Gado-gado wasn’t really something that was on my culinary radar, until a couple of weeks ago when I was flicking through a charity shop find – Madhur Jaffrey’s Far Eastern Cookery, a book to accompany the ’80s TV series of the same name. It was a bargain – priced at a mere quid – so I couldn’t really resist. At that price, I thought, I could take it home, have a quick look through it that evening, and donate it back to the shop if it didn’t really do anything for me. When I did look at it, I was pleasantly surprised, finding all sorts of interesting recipes. It’s one of those books that’s great to flick through when you’re waiting for inspiration to strike.
Back to the gado-gado. Have you eaten it? For the uninitiated, it’s an Indonesian dish, a sort of salad of various steamed veg, served with boiled eggs, a peanut sauce and ‘krupuk’ – crispy wafers. As soon as I saw the recipe I had a memory of seeing something similar in Ottolenghi’s Plenty. His peanut sauce is slightly different from Jaffrey’s – he uses a few more ingredients, one of them being coconut milk. I improvised a version somewhere between the two, based on what ingredients I had to hand. The sauce was good, and with all of the beautiful veg, made for a pretty amazing meal. That said, it could’ve done with a bit more oomph – unusually for me, I played it safe and I don’t think I used enough chilli or garlic. The other reason for less developed flavours was probably due to the fact that the peanut sauce is supposed to be cooked, and served warm. For time constraint reasons, I just blitzed all of my sauce ingredients together. What I’m posting here is exactly what I did, but next time I’m going to try and perfect the sauce. We didn’t have any crackers, but ate our veg and soft boiled eggs with a bit of sweet chilli sauce alongside the peanut sauce. Despite the room for improvement, the whole thing was very enjoyable!
Mixed veg of your choice – we used:
purple sprouting broccoli
For the sauce:
2 tbsp. peanut butter
200ml coconut milk
1 clove garlic
1/2 small onion
1 tbsp. soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp. chilli flakes
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Cut all of the vegetables into similar sized pieces. Set aside the cucumber, lettuce and spring onions, then steam the rest to your desired level of cooking (I like my veggies to have a bit of bite in this type of dish!)
Hard or soft boil the eggs, according to preference.
Whilst the eggs are on the go, lightly toast the peanuts in a dry pan. Blitz until coarsely ground, then set aside. Blitz together the remaining ingredients until smooth, then mix through the peanuts and coriander.
Peel and slice the eggs, then put everything on the table and serve!