Monday, November 5, 2012

#8 Indonesian Curry - Gado Gado

Indonesian food is very popular over here and Gado Gado is one of my favorite Indonesian dishes.
Gado gado is somewhere in between curry and a salad. It consist of raw and blanched vegetables topped with a tasty peanut sauce. It's the sauce that makes this dish an absolute delight. Actually the sauce of this gado
gado was so good I couldn't get myself to stop eating it after I was full, and I ended up eating so much it actually hurt to walk. Yes I know.. that's ridiculous!

To be making a gado gado the way I did you must be a little nuts. The peanut sauce is traditionally made by hand grinding all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar. This grinding is a time consuming process. So to make life easier many people use a blender. I tried both but the results using a blender didn't match the old fashioned pestle and mortar. Grinding the spices combines the flavors better and gives a different texture to the sauce. If you want best of both worlds, I suppose you could first blend the dry ingredients and then grind them in a pestle and mortar.

Even though it was amazingly delicious, I have to give a little warning here: This recipe uses quite a few exotic ingredients and takes quite a long time to prepare. It is totally worth it in my opinion, but some time and patience is required.

Galanga root is a  ingredient used a lot in south east asian dishes [such as my Tom Yum Soup]. It is similar to ginger, and could be replaced by ginger if you can not find it. Tamarind has a sour taste. It's the fruit of the tamarind tree. You can buy tamarind as juice, jars or pressed in a brown block. I used the brown block. The tamarind block contains shells and seeds, which you can't eat. Therefore you dissolve tamarind in hot water and eat the tamarind pulp. Shimppaste [trassi] seriously smells. But hey, what can do you expect from a paste made out of shrimp? I always feel reluctant when I use it because it seems like it will mess up the whole dish. It doesn't though. Kecap manis is an Indonisian sweet soy sauce. It is available in supemarkets over here. I'm not sure if it is available in other countries. If you can't get hold of it I suppose you could use a regular soy sauce and add some extra sugar to the sauce.

Gado Gado - serves 4

Peanut sauce
1 3/4 cup - 250 gr peanuts
4 shallots
4 tablespoons oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 tablespoon - 20 gr tamarind
2 cm or 1 tablespoon galanga root
5 cloves garlic
3-4 bird eye chilli
1 teaspoon shrimppaste (trassi)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoon palmsugar  (Try to find indonesian palmsugar Gula Djawa)
5 tablespoon Kecap Manis
2 1/4 cup water 

1/2 cucumber
100 gr bean spouts
½ white cabbage
2 medium carrots
100 gr chinese long beans (or haricot verts)
150 gr/1,5 cup Chinese spinach “ong choi” or regular spinach
2 medium sized potatoes

100 gr tofu
100 gr tempeh
4 eggs
2 cups of rice 

Pestle and mortar or blender

Preheat the oven at 180 C/ 360 F 

Place the peanuts on a baking sheet in the middle of the over for 8-11 minutes or untill golden bown

Dice the shallots
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil [this is quite a lot]

Fry until goldenbrown and crispy
let them rest on some paper towels

Place the tamarind in a bowl and add ¼ cup hot water

Let the tamarind pulp dissolve in the water, you can squeeze the tamarind to help this process

Sieve the brown liquid to separate the tamarind pulp from the shells and seeds. You only use the brown water & pulp mixture

Chop the galanga, garlic and chili

Start by grinding the galanga and add all the other ingredients
one by one

Add the shrimppaste

and the onions

Add the palmsugar

and the tamarind pulp

[at this moment my pestle and mortar was full so I grinded my peanuts separately]

Grind the peanuts
[You can grind them in a food processor first to speed the grinding process]

Add water & soy sauce

Heat the sauce in a pan

Bring to a boil until the sauce thickens

To make the perfect white rice

Measure your rice [1 cup for 2 people]

Then wash the rice with cold water (2 - 3 times)

For every cup of rice add 1,5 cup of cold water

Bring to the boil on a high heat

Once the water is boiling turn the heat low & cover the pan

Boil for 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat keep the lid on and let the rice steam for another 10 - 20 minutes

Boil the eggs

Cut the tofu in blocks and fry until golden brown

Cut and fry the Tempeh until golden brown

Cut & clean the long beans

Cut the carrots into match like shape [3 inches / 7 cm]
wash the bean sprouts and cut the cabbage

Blanch the vegetables. That means boil them shortly so they are just done. They are supposed to be just done but still crunchy

The beans will take 3 minutes
Carrots 1 minute
Bean sprouts 30 seconds
Cabbage 30 seconds - 1 min
[cooking time will vary depending on how thick you cut the vegetables]

Cut the cucumbers in long stripes

Serve the vegetables, Tofu, Tempe, eggs cover with the peanut sauce and rice on the side

Selamat makan! 

ps. If you have some peanut sauce left over, great news! This stuff goes with virtually everything.. We even eat it on our french fries over here.

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