Pasembur is an Indian Muslim rojak consisting of shredded vegetables, eggs, tofu, and fritters drenched in a spiced sweet potato dressing.
When Paul and I finally made a trip to the Asian market the previous weekend, Pasembur and Mee Goreng Mamak were not on my mind. As always, we bought almost everything we can possibly think of that we needed for the next 3 to 6 months so that we won’t have to go again in a while. You can imagine our grocery cart filled to brim with all kinds of goodies. We love noodles and tofu and so we picked up lots of that.
An eCookbook in the Works
You may also have heard that I am finally writing my eCookbook and I shared the tentative recipe list on Facebook. I needed fish, taro/yam, bean sprouts, and lots of fresh vegetables to cook the dishes that I had planned for the eCookbook. It was great. I had lots of ingredients to work with.
The guys have been enjoying all the Malaysian dishes I was cooking this past week. I made Wu Tao Koh, Yong Tau Foo, Char Koay Teow, Kungfu Chow, and more. Finally, someone mentioned Mee Goreng. So far, we have always enjoyed a simplified version that Paul came up with which we fondly dubbed Mee Goreng in the Prairie because we lived in Minnesota at that time. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided that I should make this Pasembur first as both recipes share similar ingredients, namely the sauce and fritters. Let me explain.
Pasembur and Mee Goreng Mamak
Pasembur is an Indian Muslim rojak popular in Penang, and perhaps Kedah. This delicious salad consists of shredded jicama, cucumber, bean sprouts, eggs, tofu, and fritters. The sauce or dressing is made with sweet potatoes and spices. Interestingly from my observation, I noticed that many of the street vendors offering Pasembur also use this same spiced sweet potato sauce for their Mee Goreng Mamak.
There is another dish that they usually offer as well and that is Mee Rebus (a.k.a. Mee Kuah) that has a similar sweet potato sauce but not as thick. All three dishes are garnished with the same fritters. Why not? It totally makes sense to kill three birds with one stone, right? Selling food is hard work and I would totally use similar ingredients if I can. Some people like a salad. Others may prefer fried noodles and then there are those who crave for a bowl of noodles with gravy. It is all good. 😋😋😋
Crispy Fritters and Soft Squid Fritters
The street vendors usually offer a variety of fritters. There is always that plain crispy fritter for crunch and texture in Pasembur. Then, there are a variety of soft fritters with varying chopped veggies and seafood. Most people use shrimp in their soft fritters but I decided to use squid instead, as squid is also popular with the Indian Muslims.
HINT: I am planning to share my Mee Goreng Mamak recipe soon. If you wish to try that recipe, you may want to make a double batch of these soft squid fritters. You can save the second batch in the refrigerator for use later.
Similar Products Used in Making This Pasembur (Malaysian Indian Rojak)
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Pasembur (Malaysian Indian Rojak)
- 7 oz firm tofu (210g)
- 2 cups bean sprouts (trimmed) (200g)
- 3 large eggs
- 12 oz jicama / bangkuang (peeled and julienned) (340g)
- 1 cucumber (julienned)
- Sufficient vegetable oil for deep frying
Spiced Sweet Potato Dressing
- 10 oz sweet potato (yellow or orange) (280g)
- 1½ cups water (360ml)
- 10 shallots (peeled)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
- ½ inch ginger (peeled) (15g)
- 3 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
- 5 dried chilies (break into half, shake off seeds, and soak in hot water for 10 minutes)
- ½ cup peanuts (roasted) (75g)
- 1 oz asam jawa (28g)
- 1 cup hot water (240ml)
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Allow tofu to drain. Cut into 1½ in x ¾ in x ½ in pieces. Pan fry with 1 tablespoon oil for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. You can also deep fry tofu pieces, if preferred.
- Scald bean sprouts in simmering (not boiling) water for 10 seconds. Drain.
- Boil eggs for 10 to 12 minutes. Peel and cut into ¼ inch slices.
Spiced Sweet Potato Dressing
- Peel and cube sweet potato. Place in a small saucepan with 1½ cups (360ml) water and boil over medium heat for about 7 minutes until tender. Do not drain. Transfer to blender cup.
- Add shallots, garlic, ginger, red chilies, dried chilies, and roasted peanuts to the blender cup. Blend until smooth. Transfer blended ingredients to a medium saucepan.
- Rinse asam jawa and place in a small bowl. Add hot water and mash with a spoon to dissolve some of the pulp. Strain the asam jawa juice into the sauce pan.
- Add sugar and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off stove.
- Combine all crispy fritters ingredients in a medium mixing cup. Stir until you get a smooth batter.
- Heat sufficient vegetable oil in a wok or deep fry pan over medium heat. Gently scoop about 2 tablespoons of batter for each fritter into the hot oil. Fry for about 5 to 6 minutes or 2½ to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Soft Squid Fritters
- Combine all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, and water in a medium mixing cup. Stir until smooth. Stir in ground turmeric.
- Place squid, carrot, shallots, and green onions in a medium bowl. Pour batter into the bowl and stir to get everything well mixed.
- Gently scoop about 2 tablespoons of batter for each fritter into the hot oil (from frying the crispy fritters). Fry for about 5 to 6 minutes or 2½ to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- For each individual serving, place 2 pieces of pan fried firm tofu, 2 to 3 slices of hard boiled eggs, some blanched bean sprouts, and some julienned jicama and cucumber on a plate.
- Also break up a crispy fritter and add a cubed soft squid fritter to the plate.
- Drizzle some spiced sweet potato dressing over the top and serve immediately.
A Smoother or Chunkier Sauce
I know it is a lot of work but it is totally worth the effort especially if you live away from Malaysia and have not eaten this in a long time. This is my first try and I was very pleased with how this dish turned out. The only thing I might change is the texture of the sauce. I probably blended it a bit finer but you can certainly leave it a little chunkier if preferred. Do give it a try.