Gado Gado is what I need! I’m in a bit of a food rut this week. The prolonged rainy season in Jakarta has stopped me springing out of bed for my early morning ‘lari pagi’ ‘morning run’ (actually it is more like a trot) and I have been eating way too much cake…so this week it’s all about ‘upping’ my veggie intake, getting back on track and making one of Indonesia’s most famous, and might I add one of their healthiest dishes, Gado Gado to lift my spirits!
8 yard-long beans or 16 french beans cut into 1 cm lengths
1 large bunch of Kangkung (local spinach)
1-2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced into sticks
2 cobs of corn, boiled in their skin, then peeled and sliced
1 bunch of kemangi (lemon basil)
2 medium potatoes
4 eggs peeled and quartered
1 package tempeh (soy product made by a fermentation process, that binds soybeans into a cake form)
1 package firm tofu (beancurd)
1 large handful of washed bean sprouts
2 cucumbers, sliced thinly
4 small limes, jeruk nipis are the best
1 bag of krupuk (prawn crackers) or emping crackers
1. Blanch vegetables in slightly salted water for 3-4 minutes, except the bean sprouts, which only need 2 minutes. Drain them in a colander and keep warm.
2. Soak the tempe and tofu in a bath of water, chopped garlic and salt. Dry with paper towel then shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden brown.
3. Heat the peanut sauce in a small saucepan until hot; stir in a little hot water if it is too thick. Adjust the seasoning, and pour the sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the crackers, just before you bring the gado-gado to table. It can be served warm or cold.
4. To serve: Pile the cooked vegetables in the middle of the dish. Arrange as you desire. Alternatively, serve the sauce and the garnishes separately for your guests to help themselves.
The quantities below will make about 430 ml of Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup good vegetable oil
1 cup raw peanuts with their reddish skins
3 cups hot water
2-3 large red chillies, de-seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Palm sugar, a 3 cm chunk, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tamarind water (made from a 2 cm chunk of fresh tamarind mixed with water) or lime juice
1/2 tsp salt, and more later
2 tbsp oil
4 kaffir leaves
200 ml coconut milk
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok and fry the peanuts, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Take them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on a tray lined with absorbent paper. Discard the oil. Leave the peanuts to cool, then grind them in a blender to a fine powder.
2. Stir fry the chilli, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves for 2-3 minutes to release the flavours.
3. To make the paste, put all the ingredients into a food processor, or use a traditional mortar and pestle and blend until smooth. Now is the time to add the coconut milk
4. Transfer the paste to a saucepan and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 4 minutes. Add the hot water, and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.
5. Bring the liquid to the boil and add the ground peanuts. Stir, and continue to cook the sauce for 4-5 minutes or longer, until you get the thickness you prefer for your sauce. Adjust the seasoning.
- Substitute and adjust the vegetables to your liking, there are no rules when it comes to choice of vegetables in Gado Gado.
- Leave out the fried stuff if you prefer, and use the peanut sauce sparingly.
- Gado Gado can be eaten hot or cold.
- You can keep the peanut sauce in the fridge until needed; it will keep for up to a week. It can also be frozen. Thaw it out completely before re-heating in a saucepan. You may need to add more hot water and continue heating it until you get the right consistency.
Recipe Credit: Ibu Mina
Gado Gado Ingredients
Making the Peanut Sauce
Preparing the vegetables
Words: Liz and Ibu Mina Photography: a journey bespoke
Do you have a recipe that is an instant mood booster, feel free to share.