Gado Gado

Gado Gado

Literally translating as ‘mix mix’, this refreshing vegetable, tofu,
potato and egg salad dressed with a spicy peanut sauce is the
Indonesian street food of choice, eaten throughout the day.

Origins
Many central ingredients in modern-day Indonesian cooking – particularly chilli and nuts – were brought to Indonesia by the Spanish and Portuguese around the 16th century. While nobody can trace the origins of gado gado, it's not hard to imagine it thrown together with available seasonal vegetables, dressed with something spicy. Indonesian chef William Wongso says it's ‘probably been around for as long as we’ve had nuts and chillies.’

You’ll need
Salad
75g (3oz) bean sprouts
100g (3½oz) green beans, cut
into 5cm (2in) lengths
200g (7oz) cabbage, sliced
thinly
250g (9oz) tofu, fried till
golden, quartered
2 eggs, boiled, quartered
1 medium cucumber,
quartered lengthways then
sliced into 3cm (11/4in)
pieces
2 stalks Chinese celery, finely
chopped
2 spring onions (scallions),
finely chopped
20g (1oz) krupuk (prawn
crackers)

Peanut Sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
10 bird’s-eye chillies
20g (1oz) gula melaka (palm
sugar)
½ tsp salt
200g (7oz) peanuts, roasted
½ tbs shrimp paste
1 lime, juiced (or equivalent
tamarind juice)
½ tbs kecap manis (sweet soy
sauce)
1½ cups (375mL) water

Optional
Fried tempeh, sliced into
bite-size portions

Cooking Method
1 For the sauce, grind the garlic, chillies, gula melaka, salt, peanuts and shrimp paste with a mortar and pestle until coarse. You can blitz this mixture in the food processor if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.
2 Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the lime juice and kecap manis and mix well.
3 Slowly add the water, stirring the mixture at the same time. The sauce should have a gluggy consistency and not be too watery.
4 Prepare your salad by blanching the bean sprouts and green beans until they are cooked but still have crunch.
5 Combine all the salad ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Add the peanut sauce, stir through to coat and serve.
6 Serve the krupuk on the side to crumble over the salad just before eating.

Tasting notes
There’s something authentic about wandering into a warung (small, family-run eatery) in Indonesia and not having to decipher a menu in Bahasa Indonesian because it’s so easy to say, ‘Gado gado satu, terimah kasih’ (‘One gado gado, thank you’). The salad is a study in texture and a medley of flavours. The base is simultaneously warm (blanched veggies) and cold (fresh vegies), soft yet crunchy and the topping of krupuk (fried prawn crackers, a bit like potato chips on steroids) adds a crispy savoury bite. The peanut sauce that binds the dish together has a rich roasted nuttiness that’s sweet, sour, spicy and crunchy all at the same time – just try not to lick your plate when you’re done.

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