Gado Gado is an Indonesian Salad consisting of lightly blanched or steamed vegetables, hard boiled eggs & tofu (or tempeh) – all drizzled with a creamy peanut dressing. I had never actually tasted it until this past weekend when visiting my son and daughter-in-law in Boston. They are great cooks and are always experimenting with exotic ethic dishes. They served us Gado Gado and it was so delicious that I decided to try it myself and put it on the blog.
I did a little research first and I noticed that most of the recipes I saw had certain ingredients in common. They were tofu (or tempeh), potatoes, green beans, carrots, cabbage and peanut dressing. Some recipes also called for brown rice or noodles, as well as other vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes. But from what I could tell you can use your imagination, be creative and choose whatever vegetables you want to add.
The word Gado-Gado means “mix-mix” or “potpourri” which refers to all the different seasonal vegetables that can be used in it. I feel it lends itself to spring or summer because of the green beans, baby potatoes and hard boiled eggs, and the fact it that it is served cold. It is a healthy one-dish meal with a wide variety of colorful vegetables, as well as protein packed tofu & eggs – so it is right up my alley!
I wanted a beautiful array of colors, so here is the combination of vegetables that I decided to use:
- 1 container of tofu (drained, pressed and sliced)
- 3 – 4 hard boiled eggs
- 2 cups of green beans (lightly blanched)
- 1 cup of shredded or sliced cabbage (I love the color of red)
- 6 – 8 baby potatoes (boiled until a knife easily pierces through)
- 1/2 cup of sliced tomatoes
- 2 carrots or a cucumber (sliced or shaved)
- 1 red or yellow pepper (sliced)
- 3 – 4 radishes (thinly sliced or grated)
- 1 cup of mung bean sprouts (I could not find these but they are a nice addition)
- 1 – 2 cups of fresh spinach
- 2 – 3 cups of cooked rice or Asian style noodles
To Prepare the Salad:
* Hard boil the eggs in simmering water for ten minutes. Immerse in ice water after cooking. Put in the refridgerator while preparing the rest of the meal.
* Make a few cups of brown rice or Asian noodles and set them aside.
* blanch the green beans in a skillet of boiling water and cook for a minute or two. You want them still slightly crunchy. Then quickly drain the beans and put them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and to maintain their green color.
* Boil the baby potatoes in water until a knife inserts easily.
* Drain the tofu and using a paper towel press out the excess water. Slice into 8 pieces and fry in a TB. of peanut oil until lightly browned. A few splashes of soy sauce adds a nice flavor and color. When cool, cut them into strips.
Peanut Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 TB. of fresh grated ginger (or dry ginger spice)
- juice of 1 – 2 limes
- 1 cup of smooth peanut butter
- 2 TB. of soy sauce
- red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1 TB. of brown sugar
To Make the Peanut Sauce:
Put the peanut butter, grated ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, and pepper flakes into a blender. Blend by pulsing until smooth and creamy. Transfer the sauce into a small bowl. Add water a little at a time to get the right consistency (so you can drizzle it- but not drippy)
To Prepare the Salad:
The most time consuming part of this salad is really just the cutting, cooking, and preparing of the vegetables and then arranging them artfully. Part of making a beautiful and interesting looking salad is to mix up the shapes and sizes of each vegetable in a pleasing way.
1 cup of shrimp chips (optional)
1/3 cup of crushed peanuts
chopped basil or cilantro
Gado Gado is a dish that allows the people eating it to take as much of each ingredient that they like. So just set out plates and utensils and let them go at it. Set a dish of extra peanut sauce on the table or in the center of your serving tray.
Let everyone arrange the cooked and raw vegetables, tofu and eggs on a plate. Then they can drizzle a little of the peanut sauce over everything.