Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gado-gado (blanched vegetable with sweet and spicy peanut sauce)

There was a problem with our menu these days: too much meat, not enough vegetables. Even he (the real meat eater) happily agreed when I told him that I would make this Gado-gado to make up for our fiberless days.
For Indonesian, gado-gado is served with rice or rice cake as a main dish. But without the rice, you probably would think of it as a kind of vegetable salad dressed with spicy peanut sauce.
Before I forget, you might want to check out peanut sauce recipes at Jun`s Indochine Kitchen and Ellie`s Almost Bourdain as their sauces look pretty fabulous. Although some steps in the preparation are slightly different, I actually tried to follow their ingredients the best I can with what I have here.

Put fried (or roasted) peanuts in a food processor, pour in some coconut milk (to help process it) and whiz up.
I added salt too, but I can`t really remember why I did it. Just stick with peanut and coconut milk and you`ll be fine.

After it turned smoother and creamy, set aside.

Now prepare the spice paste using garlic, onion, chilies, ginger, and candlenuts and then saute the paste in a bit of oil. Add kaffir lime leaves (I didn`t include it in this picture), tamarind juice (I used Indian tamarind paste), star anise, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, and cardamom. Lots of spices, I know. You can always make it simpler with your own choice of spices and seasoning.

 Pour in the processed peanut and remaining coconut milk and cook on low heat.

It will take a while to reduce the sauce and you need to stir it frequently. The thicker you want the sauce to be, the longer you need to cook it. This sauce is usually cooked until the oil separates from the sauce, but I`m not patient this time. Don`t be like me.
When you get the consistency right, season with salt, palm sugar, fish sauce, and pepper. This sauce is kind of sweet (and spicy, of course), so sugar is used not only to balance the saltiness, but to make it sweet.
Compared with Jun`s and Ellie`s, this sauce is a pale and thinner version. Not that I purposely made it that way, though.

 Done with the sauce, continue with the vegetables. Bean sprouts, blanch it.

Green beans (???) This is humiliating, but I honestly don`t know if I use the correct name. Feel free to scream at me.

Cucumber, just cut it, please.

 Fresh tomatoes, cut it too.

Boiled eggs, halve them. Did you know that I`m horrible at peeling boiled eggs? So I bought peeled boiled (quail) eggs. Life is good.

Gado-gado recipe usually calls for boiled potatoes, but I used baked ones. Easier for me to prepare. I mixed the potatoes with a bit of olive oil, salt, and black pepper and baked it at 190 C for 20 mins. Again, life is really good.

Get a plate and arrange those vegetables and friends on it. There is actually another vegetable usually used in gado-gado, which is blanched cabbage, but I substitute it for lettuce. And I added fried tofu too. Calories oh calories.

After finished with the arranging, drizzle the peanut sauce and also kecap manis over it. Serve it with shrimp chips, fried onion, and lemon wedge. By all means, please use the lemon as there`s a big difference of yumminess with it.

I finished this whole plate by myself. And I couldn`t move. Because I was too heavy happy to move.

Peanut sauce
Fried or roasted peanuts
Coconut milk
Chilies (use fresh red chilies if possible)
Kaffir lime leaves
Tamarind paste
Palm sugar
Fish sauce

Bean sprouts, blanched
Green beans, blanched
Boiled eggs
Potatoes, boiled or baked
Fried tofu
Shrimp chips
Fried onion
Kecap manis
Lemon wedge


  1. Yum! Love this and anything with peanut sauce! :)

  2. I have the same cravings after eating too much meat. This salad sounds like the perfect antidote. Very colorful!

  3. ahem, I am spoiled with the availability of ready made gado gado dressing paste. Can't believe i am still too lazy to blanch various veggies and make gado gado heheheh