In this hot weather, a platter of colourful and crunchy salad is absolutely refreshing!… scrumptious salads made with fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and dairy proteins forms a balanced meal by itself… it instantly boosts our energy to gear up for the day…once such interesting recipe is ‘Gado Gado’.
‘Gado Gado’ means “mix mix” in Indonesian…the vegetarian version of this Indonesian salad is crunchy, delicious with the perfect blend of spiciness, sweetness and tanginess… loaded with the goodness of veggies, diary proteins and healthy carbs, Gado Gado is a nutritious one-meal salad…It is also a popular street food of Indonesia.
The recipe calls for fresh veggies like cabbage, french beans, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, potato, cucumber, spinach and bean sprouts. It also has protein and carbohydrate sources as it is served with fried tofu, tempeh and lontong (the non-vegetarian version of Gado Gado has shrimp crackers, boiled eggs and inclusion of shrimp paste in the peanut dressing).
Here, I have tried a 100% vegetarian Gado Gado recipe that uses fried tofu with veggies… I have not included tempeh (fermented soya beans cake) and lontong (rice cakes) as I wanted to keep it simple but wholesome with easily available ingredients in my location.
The speciality of Gado Gado is all about the nutty flavoured peanut sauce served with veggies and tofu… the sauce has roasted peanuts and shallots as the main ingredients and garlic, fresh red chillies(or chilly powder), brown sugar(or palm sugar) and tamarind paste as the flavouring agents.
It is prepared by pounding in stone pestle and mortar as per the authentic method…but these can be blended in the mixer grinder also if you want to speed up the process… although nothing closer to the pounding version as it enhances the flavour and taste of the sauce to the great extent…
Here, I have followed the authentic method to the possible extent and pounded the sauce in mortar and pestle… and it’s heavenly in taste!
- mortar and pestle
- Pan, bowls, plates and spoons
- ½ cup French Beans cut length-wise
- ½ cup Cabbage shredded
- ½ cup Carrot cut length-wise
- ½ cup Cauliflower Florets
- ½ cup Potato cut length-wise, boiled
- ½ cup Cucumber cut length-wise
- ½ cup Bean Sprouts
- 10-15 nos Spinach baby leaves
- 100 gm Tofu cut length-wise
For Peanut Sauce
- ½ cup Roasted Peanuts peeled
- 4-5 nos Shallots peeled
- 3-4 nos Garlic peeled
- 1 tsp Red Chilly Powder
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar or Palm Sugar I have used palm sugar
- 1 tbsp Tamarind Paste
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- Salt to taste
- 1½ cups Water
For Fried Tofu
- 1 tsp Cornflour
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- Salt to taste
- 3 tbsp Water
- Wash and prepare the veggies as mentioned above. I have used the whole baby spinach leaves as such. If you are using large spinach leaves, torn them into pieces.
- Blanch French beans,carrots, cauliflower florets, shredded cabbage,bean sprouts and spinach separately with little bit of salt.
- Dip them in cold water for few minutes and strain the excess water. The veggies should be crisp and firm and not soft.
- Cucumber can be used raw. Refrigerate the veggies till we use them in salad.
- Make slurry of 1 tsp of corn flour, 3 tbsp of water, salt and pepper to taste. Dip tofu pieces in this slurry and pan fry/roast them on all the sides.
For Peanut Sauce
- Using mortar and pestle, pound the roasted peanuts into coarsely. Keep it aside. Now, pound the shallots and garlic cloves.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil, add pounded shallots and garlic. Saute till nice aroma emits. Add red chilly powder, salt, palm sugar and saute for a minute.
- Add the given amount of water followed by tamarind paste. Mix well and bring it to boil.
- Stir the pounded peanut powder into the sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens.
- Switch off the flame and let it cool.
- Before serving, arrange the vegetables and fried tofu in a serving platter.
- Pour the peanut sauce in the middle and serve. You can also serve it like a finger salad with peanut sauce in a bowl.
- Shallots can be substituted with small sized onions.
- Peanut oil can be used in place of vegetable oil.
- You can also pan roast plain tofu without using corn flour paste. Cornflour coating makes it more interesting.