Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gado Gado

Don't be afraid of the foreign-sounding name and the long list of ingredients! Its just veggies with the most yummy peanut sauce - everyone likes peanut butter, right? This is a perfect way to use up those pesky leftover steamed veggies sitting in your fridge!

This was my first attempt at Gado Gado, which is basically an Indonesian composed salad dressed with peanut sauce. I've made peanut sauce for years, but never this particular version. It turned out yummy, but with just a bit too much raw onion flavor. The recipe below has been adjusted.

Here is the quickest way to get this on the table: put water on to boil, then slice onion for garnish and get that sizzling in the pan. Next, quickly put the sauce together so the flavors can meld a bit. Next, chop and slice the veggies, or purchase already-sliced veggies for the quickest meal. Remember to keep an eye on the onions so they brown evenly but don't burn! By the time the water is boiling, most of your veggies will be chopped and ready to blanch! Then, just drain, dress, and eat!

Peanut Sauce (Sambal kacang)
1 tsp finely minced raw onion (or use 2 large shallots if you have them)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 inch "thumb" of ginger, finely minced (or to your taste - I like lots!)
6 Tbs crunchy peanut butter
1 Tbs oil
2 - 3 Tbs fresh lime juice or tamarind paste
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Sriracha sauce, or hot sauce of your choice
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 Tbs soy sauce or 1 Tbs soy sauce and 1 Tbs fish sauce
boiling water

Put all ingredients except hot water in the food processor or blender and whiz until well combined. With motor running, pour hot water in until it reaches the consistency of ranch dressing. Taste for sourness, sweetness and saltiness, adding more of lime juice/tamarind paste, sugar or soy sauce/fish sauce until it tastes good to you.

8 oz shredded cabbage
8 oz bean sprouts
4 large carrots, sliced into thin strips
4 celery stalks, sliced into thin strips

Toss all veggies except bean sprouts in the boiling water together and blanch for exactly 3 minutes. Drain immediately.

1 Tbs of vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced very thin
2 Tbs chopped peanuts (if not using crunchy peanut butter)
1/2 cucumber, sliced into thin strips
Sliced chili pepper (optional)

In a heavy fry pan, saute the onion in the oil until dark brown, with some crunchiness. This will take about 15 minutes. Be careful to not let it burn.

To Assemble:
You will need a VERY large bowl for this. Place bean sprouts at the bottom of the bowl, then the blanched veggies, then all the garnishes except the onion and chopped peanuts, top with peanut sauce,and carmelized onions and chopped peanuts. Toss well and eat.

Notes: The more carmelized onions, the better! And you can't have too much crunch, so try it with crunchy peanut butter AND the chopped peanuts. Pretty much any combo of veggies will do, but you must have bean sprouts, cabbage and cucumber. Blanched cauliflower or broccoli would be tasty, as would sliced raw red peppers.

The quickest way to make this, is to use up your leftover steamed veggies from last night's dinner. You could even make extra, just so you could make this dish!

Serves 4 - 6, or 6 -8 if you are also serving rice on the side

This would be yummy with a fresh mango for dessert. I like my mango just cut into spears or cubes, and sprinkled with Gold Medal's Soul Seasoning, which is a seasoned salt mixture that has a bit of a peppery kick to it, and is readily available here in the deep south.

Four Stars

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