A Gado-Gado is an Indonesian salad that’s really all about the satay sauce it’s served with. The vegetables can keep changing depending on what you have on-hand, but what’s important is the layering of textures, which turns an ordinary Gado-Gado salad into a great one. For my salad, I used potatoes, bean sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, French beans, firm paneer, fried onions and eggs. You could use broccoli, bok choi and blanched babycorn. I also threw in some ragi fryums and bits of fried dough, but you can opt for potato chips or prawn crackers. For the satay sauce, I recommend you start the day before and make quite a large batch of this, because it’s the kind of thing that never goes to waste. Serve it as a dipping sauce later, and freeze it. Help yourself to a generous portion of the vegetables, top with the sauce and true to Gado-Gado’s translation, mix-mix till ready.
THE SATAY SAUCE
Garlic 5 cloves
Lemongrass 1 stalk
Sambal Oelek 3 tbsp
Galangal 2 small pieces
Red Onions 1 1/2, big
Peanut Oil 80ml
Salt 1/2 tbsp
Chilli powder 1/2 tbsp
Thick tamarind paste 2 tbsp (two lemon-sized balls should easily yield a thick paste)
Roasted peanuts 200g
Coconut Milk 200ml/ 1 tetra pack
Potatoes 2, peeled and cut into wedges
Cabbage 1/2 medium, cut into chunks
Bean sprouts a big handful
French Beans 100g, trimmed
Cucumber 1/2, medium
Hard-boiled eggs 4
Firm Paneer 100g (you could use tofu or tempeh here, which is more traditional)
Prawn crackers/ Potato chips/ Ragi crackers/ Any other fryum of your choice
Coriander leaves 3 tbsp
In a processor, whizz together the garlic, lemongrass, sambal oelek, galangal, and red onions till it forms a paste. Drizzle in some oil to bring it together. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and fry this paste in it over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the oil starts to separate from the paste. Once ready, adjust the salt, sugar and add in the chilli powder. Then add the tamarind water to the saucepan and cook for a further 10 minutes until everything is well incorporated.
While the paste cooks, crush the peanuts till chunky, but not fine and put the peanuts into the water and let the peanuts and water simmer together for 20-25 minutes until the mixture thickens and most of the water has evaporated. Add this mixture to the ready sauce and keep it aside. Your satay sauce is ready.
Now, begin blanching your vegetables. Cook potatoes till fork tender, cabbage would require a little over a minute, beansprouts require a flash blanch, whereas bean sprouts could take up to 4 minutes. Pile up all the vegetables in a large plate and spoon over the satay sauce generously. Serve.