Food & Drink

T+L Michelin Masters Recipe: Edible Garden City Rojak

Chef Han Li Guang of Labyrinth in Singapore is a locavore champion with a Michelin star. No wonder his version of the classic Indo-Malay dish rojak is the prettiest we’ve ever seen. Read on for the super green recipe.

By Christian Barker

Oct 28, 2021

ALTHOUGH THE LOCAL FOOD OF SINGAPORE is renowned around the world, remarkably few of the Michelin-starred restaurants in the city-state traffic in what could be called Singaporean cuisine. One eatery where an elevated take on Singapore staples forms the core of the menu is Labyrinth, which is situated, appropriately enough, within the Esplanade — the theater complex that famously resembles a durian fruit. 

michelin masters
Chef Han Li Guang

Carrying a Michelin star, Labyrinth restaurant is helmed by chef Han Li Guang. Han underwent a culinary epiphany a few years ago that caused him to reappraise the quality of local produce and evolve Labyrinth’s menu from its previous molecular incarnation. Since 2018, the restaurant has focused on Singaporean cuisine made using between 60 and 90 percent of ingredients sourced from within Singapore. 

Recognizing Han’s dedication to green, locavore cuisine, this year, Labyrinth made its debut on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list at No. 40, and also took the organization’s Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award for 2021. “By fighting for and championing all things Singaporean – heritage, culture, tradition, artists, food, community, farmers, produce – I want to make people overseas see what Singapore has to offer and make our culture as notable as the more famous ones around the world,” Han says.

Depending upon availability of produce, Labyrinth’s menu might include inventive versions of Singapore signatures including chili crab, chicken rice, kaya toast, nasi lemak and laksa. It also tends to include what Han calls his “homage to the local farmers” — a rojak whose secret recipe is a dozen Singapore-grown herbs and vegetables. Originating in Indonesia and Malaysia, the “eclectic mix” of the rojak salad has come to be considered emblematic of Singapore’s multicultural makeup, and Han’s recipe is both elevated and down to earth. Here is his eye-pleasing interpretation of this deliciously meaningful meal. 

RECIPE:

Edible Garden City Rojak
(Serves 6 people)

michelin masters
From the Soil—Rojak

Jackfruit Mousse Sauce

Ingredients
Jackfruit 240g
Milk 120g
Sugar 65g
Corn starch 28g
Yolks 80g
Butter 28g

Method
1. Mix sugar, corn-starch and yolks together to form a paste.
2. Bring milk and jackfruit mixture to a boil, and then pour in a thin stream into the first mixture be careful not to pour too fast when you start.
3. The mixture should turn softer and watery. At this point, return the mixture to the pot and continue cooking with a spatula scraping the bottom of the pot regularly to ensure that the mixture does not curdle.
4. The mixture is ready once it thickens, to almost porridge like consistency. At this point add in the butter and stir regularly.
5. Store covered with a clingfilm in contact with the mixture.

Rojak Sauce

Ingredients
Stingless bee honey 250g
Fermented Shrimp paste “Hei Go” 1tbsp
Calamansi Juice (As needed)

Method
In a small saucepan, warm the honey up and whisk the shrimp paste in. Once the shrimp paste has mixed well, cool down the mixture and add calamansi juice according to your own preference.

Toasted Peanuts

Ingredients
Crushed Peanuts 200g

Method
Toast in an oven at 140-160° C til lightly brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool down and store in an airtight container

Sliced Ginger Flowers

Ingredients
Ginger flowers

Method
1. Remove stems, split down the middle, and remove white core.
2. Finely slice all the remaining fragrant petals.

Dough Fritters

Ingredients
Store-bought – 1 piece

Method
Cut into thin slices and give it a quick deep fry, set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil

Salad Leaves and Petals

Ingredients
** 20g of each, mixed together and divided equally into 6 portions **
Okinawan Spinach
Purple Basil
Mexican Tarragon (Leaves and Flowers)
Moringa
Cat Whiskers
Indian Borage
White and Blue Pea Flowers
Marigold Flowers
Lemongrass (finely sliced)

Method
1. “We work with Edible Garden City, our partner grower directly,” Han says. “But we understand that home-cooking requires ease of execution and so this recipe should be done with that in mind.” Meaning: try to find as much as you can on this list or substitute with your favorites.
2. Do check with your florist to ensure no pesticide was used, if procuring from one.
3. Wash and drain all salad leaves. Set on paper towels in a chiller 20 minutes before usage for better results as it ensures leaves are dryer.

Assembly

1. Spoon a spoonful of jackfruit mousse onto the plate and create a small divot for the shrimp paste sauce. Layer with the shrimp paste sauce to create a base
3. Follow with texture layer of dough fritters, crushed peanuts, and finely sliced ginger flowers.
4. Finish by layering the rest of the ingredients over the top of the base, starting with the diced jackfruit, leaves and then edible flowers.

If you enjoyed chef Han Li Guang’s rojak recipe, check out the rest of our Michelin Masters series.

All photos courtesy of Labyrinth.

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