Gado Gado by its name, means ‘potpourri’ and it is just that – a collection of any raw or blanched vegetables, sometimes with rice or noodles, tofu or tempeh, drizzled in a delicious, spicy peanut sauce. It is a vegetarian’s delight. If you opt out of eggs, it is even vegan.
Imagine street food carts in Jakarta, hawking a custom-made salad like this. If their most popular food is a salad, you can expect that the rest of Indonesian food is healthy so I am intrigued by this and will explore more Indonesian recipes.
Two weeks ago, my friend Zen invited four of us ladies to have a light dinner at her house. This is what she served along with quinoa. Salads and oven-broiled fish and friendly light chatter made for a very nice evening. I took some pictures but the lighting was not good so I had to recreate the dish. See for yourself.
A Bit Of History
Gado Gado is believed to have come from the Western part of Java. Nowadays it is served by street vendors and fine restaurants alike. It is very similar to lotek atah which uses all-raw vegetables but with the same peanut sauce. If you know Thai satay sauce, you will find this very familiar. The difference is satay sauce usually has coconut milk, tamarind and lemongrass.
Best Gado Gado Recipe
A collection of any raw or blanched vegetables, sometimes with rice or noodles, tofu or tempeh, served with a delicious, spicy peanut sauce. It is loved by vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
- 2 pc carrot
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 pc cucumber
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 bunch round radish
- 1 pc pc jicama not shown
- 1 package firm tofu
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup natural peanut butter grind your own if possible
- 1/4 cup sriracha sauce chili sauce
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 tsp soy sauce optional
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric optional
Wrap tofu in paper towel to dry it up. Wait 20 minutes.
Slice tofu into 1/2 inch thick rectangles
Coat tofu with cornstarch. Season with salt and ground black pepper
Fry tofu slices in a pan with 1 tbsp cooking oil until browned on both sides
Let sit on paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil
Cut up carrots and green beans into strips like in the picture.
Blanch green beans and carrots and sprouts.
Set water to boiling, add green beans and carrots. Remove with slotted spoon after 2 minutes
add sprouts, remove after 1 minute
Slice radish and peeled cucumbers into rounds.
To make the peanut sauce:
Mix peanut butter, sriracha, garlic. Soy sauce and sugar.
Mix and thin with hot water until fully blended. Add more water until consistency is good for you.
Season to taste.
Arrange vegetables in a plate. Serve with dipping bowl of peanut sauce. Add crunchy rice crackers if desired.
What is Sriracha Sauce?
In recent years, the popularity of this sauce has surged. There are now a lot of recipes which include sriracha sauce in some fashion. This is a type of hot sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic. The name comes from the place it came from originally, the coastal city of Si Racha in Eastern Thailand.
This was probably used to season the seafood dishes normally served in that coastal town. Nowadays, this sauce is used for almost everything.
This is a mild hot sauce and even my kids like it. My son calls it ‘rooster sauce’.
How to Serve Gado Gado
A picture is worth a thousand words. Be as artistic as you can when serving this colorful salad. It is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Very Instagram-worthy.
Health Benefits of Gado Gado
I don’t have to list out all the health benefits of all the vegetables you can use here. There are plenty – antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer benefits. Needless to say, vegetables are good for us and they prevent lots of diseases. Eat the rainbow.
Sprouts are seeds that have germinated and have started to become young plants. Sprouting increases nutrient levels and helps control blood sugar, improve digestion, improve heart health. The only thing is because they are commonly eaten raw, you have to make sure they are clean and fresh to avoid bacterial contamination.
Eating tree nuts and peanuts is a good way to get enough protein, stay fit and protect your body from chronic diseases. Reduced instances of gallstones, coronary heart disease and diabetes have been observed.
Believe it, there are benefits to using hot sauce. Hot chili peppers contains carotenouds, flavonoids, antioxidants and minerals. They have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties and can lower blood pressure. They have a whopping high content of Vitamin C.
The real miracle is the capsaicin compound found in peppers. These are a main ingredient in pain relieving creams and can help with arthritis.
What do You Think?
Isn’t this the best looking salad ever? You can include any vegetable that you like – broccoli, sweet potatoes, potato, cabbage, spinach, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper. The tougher vegetables you can steam or blanch and the softer ones you can serve raw.
Some gado gado recipe include sliced boiled eggs. Everything tastes great because of the peanut sauce.
If you have peanut allergies, you can substitute sunflower nut butter or cashew nut butter. Season according to your preference.
Here are some links to ingredients used here. For the vegetables, the only one you may find not available is the bean sprouts or the jicama. If you really want it, go to an Asian market. Or just use alfalfa sprouts and other kinds of sprouts you can find in your regular grocery.
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Kain Na! (Let’s Eat).