Many, many years ago, my husband and I used to go to an Indonesian restaurant in London's West End called Bali. It was one of those cozy restaurants decorated in the style of the place the food comes from. That probably added a lot to its charms and made the food taste so exotic and delicious. My husband just loves everything on the menu and would always order a bowl of laksa plus another dish. Their servings were quite generous and much as I'd like to try everything on the menu, I couldn't forego of the chance to eat their gado gado each time. Since I couldn't manage to eat anything else aside from that, that was pretty much what I ate from that restaurant plus pickings from my husband's food.
Gado gado is an Indonesian salad which consists mostly of boiled or blanched vegetables accompanied by a sweet and spicy peanut dressing, similar to but not as rich as satay sauce. I have never had such a salad before I had this in Bali. In fact, to this day, I haven't come across any other salad similar to this. The peanut dressing is its selling point. It immediately tugged at my taste buds the first time I tasted it. It had all the tastes that pleases my Asian palate: sweet, tart, spicy, salty.
This is my take on gado-gado. I have simplified this recipe and used ingredients that are readily available in supermarkets. Though real gado gado is not made this way, this surely pleases and hits that Asian high note.
2-4 boiled new potatoes
2 boiled sweet potatoes
6 pieces of fried tofu
4 hard boiled eggs
1 c. of topped and tailed bean sprouts, blanched
20-30 dwarf beans, boil until just tender
Ingredients for the dressing:
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. of coconut milk
2 tbsps. water
2 tbsps. malt vinegar
1-2 tsps. chilli oil
Sauté the garlic for two minutes. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Stir in the peanut butter and brown sugar. When mixed, add the coconut milk while stirring to make a smooth sauce. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Check the seasonings. You may thin this further with water if you find it too thick for your liking. Serve with the vegetables.
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