Southeast Asia—Indonesian Vegetables w/ Peanut Sauce

 

Indonesian Appetizerindonesian gado-gado

Vegetables w/ Peanut Sauce
Gado-Gado
(Serves 8)

A classic Indonesian dish of cooked and raw vegetables. served with a delicious, spicy peanut sauce.


Salad
6 medium potatoes (peeled, 1/2" slice)
1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans (2" pieces)
6 carrots (julienne strips)
1 head Chinese cabbage (shredded)
1 cucumber (skin-on, sliced)
6 eggs (hard boiled and quartered)
3 C canned bean sprouts
2 bunches cilantro (stems trimmed)
_____________

Sauce
2 T vegetable oil
3 T onion (grated)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 tsp. shrimp paste (see sidebar)
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 T brown sugar
2/3 C water
1/2 C smooth peanut butter*
2 T soy sauce
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp. salt

Salad: Cook first 4 vegetables separately in lightly salted water till crisp tender. Drain and arrange on a large platter (or in separate bowls) with cucumber, quartered eggs, sprouts, and cilantro. Serve warm or cold with Peanut Sauce in a separate bowl.

Sauce: heat oil in a skillet, add onion and saute till golden. Remove onion and set aside. Add next 4 ingredients, stirring and cooking for 3 minutes. Sir in water and peanut butter and bring to a boil, stirring constantly till sauce is thick and smooth. Add salt, soy sauce, sugar and lemon juice. Add sauteed onion. Set sauce aside to cool to room temperature. Serve in a separate bowl as an accompaniment to Gado-Gado.

* Traditionalists prefer their own peanut butter: cook 1 1/3 C raw peanuts in 2 T hot oil for 4 minutes. Drain and blend to a paste in a food processor. Discard all but 1 T of oil from the paste, and use the paste as peanut butter in the recipe.

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Tips & Glossary

Southeast Asian cuisine seeks a balance of hot, sour, sweet, and salty—all in a single dish. Adjust to suit your taste perferences.

Many of the ingredients below are unfamiliar to Westerners, but you can find most in any local Asian market.

Fish Sauce: a liquid made of fermented anchovies and bottled (like soy sauce).

Galanga: a root related to ginger though with deeper tones of citrus and pine. Tough to slice...use a sharp knife. (If galanga is not to be found, use ginger root.)

Lemon Grass: tall, stalky, critus-flavored grass. Prior to cooking, pound or crush gently to release flavor.

Rice Sticks: aka rice noodles or vermicelli; thin dried noodles from rice flour. Soak before using, about 1 hour, or less, (depending on how soft or chewy you like your noodles.)

Shrimp Paste: fermented, ground shrimp. It carries a pungent aroma but is essential in cooking.

Taffir Lime: a lime bush native to the region. The leaves and pebbly rind (as zest) are used for flavoring, but not the juice. The leaves can be bought dried.

Tamarind: tropical tree grown in Africa and Asia; its fruit pulp is used as souring agent. It’s also found in Worcestershire sauce and some ketchup.

 

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