gado gado

First time I tried this, many years ago in a Malaysian restaurant in Melbourne, I fell in love with this remarkably fresh and tasty salad.
This year I decided to serve it, with Campari cocktails, at a Summer Solstice party.
I wont lie, I nearly had a nervous breakdown making the peanut sauce, mainly because it is a lot more involved than I thought, and since I have a tiny kitchen, and had to have 16 plates going, each with a different ingredient which will be served in a salad eventually, I ran out of space quickly.
Other than that, it was all worth it. The peanut sauce is absolutely authentic, extremely yummi and there is plenty to go around. And next day leftovers are just as good.


for the peanut sauce:
groundnut oil for frying
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
(NOTE: if the peanut butter you are using contains no sugar, add 50g palm sugar to the recipe)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red onion (or 2 shallots)
2 large red chillies

1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 red onion (or 2 shallots) finely chopped
165ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp ground galangal
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
3 kaffir lime leaves
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp ketjap manis
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

for the salad
300g baby potatoes
2 good sized carrots
1/2 large cucumber
300g firm tofu or beancurd
100g green beans
150g beansprouts
100g shredded lettuce

for the garnish:
4 hard-boiled eggs
1 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
4 spring onions
1/2 bag prawn crackers


Heat up some oil in a small skillet. Cube the tofu into rectangular bite-sized pieces and fry until golden. Remove and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Fry whole (or halved) chillies, onion (quartered or whole small shallots) and whole garlic cloves for a couple of minutes. Remove and let cool for a little while.

(A word of caution - if you decide to fry whole chillies, they will explode. I am not sure what would be a suitable alternative because I really loved how wonderfully soft and non-oily fried chillies were once I removed the skin. You can cut them in half then fry, or make holes in them, but i decided to simply cover it next time and hope for the best. I did get a shock though, so be careful when you do it.)

Peel the chillies and remove the seeds, and place in the food processor together with fried garlic, onion, peanut butter and 200 ml water. Blend until smooth.

Heat 1 tbsp oil on moderate heat and add finely chopped onion (or shallots). Cook for a few minutes until soft and somewhat brown. Add peanut and chilli paste together with coconut milk, galangal, tamarind, whole lime and bay leaves and remaining water.
Bring to the boil and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The sauce is cooked when the surface starts to glisten with a bit of oil.
Add ketjap manis and salt to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Boil the baby potatoes for about 20 minutes until soft but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
Hard boil the eggs, peel them and set aside.
Cut the carrot into thin sticks, clean and cut green beans into lengths matching the carrot and wash the beansprouts.
Boil some water and prepare a bowl with very cold water.
Cook the carrots for 4 minutes, remove with sloted spoon and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
Repeat the process with beans, cooking them for 4 minutes, and beansprouts, cooking them for 1 minute.
Wash the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, remove the central seed area and slice.

Finely chop the parsley, and slice the spring onions finely.

On a large serving plate, arrange all the vegetables, tofu and quartered hard boiled eggs. In a separate bowls, place the mix of spring onion and parsley, peanut sauce and prawn crackers.


Serve cool.
To eat - help yourself to all the salad components, pour some peanut sauce over it, sprinkle with garnish and eat mixed up in individual bowls.

Bon appétit!

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