Let me start this post off by saying that I am not 100% sure what gado gado is supposed to taste like. My one and only experience with it was at the Naam, a vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver (that is certainly not known for authentic Indonesian food) with a perpetual line. We ate there the last time we were in town. It was an awkward time, between when you’re supposed to eat lunch and you’re supposed to eat dinner, and we hadn’t eaten anything. I chose the salad because I thought it would be light and wouldn’t ruin my appetite for the ample amount of sushi I needed to eat later that night. But I was wrong. I left the Naam pretty full, and with gado gado on my mind.
Upon further investigation, there are a few things I do know: Gado gado is an Indonesian salad with peanut dressing, hard boiled eggs and slightly cooked vegetables. There is a raw version of the salad, but it’s called something else. According to the recipes I consulted online, I know that most (if not all) of the ingredients that I used in the salad (i.e. tofu, potatoes, cabbage, tamarind and peanuts) are fairly common in gado gado; however, I have no idea in what proportions.
In the end, I decided it didn’t matter if I don’t know exactly how it is supposed to be. Wikipedia made me feel better with this decision, since it told me that it is common to ‘improvise’ this salad with whatever is on hand, which makes me suspect that there a bunch of variations of this floating around. Wikipedia also tells me that it’s common for hawkers to improvise the dressing and ingredients in the salad according to the individual’s taste, so if you want a little less sour and a little more sweet, adjust accordingly. What made me feel most confident in my decision to share this with you is that I ended up with something delicious: a filing salad (the tofu, eggs and potato give it real substance), that can be eaten warm, at room temperature and cold, with deliciously balanced (yet pretty tangy) peanut sauce.
You can easily make this vegan by leaving out the egg and the dried shrimp.
You can also make this an even heartier meal by adding char-grilling shrimp to the salad.
In a small pan, heat up a splash of oil. Season tofu with salt and pepper and pan fry until crispy.
In a large pan, add a bit of water and steam cabbage and carrots for 1-2 minutes. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Boil eggs until hard (8 minutes, rolling boil) or soft boiled (5 minutes, rolling boil), depending on your preference. Peel and quarter, set aside.
Boil potatoes until fully cooked.
Combine all of the salad ingredients (except the egg) together in a bowl.
In a food processor, combine all ingredients for the dressing and process until a paste has formed. Add water until you are happy with the consistency (I added about 3 tablespoons). It shouldn't be pourable, but should be loose enough to toss with salad.
Combine salad and dressing, gently fold in egg and garnish with some chopped peanuts.
Recommended to serve at room temperature.
Gado gado Recipe was last modified: July 19, 2014 by