Gado Gado — Learn food cultures without flying

I have never been to Indonesia, thus I have not experienced Indonesian food in situ. However, I do have two friends, whose local knowledge have inspired me to cook foods originating from the world's largest island state in the comfort of my own kitchen. 

My friend Endang is from the biggest Indonesian island called Jawa, and Fanny has lived in the state capital (Jakarta in Jawa) for years, so they are to blame for me publishing four blog posts on Indonesian dishes in The Enogastronomist!

I claim that one does not have to travel far to discover new food cultures. In fact, I have often learnt recipes from my friends, acquaintances, chefs, and from cookery books and programmes, but not often by flying there, where the pepper grows. Besides, flying around the world is SO five minutes ago. 

Watch my gado gado video.

A rough recipe: 

Tonight I prepared Gado Gado, which is a salad of raw and blanched vegetables, and fried tempeh (fermented soybeans) served with a spicy and aromatic peanut dressing. Some serve with it also chicken and rice, but I didn't. 

In one of my previous blog posts (19 October 2021) I explained how to make the dressing. Only this time, I added into the dressing one crushed clove of garlic and a finely chopped whole green chili as recommended by Endang. 

For my gado gado salad, I chopped (bite size) and blanched the following veg separately by changing cooking water each time (you want to be able to taste each vegetable's unique taste and not boil them all in one pot!): 

  • 200 g of French beans
  • 200 g of Bok choy
  • 150 g of Kale
  • 4 Carrots (a variety of different colours)

and chopped raw:

  • 3 Celery stalks 
  • 8 Baby cucumbers 

It is really up to you which vegetables you use, as long as you do not include tomatoes, bell peppers, courgettes, potatoes and eggplants in your gado gado. Nightshades, with the exception of chilies, are the stars in the Mediterranean and South American dishes, but not in this one. 

I put all the prepared vegetables and tempeh on a serving plate with a bowl full of that wonderful peanut butter sauce in the middle. On this occasion, the sauce acted as a dipping sauce and not as dressing to amalgamate all the ingrediencies together. It was agreeably enjoyable social dish and an appetizing way to eat more than your 5 A Day. 

Gado gado can be 100 percent vegan or vegetarian dish, but I cooked for our teenagers one hard-boiled egg each as they need lots of protein to sustain their on going growth spurt. 

Now what are you waiting for?! Go ahead and make your own gato gato!!!