Food Hack: Cyma’s Roka Salata

Words: Rich Tuason/Photography: Mylene Chung/Styling and Photography: Katherine Jao/July 25, 2012

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Ancient Greece is known for wars of literally epic proportions, colossal monsters, god-human copulating, and of course heroes with bodies sculpted out of marble. Oh and it’s also known for being the birthplace of many things like the marathon, the Olympics, democracy, philosophy, mathematics, tragedy, comedy, and whatever else is in Wikipedia.

Nowadays and to us here on the opposite side of the world, Greece is known for its beautiful beaches, healthy and hearty cuisine, hot male models, God of War, and its alphabet contributing to fraternities and sororities all over the world. (Let’s be optimistic and completely overlook their economic crisis, ok?)

Then there’s Cyma, the restaurant that popularized Greek cuisine (with debatable authenticity) to our tropical shores.

Besides good Greek food and screaming waiters waving fiery plates, Cyma is known for mammoth-sized servings and wallet-weeping prices. For example, their famous salad, Roka Salata originally costs a whopping P330 for a “solo” serving. “To share” would cost P495, and a Family-sized bowl is P690. They forgot to include an arm and a leg while they were at it.

Perhaps this glorious salad directly comes from Mount Olympus and is prepared by the goddess of the harvest.

Being that we are of humble origins and we haven’t found a way to create a plant that constantly bears P1000 bills for fruit in order for us to partake in a complete meal at Cyma, we decided to take a crack at that blessed salad to start us off. And boy, did we come up with something revolutionary!

Humility aside, we honestly got a 100% Hackability on this one. Fine, maybe 99% if Cyma gets their ingredients from some obscure, expensive, and hipster supplier (or Mount Olympus). Luckily for you and me, the ingredients here came from regular, local groceries.

So, consider this an invitation to partake in showing the gods that you can prepare a perfectly perfect salad without offering the season’s harvest at an ancient temple. With a recipe like this, we imagine a shudder going through the Olympus’ kitchens as mortals successfully recreate this godly dish in their own kitchens.

Cyma’s Roka Salata Food Hack

Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients for the Roka Salata

  • 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
  • 2-3 tbsp Greek vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Ingredients for the Walnut Praline/Candied Walnuts

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Ingredients for the Greek Vinaigrette

  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Procedure for Walnut Praline/Candied Walnuts

  1. Melt sugar in a pan, heat until it caramelizes.
  2. Turn off fire and toss in walnuts.
  3. Transfer to a foiled tray.
  4. Cool and break into pieces.
  5. Store in an air tight container.

Procedure for Greek Vinaigrette

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients until well incorporated.
  2. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.

Assembly

  1. Put arugula and chopped lettuce in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
  3. Sprinkle with the walnuts and sun dried tomatoes.
  4. Toss greens.
  5. Transfer to a plate and top with shaved parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Chop lettuce prior to serving, never do it in earlier or in advance to avoid discoloration.

 

cymarokasalata

Rich Tuason

Rich Tuason is mainly a graphic designer and photographer who believes in magical creatures and the intangible. She probably is acataleptic (in reference to acatalepsy), but would prefer not to be labeled because she can be a hipster like that. She likes to write silly stories, which may or may not be real--depending on your perception. See More.

  • Thirdy Aquino

    “3 cups chopped romaine
    1 cup arugula
    1/4 cup sundried tomatoes”
    Where can I get these? :)) Thanks!

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      You can get those in supermarkets nationwide.:D Romaine is a type of lettuce, it’s pretty common in groceries, Arugula too (you can usually find these in the herbs section), Sundried tomatoes come in jars (so look for it in the canned or jarred preserves section). Enjoy!:D

    • Zhayne

      Not sure about the arugula, but you can buy the romaine (lettuce) and the sundried tomatoes in the vegetables section of your local grocery store or super market. :)

    • kitkat

       Hi, you can also check the saturday and sunday market which sells various greens during the weekend. :)

    • http://findingfragments.wordpress.com/ Mikka Wee

      Salad Time has this variety that includes Mixed Greens and Arugula in the same pack! Try checking it out. It should be available in most leading groceries. :) They also have the Romaine and Arugula packed separately, too! Sundried tomatoes are available in all groceries, also. :) 

    • http://findingfragments.wordpress.com/ Mikka Wee

      Salad Time has this variety that includes Mixed Greens and Arugula in the same pack! Try checking it out. It should be available in most leading groceries. :) They also have the Romaine and Arugula packed separately, too! Sundried tomatoes are available in all groceries, also. :) 

  • http://blog.happysarah.net/ sarah mamaril

    You had me at “God of War” hrhrhr *cough closet gaming geek cough* 

    Alright excuse me, lemme run to the wet market and grab a bunch of fresh Romaine (yay for living in Baguio) 

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      lol!! This is Cratos’ favorite salad then! heehee!! Enjoy Sarah! Hope you like the recipe!:D We’d appreciate any form of feedback:D

      • Jose Angeles

        Kratos** :-)

  • Nico Goco

    romaine lettuce is available in most groceries :) arugula too, i think SM carries this as well. getting a wedge of Parmesan may be a bit tougher (and more expensive) though, but well worth it. some delis should carry these :)

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      You can try Santis for the wedged Parmesan. But you can use the fresh shredded Parmesan. Unimart has it, I’m just not sure with the other groceries.:)

      • Nico Goco

        Thanks, I’ll give this a go :)

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Hi Nico! You can find Parmesan blocks in leading supermarkets, though it may be a bit expensive. :)

  • kitkat

    This is AWESOME. Gonna Make this on Friday!!! Thanks for sharing…. Love the pic.

