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Recipe: Gado Gado Salad With Peanut Sauce

Taken from Lara Lee’s debut cookbook Coconut & Sambal, a colourful exploration of her Indonesian culinary heritage – this flavour-packed recipe is perhaps the most famous of the many dishes served with peanut sauce in Indonesia. Gado-Gado salad uses a variety of seasonal vegetables, making it easy to substitute to whatever you may have on hand in your fridge; the key to this dish is a good peanut sauce.

“You can eat this dish on its own, but it also makes a great side dish as part of a larger feast. The peanut sauce will last for up to 5 days, but once tossed together, Gado-Gado is best eaten on the same day.”

GADO-GADO

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side

60g fried, firm or smoked tofu, cut into bite-sized chunks
150g baby potatoes, halved
100g tenderstem broccoli
100g green beans, trimmed
60g tempeh, sliced into 1cm wide x 3cm long chunks (or replace with more tofu)
Kecap manis for grilling (optional)
2 quantities of Peanut Sauce (see below for recipe)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into long, thin matchsticks
75g bean sprouts
1⁄2 cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 eggs, hard-boiled for 10 minutes, halved
2 tbsp fried shallots (p.251), optional
Sea salt, to taste
Coconut oil or sunflower oil, for frying

To serve

Kerupuk or prawn crackers, to serve

METHOD

If the tofu is wet, spread the pieces in a single layer on top of paper towels, then cover with additional towels. Let the tofu stand for 15 minutes, pressing down occasionally to squeeze out any excess moisture.

Bring a pan of salted water to boil over high heat and add in the baby potatoes. Simmer for 5–8 minutes, until tender. Drain and allow to cool, then set aside.

Refill the pan with salted water, bring to the boil and blanch the broccoli and beans for 1–2 minutes until bright green, crisp and just cooked through. Drain and cool in cold water.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil with a large pinch of salt in a wok or frying pan over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the tempeh and fry for 3–4 minutes until golden. Drain on
a tray lined with paper towels. Alternatively, if you prefer to grill tempeh, brush it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon each of oil and kecap manis and place it under the grill on high heat for 3–4 minutes each side.

Loosen the peanut sauce with water until it reaches a pourable consistency. Transfer the peanut sauce to a pan and place it over low heat until just warmed through.

Arrange the baby potatoes, broccoli, beans, tofu, tempeh, carrot, bean sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes and eggs on individual serving plates or bowls. Sprinkle with the fried shallots and place the crackers on one side of the plate. Serve the peanut sauce on the side in a serving bowl or drizzle generously over the top of each plate.

PEANUT SAUCE

“Peanut sauce is great drizzled over salads, on burgers or any grilled meat, or served with satay skewers or vegetables. It will last for up to 4 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.”

INGREDIENTS

Makes about 150g

75g unsalted, raw peanuts, preferably with their skin on (or use 75g unsweetened, unsalted smooth peanut butter)
2 long red chillies, deseeded and very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
4 tsp kecap manis, or more to taste
2 tsp tamarind paste (or 2 tsp lime juice mixed with 2 tsp brown sugar)
Large pinch of sea salt
Sunflower oil, for frying

METHOD

If using raw peanuts, heat 150ml of oil to 160°C in a deep saucepan over high heat. (If you do not have a kitchen thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 25–30 seconds).

Carefully lower the peanuts into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Stirring continuously, as peanuts can easily burn, fry for 4–5 minutes until golden. Remove the peanuts from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the chillies and garlic and fry until softened, about 4 minutes.

Place the fried peanuts or peanut butter in a small food processor with the cooked garlic
and chillies, kecap manis, tamarind paste and salt.

Pulse briefly, then add a splash of water to loosen the sauce and pulse again. Gradually add water (about 4 tablespoons) and continue to pulse until the sauce is a pourable consistency.

Season with salt or more kecap manis as needed.

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