A very common dish found on street carts here in Indonesia is Gado Gado, a vegetarian dish that will stick to your ribs and keep you full for the whole day. Also, it is quick and cheap so that is always a plus. It’s relatively healthy and you can mix and match your vegetables or go light on the peanut sauce as you wish. The below recipe is nothing short of authentic and it makes 2 to 3 servings – enjoy!
112 g / 4 oz cabbage or spring greens, shredded
225 g / 8 oz French beans, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
112 g / 4 oz cauliflower florets
112 g / 4 oz beansprouts, washed
For the garnish:
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
1 medium-size potato, boiled in its skin, then peeled and sliced;
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced or tomato
1 tbsp crisp-fried onions
Handful of croutons or fried tofu
For the Dressing, Peanut Sauce:
Makes about 280 ml / 1 cups of sauce – can also be used for chicken satay or other grilled meats
112 ml / 4 fl oz vegetable oil
225 g / 8 oz raw peanuts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
Tsp of of shrimp paste (optional)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
450 ml / 16 fl oz water
1 tbsp tamarind water or juice of a lemon
For the sauce: Stir-fry the peanuts for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain in a colander, and leave to cool. Then pound or grind the nuts into a fine powder, using a blender, coffee grinder, or pestle and mortar. Discard the oil, except for 1 tablespoonful.
Crush the garlic, shallots and shrimp paste in a mortar with a little salt, and fry in the remaining oil for 1 minute. Add the chili powder, sugar, soy sauce and water. Bring this to a boil, then add the ground peanuts. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes thick; this should take about 8-10 minutes. Add the tamarind water or lemon juice and more salt if needed.
When cool, keep in a jar in the fridge. Reheat as required for use, the sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Instructions for Gado Gado:
Boil the vegetables separately in slightly salted water, for 3-4 minutes, except the beansprouts which only need 2 minutes. Drain each vegetable separately in a colander.
To serve, pile the vegetables in the middle of the dish. Arrange the eggs, sliced potatoes, croutons / fried tofu and sliced cucumber on top.
Heat a small amount (dress according to your likes) of peanut sauce in a small saucepan until hot; add more water if it is too thick. Pour the sauce over the vegetables. mix and sprinkle the fried onions on top. Serve warm or cold. If you want to serve it hot, gado-gado, it can be reheated in a microwave oven but tastes better freshly mixed. Add these garnishes immediately before serving. Enjoy!