Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gado Gado

We're only a couple of weeks into the holiday season, but I've already been feeling a bit overloaded in the decadent food department: pie, leftover pie for breakfast, corn fritters, chocolate bread pudding, and rich bread-pudding-like french toast. It's all been delicious, but I needed some veggies to balance things out.

Gado gado is an Indonesian salad. It really delivers in the veggie department, while also providing a wide array of textures and flavors, and a good amount of protein. I've gotten into the habit of eating the salad mid-winter, when I need a little color and diversity in my diet. Apart from the recipe for the peanut sauce, which I follow pretty closely, it's really more of a general guideline for assembly: vary the fruits and vegetables, and amounts of specific vegetables, to meet your tastes.

If serving to a group, set out bowls with each ingredient, and allow each person to assemble their own salad to meet their tastes. Because the salad is served at room temperature, the rice, tofu, eggs, and steamed veggies can be assembled in advance.

I get about 5 servings from the recipe below.

Salad Ingredients
1 cup rice, cooked, along with 1/4 teaspoon tumeric, per package instructions
5 ounces spinach, washed and gently dried
2 cups cabbage (I like to use red cabbage for the color), washed and finely chopped
handful green beans, washed, ends trimmed and lightly steamed
1 cup steamed broccoli
2 carrots, washed and grated
1 red (or yellow, or orange) pepper, washed and diced
Diced fresh pineapple
3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted (set your toaster oven on its lowest setting to avoid burnt coconut!)
8 ounces tofu, diced and baked
3 hard boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
Other options: steamed bean sprouts, steamed cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas, diced apple, diced orange, substitute diced potatoes for the rice...

For each serving of salad:
Place a bed of spinach on the plate/bowl.
Top with the rice.
Top with veggies, tofu, eggs, pineapple and coconut.
Ladle peanut sauce over the salad to taste (recipe below).
Add the green onion and ginger toppings (recipes below) to taste.

Peanut Sauce Ingredients

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 generous teaspoon grated ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (cider vinegar will also work)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash red pepper flakes

Whisk together all ingredients but the hot water in a medium sized bowl.
Add hot water bit by bit, whisking to combine with the peanut mixture
Add more water if the sauce is too thick, and adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve at room temperature (whisk one last time just before serving).

Green Onion and Ginger Toppings
3/4 cup scallions, washed and chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon canola oil

Saute ginger in oil, over medium heat 1-2 minutes.
Remove ginger from pan.
Saute green onion 3-4 minutes.
Place in small bowls to serve.


veggie belly said...

I love gado gado! I discovered it on a trip to Indonesia a few years back. The great thing about it is its so versatile, you can pretty much use any veggies and throw in the peanut sauce. Hope you had a good thanksgiving..

Beatrice said...

This gado gado is pretty good, but I bet gado gado in Indonesia is even better!