party on a plate — Indonesian gado gado
I’m not sure when our little bunker became the family party house.
But sometime after
the last rager Christmas brunch, my sister-in-law and I put on our scheming hats to scheme up a surprise party for my brother. A week before his 30th birthday, we invited him to “pop by for a coffee.” The door creaked open, we all leapt from behind the curtain with a yell, and the merriment began!
To match the festive birthday balloons and banners, I made gado gado — a rainbow array of brightly coloured veg on a bed of spinach and red rice, drizzled with a fragrant peanut sauce. Party on a plate, right there.
Here’s another version, on another night, so you get the idea that it can handle all the various and sundry ingredients you throw at it.
the bits and bobs
- Tofu (fried/baked)
- Tempeh (fried/baked)
- Eggs (boiled)
- Carrot (blanched)
- Broccoli (blanched)
- Spinach (blanched)
- Beansprouts (raw or blanched)
- Red or white cabbage (raw or steamed)
- Potato (boiled)
- Cucumber (raw)
- Beet (raw)
- Radish and radish greens (raw)
- Krupuk (Indonesian shrimp crackers)
the peanut sauce
- Thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger
- Several birds-eye chilis, up to you how many
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 kaffir lime leaves,
- 250g / 1 cup chunky peanut butter (or roasted peanuts you’ve blitzed up yourself)
- 300ml / 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
- Thumb-sized knob of palm sugar
- A healthy squirt of fish sauce (This is not Indonesian, but it’s so tasty. Leave it out for a vegan sauce.)
- 1 T tamarind pulp soaked in 3T hot water
- Salt to taste
- Sweet soy sauce to taste
Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil (or your oil/fat of choice) in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Finely mince the ginger, chilis, and garlic. Bruise the kaffir lime leaves with a pestle, then toss them with the ginger, chilis, and garlic into the saucepan for a minute, or until the garlic threatens to brown. Turn down the heat to medium, then add the peanut butter, coconut milk, shaved palm sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind water. Season with salt and sweet soy sauce.
Bring the sauce to a simmer while stirring to prevent sticking, then serve immediately either by drizzling it over the entire salad, or passing it around in a gravy boat so your guests can determine themselves how much sauce lovin’ they’re in the mood for.
Keep any leftover peanut sauce refrigerated in a closed container, and use it to sass up almost anything.
What a cheerful dish to match a really lovely looking party! I can’t wait to try this one. Thanks, as always, for inspiring me! <3
Mmm, you’re so welcome, let me know if you end up with any ingenious additions to the palette! (:
hmmm yummy!! I sometimes substitute tofu with mozarella if I could not find tofu at the market. Actually i never try radish for gado gado plate, but why not? :p
Mozzarella, oh my! That sounds like true East-West fusion. (:
Yum! I had this for the first time on a visit to Indonesia 12 years ago and it is still a favorite!
Oh how fun! Whereabouts did you visit? Each region (and even city, sometimes!) has its own version of gado gado.
I never had brocoli on my gado2 but I might as well try it next time. =)
Anyway, I can’t skip “LONTONG” on my gado2. =0
Ooh, lontong, yes please!
This is my Dutchified/healthified version of the gado gado we both grew up with — once you start adding different vegetables to the mix, it’s hard to stop!
Aw Valerie, it sounds like you created a fantastic surprise for your brother!! That cake looks gorgeous too… is it some sort of baked cheesecake? :) I love gado gado. I haven’t eaten it for ages actually, but it’s delicious! I’m going to try your peanut sauce recipe. I love the sound of all of those extra vegetables!!! Yum!!
It’s a cheesecake, yes! :) Is gado gado a pretty common sight in Aus?
Yeah, it is actually. We have a hugely multicultural population over here, particularly in terms of Asian migration from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (Aus & NZ are two entirely Western Countries in the middle of a cluster of Asian nations, so I guess it makes sense!). We’re lucky enough to have access to lots of Asian grocers and authentic restaurants. Most Australian cities have a little ‘Chinatown’ :) How about in the Netherlands? P.S on a side note… Bon Iver. Are you a fan (yes, my man & I are also hipsters in denial)? Saw Justin live at the end of last year. Amazing. No tattoo yet though!
Fun! It’s the same here in the NL because of our colonial past with Indonesia, so plenty of Asian grocers. I’m one happy girl. And PSS. Yes, we’re longtime fans of ole Justin, and were bemused when the mainstream blew him up so quickly. (:
This looks so delicious! Love your blog :).