Gado gado is an Indonesian dish, thick with peanut sauce and raw vegetables and lontong and tofu and it is super delicious. It is popular as a meal, or as just another dish in a long meal. It is also very popular in Malaysia, known as either gado gado or in its variation as pasembor. Pasembor is usually identical to gado gado, but might include yams and be made using groundnuts. It is still super delicious, either way!
This is a relatively uncomplicated recipe, and though it does involve trying to do three things at once, it is over quite quickly. As there are so many elements, I've broken this recipe down in to parts: peanut sambal, lontong, and assembling the gado gado. Lontong is one of my very favourites, compressed rice; it is an essential part of satay sticks, and gado gado. The recipe I have included here is cheating, but I am usually too lazy to find pandan leaves.
quarter of a cup vegetable oil
one and a half cups of raw peanuts
five fresh red chillis, sliced and deseeded
1 teaspoon tamarind juice
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar
5 lime kaffir leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced or diced
1 tablespoon dark soy
1 tablespoon kecap manis
one(ish) cup of water
In some vegetable oil, stirfry the peanuts for about four minutes. Be careful not to burn the peanuts, though you have some leeway. Use your wok spatula to lift and drain the peanuts - if you don't know how to do this, just use a slotted spoon. Set aside. If there is an excessive amount of oil left in the wok, and there probably will be, remove some, until only two tablespoons of oil are left. Add in the chillis, tamarind juice, palm sugar, garlic and the lime kaffir leaves. Stirfry on medium heat for two or three minutes, then add a quarter of a cup of water, and keep bubbling and tossing for another minute. Remove from heat. After the peanuts have cooled a little (five to ten minutes will be plenty), combine the chilli mixture (minus the lime kaffir leaves) with the peanuts in a blender or a mortar and pestle, and pound or process until paste. Gradually (as in, a quarter of a cup at a time) add about one cup of water, as well as the kecap manis and the dark soy.
Cook some long grain rice in your usual way, but add an extra half again the amount of water. Line a long, flat dish with cling-wrap, and scoop the rice in. Press flat. Each piece should ideally be two or three centimetres in height, to give you some idea of the size of the dish you will need. Cover with a clean towel, and layer heavy things on top of it, such as containers with food, and place flat in the fridge. Leave to set for six or seven hours. When it is firm, take out of the fridge, gently lift from the container, and cut in to cubes. You can serve this with gado gado or satay, it goes unbelievably well with a warm satay sauce.
If you are serving gado gado as a meal, you will want half a cup of uncooked rice per person when making the lontong.
a handful or two of snow peas
a cup of bean sprouts
some doufu puffs/fried tofu
a whole lot of peanut sauce
a small amount of cauliflower
Boil and cube the potato. Julienne the carrot, top and tail the snow peas, and blanch. Cut the cauliflower in to tiny flowers (you can serve this raw or boiled). Prepare bean sprouts, and lay out on a serving dish with potato, snow peas, carrot, cauliflower and doufu. Smother with peanut sambal.
You can sub in and out vegetables as it takes your fancy, I like to use chinese cabbage and capsicum too.