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Thanks Kitkat!! Tell us what you think once you’ve tried it!:D

      • kitkat

        YOUR RECIPE FOR THIS SALAD ROCKS!!!  PREPARED THIS LAST SUNDAY AND IT WAS A SURE HIT!!! Sarap at Ubos! – This recipe is for keeps! Gonna prep this on every special occasions! Thank you, PEPPER!!!

        • http://twitter.com/richtuason Rich Tuason

          WOOHOO!!! Diba diba diba diba diba? Thanks for trying it out! :D

  • Coca_Garlet

    I enjoyed reading the article! (dami kong tawa) I’m sure my inner goddess will also enjoy eating this hackie. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      haha Glad you enjoyed it Coca!! See you around!!:D

  • MinQ

    One of the cooks of Cyma works during his off days for a colleague of mine (sideline).  Cook didn’t want to give recipe for Roka Salata but Colleague of course had to buy the ingredients.  Colleague observed Cook while he made the dressing.  Your recipe for the dressing is very, very close!  But Cook adds 60g of feta cheese to the dressing.

    Here’s the recipe that Colleague scribbled while “spying” on Cook.  Colleague based the measurements of the ingredients on what was left after Cook had finished making the dressing:

    1 250 ml bottle balsamic
    vinegar

    ½ of a 1000gm bottle of honey
    (or 500gm)

    ½ liter olive oil pomace (Dona Elena brand)

    1/3 of a 180g pack of feta
    cheese (or 60g)

    salt and pepper to taste

    Shocker for me was that Cyma uses olive oil pomace.  I guess you gotta cut corners somewhere :-)
    Hope this comment doesn’t get any of the Cooks fired for making sideline.

    • http://findingfragments.wordpress.com/ Mikka Wee

      This is awesome! Thanks for the info, MinQ! :) 

    • http://findingfragments.wordpress.com/ Mikka Wee

      This is awesome! Thanks for the info, MinQ! :) 

    • http://twitter.com/richtuason Rich Tuason

      WE LOVE YOU FOREVER <3

  • Chaba

    love your food hacks.. hope you can do an amici pollo arostito – roast chicken hack one of these days.. =>

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Thanks Chaba! Will consider that for our future posts. :)

  • Fanny Co

    You didn’t say how much it actually cost you to put together that salad, I would imagine it would have been more than the PhP 330 given the copious ingredients.  But if you’re going to make it for a huge gathering, then absolutely it makes sense :).  I love that salad btw and thanks for the run down.

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Yes it would really cost more tha 330 cos this is a bigger batch. :) thanks Fanny!

  • Earl

    Rarely enjoyed eating salad, but I could literally live on Cyma’s Roka Salata. It’s prohibitive price prevents me from enjoying this salad as often as I would’ve wanted to. Tried this today and the recipe was awesome! Closer than I would’ve hopped for. Now I keep a vinaigrette stash in my ref. Thanks pepper.ph!

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      So glad to hear that Earl! :) We’re happy.

  • Bee

    i love this salad; thank you for sharing! but i love the lamb and watermelon one even more :D think that might be a similar recipe?

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Hi Bee! Will look into that. :)

  • Anthony C. Monteiro

    For the vinaigrette, I read in yummy magazine where chef rocco of cyma shared the recipe, he adds crushed or chopped garlic

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Thanks for this Anthony! :)

  • Arthur

    Hey guys! You think you can food hack Cyma’s porkchop? They are by far the best porkchops that i’ve tasted in the non-fried porkchop category.

    • Mikka Wee

      Haven’t tried, but we’ll keep that in mind! Thanks for the suggestion, Arthur!

  • tresDelicieux

    This is Hamazing!!!! I was so amazed how close it came from the original. My husband couldnt believe I made it! He actually looked at the trash for the take out box! And he found none thanks to you!!! Please please please food hack omakase’s dynamite roll!!! :)

  • http://zombienovela.tumblr.com Zombie C.

    I have a dry packed sun dried tomatoes. Should I “hydrate” it first by soaking it in olive oil or no need? Thanks!

  • Mia

    Does this use yellow hotdog mustard or maybe Dijon? Thanks!

  • MariteCastro

    Thank you so much for sharing! We tried this when we were in Israel as all the ingredients are readily available in the Carmel market. We found raspberry balsamic vinaigrette and it was superb!

  • katrina

    Please also do one for Cyma’s Watercress salad!! It’s really good :-)

  • Anna

    Please do one for their ruc stuffed bell peppers!

    • Anna

      *rice

  • Catherine Tupas-Sison Redondo

    OMG! We tried this tonight! It’s incredible! It was THE SAME! It may have been even better because it’s homemade!

    Cyma is a once in a year treat for us. 5k is always what we shell out. We only order this salad, lamb chops and dessert. So today, we went to Santis to buy Lampchops (Php156 per 100grams)! What can I say? My Italian American brother in law was raving all throughout dinner!

    HE could not believe we were able to do an amazing 30 minute meal at home! Thank you again! I will be eternally thankful!

  • lara

    please do the spinach and artichoke fondue :D