Sunday, February 14, 2010

Indonesian Gado Gado


I originally encountered Gado Gado--basically a pile of stuff slathered in peanut sauce--in the Moosewood Cookbook, but I admit that I haven’t consulted the recipe in many, many moons, and don’t know how far I have strayed from its supposed authenticity. Ok, my curiosity got the best of me and I did a little research: looks like I haven’t changed things much from the cookbook, but according to internet sources gado gado usually includes blanched vegetables—cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts. I will try this sometime, but in the meantime I will promote my bastardized version which includes vitamin-packed spinach and lots of raw veg, something that probably most Americans (and especially pregnant ladies) need more of.

Here’s what you’ll need (to serve six with leftovers):

1 1/2 15-oz. packages extra firm tofu, cubed

1 lb boneless chicken (omit or substitute tempeh for vegetarian version)

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 pkg sliced mushrooms

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

3 hardboiled eggs, diced

1 large can pineapple chunks

1 bag fresh spinach

1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 bunch fresh basil or cilantro, chopped

2 1/2 C uncooked brown rice

Begin by baking your tofu. I avoid soy sauce in my marinade when I bake tofu because it has a tendency to burn and leave a gross, sour aftertaste. For this batch I mixed about 1/3 C red miso, the juice of 1 1/2 limes, 3 Tbs honey, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 tsp Chinese hot sauce. Let the tofu sit in the marinade as long as possible, spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir tofu with a spatula and flip the pieces as well as you can. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Let the cooked pieces cool on the cookie sheet before transferring to a bowl. Here’s my blissful batch:


While the tofu is baking you can start your peanut sauce, which tastes best if it has a little time for the flavors to meld:

3 cups creamy peanut butter

1/3 C to 1/2 C brown sugar

1 1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 C water

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 tablespoons soy sauce (use San-J or LaChoy for gluten-free version)

2 tablespoon fish sauce (omit for vegetarian version)

2 tablespoon hot sauce

2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

3 cloves garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients on low heat and stir regularly until smooth and simmering. Make any adjustments to the flavor or spices, and set aside. Next start your brown rice (5 1/2 to 6 C water, salt), which takes a little while to cook. Here are the rice and peanut sauce all ready to go.


While the rice is cooking you can get all your vegetables ready in little bowls for your guests. Obviously you could use whatever vegetables ring your bell, as well as use other fruits; I'm thinking mandarin oranges would be a good variation. The last thing to do is give the chicken (or tempeh) a quick stir-fry. I cut it into chunks and quickly cook it with soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar and a little canola oil. Now reheat the peanut sauce and call your guests.


Here’s the order of operations for gado gado:

1. Put a pile of rice on your plate, topped with spinach.

2. Load on as many of the little chopped bits as you like.

3. Marvel at how large your plate is getting.

4. Slather the whole pile with peanut sauce.

5. Wonder how you’re going to finish it all.

6. Be amazed that somehow you and everyone else finished their huge piles of goodness…

No comments:

Post a Comment