunch of mint

Method

  1. Make the tangy dressing ahead of time to allow it to cool; I find this easiest to do the night before, when I’m hanging about in the kitchen cooking the chicken for the biryani. And if you wanted you could steep the onion in its lime juice at the same time (see step 5) though if it suits your life more, by all means make the dressing and steep the onions on the day of the party, so long as you can get the dressing made and set the onions a-steeping at least three hours before you’re going to need them.
  2. For the dressing, you’ll need a small saucepan — I use one of 14cm/6in diameter — into which go the brown sugar and water. Give a good stir and then put on the heat and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stay nearby, as you don’t want it to boil or bubble away.
  3. Add the lime juice, shrimp paste, birds eye chillies and salt. Bring back to a simmer and let bubble gently for another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour into a small, heatproof jug and leave to cool.
  5. Either once you’ve made the dressing, or about 3 hours before you need them, put the red onion half-moons into a bowl or jar and cover with lime juice, and leave to steep. This removes any hint of acrid burn and turns the red onions an effulgent fuschia. These pink pickled onions — as I no doubt don’t have to tell you — are a very familiar presence in my kitchen.
  6. Shortly before serving, arrange the cut pineapple and cucumber in a wide shallow-ish bowl or dish, and add the pomegranate seeds. These are very much not an Indonesian touch, but I need them here not only for their fragrant, almost floral tartness, but also their sheer, smile-inducing Christmassiness.
  7. Drain the pickled red onion, and squeeze out any excess lime juice and add these hot-pink strands to the bowl, too, then pour over the dressing (including the chillies) and mix. You can let the salad stand like this for about an hour if you wish.
  8. When you are about to eat, finely shred or chop 2-3 tablespoons of mint leaves and sprinkle over the top. Serve this jaunty combination of a relish and a salad along with the Biryani and joy in your heart. Though no less joy should accompany it if you have chosen a different main course….
  1. Make the tangy dressing ahead of time to allow it to cool; I find this easiest to do the night before, when I’m hanging about in the kitchen cooking the chicken for the biryani. And if you wanted you could steep the onion in its lime juice at the same time (see step 5) though if it suits your life more, by all means make the dressing and steep the onions on the day of the party, so long as you can get the dressing made and set the onions a-steeping at least three hours before you’re going to need them.
  2. For the dressing, you’ll need a small saucepan — I use one of 14cm/6in diameter — into which go the brown sugar and water. Give a good stir and then put on the heat and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stay nearby, as you don’t want it to boil or bubble away.
  3. Add the lime juice, shrimp paste, birds eye chillies and salt. Bring back to a simmer and let bubble gently for another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour into a small, heatproof jug and leave to cool.
  5. Either once you’ve made the dressing, or about 3 hours before you need them, put the red onion half-moons into a bowl or jar and cover with lime juice, and leave to steep. This removes any hint of acrid burn and turns the red onions an effulgent fuschia. These pink pickled onions — as I no doubt don’t have to tell you — are a very familiar presence in my kitchen.
  6. Shortly before serving, arrange the cut pineapple and cucumber in a wide shallow-ish bowl or dish, and add the pomegranate seeds. These are very much not an Indonesian touch, but I need them here not only for their fragrant, almost floral tartness, but also their sheer, smile-inducing Christmassiness.
  7. Drain the pickled red onion, and squeeze out any excess lime juice and add these hot-pink strands to the bowl, too, then pour over the dressing (including the chillies) and mix. You can let the salad stand like this for about an hour if you wish.
  8. When you are about to eat, finely shred or chop 2-3 tablespoons of mint leaves and sprinkle over the top. Serve this jaunty combination of a relish and a salad along with the Biryani and joy in your heart. Though no less joy should accompany it if you have chosen a different main course….

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
You can make the rujak dressing up to 5 days ahead. Keep covered in the fridge, removing it in time to lose its fridge chill and stir well before pouring over the salad. Picked onions can be made 1 day ahead. Store the onions in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

MAKE AHEAD:
You can make the rujak dressing up to 5 days ahead. Keep covered in the fridge, removing it in time to lose its fridge chill and stir well before pouring over the salad. Picked onions can be made 1 day ahead. Store the onions in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

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