Gado Gado is another dish that belongs to the top 5 national dishes of Indonesia, as declared by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism. To me Gado Gado is the king of all salads from Southeast Asia and can be enjoyed as a side dish or an entree all by itself. What makes this dish so special is the combination of vegetables and proteins, all well coated in a thick, spiced peanut dressing and topped off with crumbled krupuk for crunch. This way a wide range of flavors and textures are represented. Gado Gado is the best performing star in a range of different and popular Indonesian salads, deserving of more attention and praise. For more background about Gado Gado & Friends, check here.
Some vegetables are available pre-packaged ranging from 7-10 oz.
1 small cabbage, (or pre-shredded in bag)
7 oz. green beans
7 oz. fresh spinach
7 oz. taugé (bean sprouts)
1 large russet potato
1 English cucumber
1 block of extra firm tofu (bean curd)
Krupuk – shrimp crackers (Dutch import market / Asian grocery store)
Neutral frying oil (Vegetable or Canola – NO OLIVE)
2 tbsp oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 jar 8 oz/225gr organic peanut butter – crunchy optional
3.5 oz / 100 gr palm sugar
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fish oil – or a tsp of terasi (fermented shrimp paste)
1 tsp tamarind juice or make with pulp soaked in 4 tbsp warm water vinegar
1 lime – juice
1 tbsp of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) or make yourself – see below
2 cup hot water
PREPARE THE PEANUT SAUCE
- Heat the oil, and fry the shallots and garlic until translucent.
- Add 1 tsp sambal, 1 tsp terasi and while stirring,
- Add the peanut butter and lemon juice.
- 5 oz / 100 gr palm sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fish oil – or a tsp of terasi (fermented shrimp paste)
- 1 tsp tamarind juice or make with pulp soaked in 4 tbsp warm water vinegar
- 1 lime – juice
- 1 tbsp of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) or make yourself – see below
- Add 2 cups of water and ad more if sauce gets too thick — it should not be too thick nor too thin.
- Simmer over low heat, and continue stirring to prevent burning.
- Add sugar and salt to taste; the sauce should be a little on the sweet side.
- Consistency like thick gravy.
PREPARE THE VEGETABLES
- Optional: Drain the tofu and deep-fry until golden brown – drain on paper towel
- Cut the cucumber length wise and slice in half moons
- Peel and dice the potato and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes
- Boil eggs – put eggs in pan with water. As soon as water boils take of heat source. Cover with lid and set aside for 10 minutes. Peel the eggs and cut in quarters lengthwise.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the vegetables separately,
- beans and cabbage for 3 minutes each
- and spinach and bean sprouts (can be served raw too) 1 minute; do not overcook, they should remain bright and crisp.
- Remove from the pan with a spider (perforated ladle), drain in a colander, and set aside. Bring the water to a boil before adding each new vegetable.
- Lay it all out on a dish.
- Before serving take a spoon full of each item and put it in bowl. Add peanut dressing and mix the vegetables until all ingredients are well coated with the sauce.
- Serve in bowl or on a plate.
PLATING – Optional garnish:
Serve the mixed vegetables over the rice cakes. Garnish with quartered eggs around the plate and top it off with some crumbled krupuk and deep fried shallots (sold at the Asian supermarket).
TIP: Serve with lontong (glutinous compressed rice cakes). Chill the lontong, then cut into 1 inch slices / cubes. Place some lontong slices in the center of a serving platter. Build with vegetables mix and sauce. See for topping above.
Vegan? Replace the terasi with 1⁄2 cube mushroom or no-beef stock or miso and the krupuk udang with emping (plant-based krupuk made from melinjo nuts).
Gado Gado is a popular street food in Indonesian. Watch this for an impression.