Gado-Gado is Indonesia’s take on Singapore’s ‘rojak’—a medley of boiled vegetables comprising commonly of string beans, cucumber, bean sprouts, cabbage and potatoes with firm beancurd slices and hard boiled eggs tossed into a salad drizzled generously with a piquant peanut sauce dressing. The star rating for this boils down to how good your gravy is. I’d say it’s the ‘make or break’ of your gado-gado. It should be thick enough to lend just the right amount of pizazz without overpowering the gentle nature of the boiled salad mix. Without the right consistency, a weak peanut gravy that is too diluted or runny will fail to enrapture the tastebuds the way a good gado-gado should always do! I like to sprinkle my gado-gado with some prawn-flavoured keropok (krupuk), which is a deep fried prawn cracker just for that extra punch—its flavourful texture and crunch is just perfect to offset and bring a balance to the natural sweetness of the delicate vegetables. Note: Gado-gado sauce is not to be confused with spicy satay sauce though they are pretty similar in terms of ingredients.
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced into wedges
1 red onion, sliced thinly
2 potatoes (boiled and skins removed), sliced into wedges
1/4 sugarloaf cabbage, sliced up and boiled
500g beansprouts, blanched to desired crunch level
4 cakes of firm tofu beancurd (about 1 per serve), sliced up
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced into wedges
4 string beans
8 pieces of prawn crackers (ready-fried to use)
deep fried shallots for garnish and to serve
1/2 C shallots, pounded finely
1 C roasted peanuts, processed to coarse grains
1 C crunchy peanut butter
1 can 400ml coconut milk
10 red chilies (de-seeded), made into sambal chilli
1 cube of ready-toasted belachan (dried shrimp paste), smashed into powder
Gula melaka to taste (I used about 50g)
3 tsp of cornstarch to thicken sauce, if needed
Salt to taste
1/2 C tamarind liquid (after straining a small bulb of tamarind pulp)
sambal chilli to taste (if spicy sauce is preferred)
Directions for Gado-Gado Sauce:
Add a tablespoon of peanut oil into a wok, and begin by stir-frying the shallots till fragrant and softened. Add the balachan and sambal chilli.
Transfer to a deep saucepan. Combine the coconut milk, ground peanuts, peanut butter and stir the mixture at a low to medium heat.
Add the tamarind liquid, stir again and add the gula melaka to sweeten the sauce to taste. Add salt to taste.
Place vegetables, wedges of boiled egg, firm tofu beancurd slices and potatoes in individual entree plates. Just before serving, drizzle the warm gado-gado sauce over, garnish with fried shallots, crushed shrimp crackers and extra samba chilli for your guests to help themselves to.
Gado-Gado is the last recipe on my list of My Singapore Food Tribute To Lee Kuan Yew