To my regret, I have yet to visit Indonesia. The closest I’ve managed to get so far is watching The Year of Living Dangerously – and eating delicious Indonesian dishes like gado gado.
Making gado gado is all about the preparation – boiling potatoes and eggs, steaming green beans, blanching cabbage and beansprouts, frying the tempeh, and achieving a perfect balance of flavours in your peanut sauce. After that, simply a matter of a few moments to pile everything on a plate and tuck in.
(serves 4 generously)
- 4 small potatoes
- 4 eggs
- a large handful of green beans
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 2 cups white cabbage, thinly shredded
- 2 fried tofu puffs (optional)
- 2 Tb sunflower oil
- 1 block of tempeh, cut into 1/2″ strips
- 1 Tb dark soy sauce (or ketjap manis)
- half an English cucumber, cut into long strips
- 500g baby spinach
- prawn crackers to garnish
For the spicy peanut sauce:
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
- about 1/2 cup of coconut milk
- 1 Tb tamarind paste
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- juice of half a lime
- sambal oelek (or other chilli sauce) to taste
- Place the potatoes and eggs in a small pot. Bring to the boil, and cook until the potatoes are soft and the eggs are hard. Drain, rinse under cold water, and slice.
- Steam the green beans, drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling bowl. Add the bean sprouts, blanch for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. Rinse under cold water and set aside.
- Now add the cabbage to the boiling water. Blanch for about three minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
- Wash the tofu puffs under hot water to remove excess oil. Pat dry with paper towel and slice into strips.
- Heat the sunflower oil in frying pan over medium heat. Brush the tempeh slices with ketjap manis (or soy sauce) and frying until crisp and browned. Place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.
- To make the peanut sauce, mix together the peanut butter, coconut milk, tamarind paste, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice and chilli sauce. The sauce should be thick, but pourable – adjust the balance of coconut milk and peanut butter to achieve the right consistency, and balance the other flavours to your liking.
- To assemble the gado gado, first place a mound of spinach leaves in the centre of a dinner plate. Cover it with the vegetables, eggs, tofu and tempeh. Top with a scoop of peanut sauce and arrange prawn crackers round the edge of the plate.