A twist on a traditional Indonesian dish. Steamed vegetables, cubes of fried tofu, and hard-boiled egg come together with a spicy peanut sauce for dipping.
When Paul and I arrived in Bali in December, a day late and with no luggage, we were greeted at the airport by a man holding a sign with our names on it. Actually I think it just said “Mr. Paul,” but that’s neither here nor there.
The driver, who was to take us onward to a port where we’d catch a fast-speed boat to our first destination, was a friendly and well-spoken fellow with excellent English and cloudy eyes. I noticed this same cloudiness in the eyes of many of the locals throughout our trip, and although after doing a bit of research I now believe sun damage to be the likely culprit, it immediately took me back to the international nutrition classes I took during my undergrad, where we learned about the problem vitamin A deficiency and eye health.
One of the things I most remember is how deep rooted cultural norms can be one of the biggest barriers to resolving vitamin A deficiency. For example, a ripe papaya would have beta-carotene – a precursor to Vitamin A – in abundance, but so often the papaya is eaten when green, for example in a green papaya salad. Or, white sweet potatoes may be the cultural norm, whereas orange sweet potatoes are chock full of beta-carotene.
I thought of this often over the course of our trip, and especially when eating gado-gado – the dish I’m sharing with you today. It’s a simple dish of lightly boiled or steamed vegetables, some tofu, a hard-boiled egg, and a spicy peanut sauce for dipping. In Indonesia it’s usually served with shrimp crackers, which always make me think of my maternal grandmother.
This dish is easy as can be; it’s basically just a recipe for peanut sauce. The vegetables you use are up to you and can be switched up seasonally, or according to whatever you’ve got on hand. Instead of the usual plain potatoes, I’ve used orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in this gado-gado to beef up the vitamin A content, and I’ve often included steamed or roasted butternut squash as well. If you’re vegan simply leave out the hard-boiled egg and add extra tofu. If you’re looking for a more substantial dish – although this is pretty substantial already – you can serve it with a side of brown rice.
Gado-gado also packs reasonably well for lunches, although the nature of steamed vegetables is a fairly short life in the fridge due to all the moisture, so I recommend packing this for lunches on the early end of the week. If packing for lunches, don’t chop the boiled egg in advance, as it tends to dry out. I pack it with the egg whole, tucked alongside the veg with a little jar of peanut sauce, then peel and chop it right before lunch.
Two years ago: Pizza Sallad
- PEANUT SAUCE
- ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar or brown sugar
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon liquid aminos I use Braggs or light soy sauce
- ½ cup warm water less for a thicker sauce
- 1 head broccoli broken into florets and steamed
- ½ medium cauliflower broken into florets steamed
- 1 medium sweet potato sliced into rounds and steamed
- 1 medium zucchini chopped and steamed
- 1 250 g pkg tofu cubed and lightly pan fried
- 4 hardboiled eggs
- TO MAKE THE PEANUT SAUCE
- In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, sugar, rice vinegar, and liquid aminos. Stream in the warm water a bit at a time, and whisk until well combined.
- FOR GADO-GADO
- Arrange steamed vegetables, quartered hard-boiled eggs, and fried tofu on a large platter. Serve with peanut sauce in small pots for dipping.
-To pack for lunches don't chop the hard boiled eggs as they can dry out
Jenny @ BAKE
This sounds amazing! what a delicious lunch! I have been meaning to try gado gado for a while but the recipe I have has so many ingredients I don't usually keep around I have been put off making it! I will definitely have to try yours as it is full of things I usually have lurking in my fridge.
This post has inspired me to travel alllllthelands! - I've been bit by the travel bug lately and there are seriously so many places I need to see...all of Indonesia, for starters! I love all things ethnic food and this spread is looking absolutely marvelous!
Indonesia is very lovely. One of the best places I've been to in Asia so far, so can highly recommend. The most amazing food, too. Get yerself on a plane!
I love gado gado and posted about it ages ago. A reminder that I should eat some soon! Love your sauce. Good sauce like this needs to be doubled so one can eat half from the bowl!
I'll have to dig through your archives for your version of gado gado! I had plenty of sauce leftover, and yes, a spoon was dipped in the sauce jar more than once. Don't tell anyone!
This sounds like such a delicious, simple lunch! I could dip things in peanut sauce forever. 🙂
Me too! Peanut sauce is great with practically everything!
Love this idea for a fun packed lunch, make in bulk and you are set for a few days! Yum!
Yep, it's perfect for exactly that! Great fresh meal but also great for making ahead.
Sonali- The Foodie Physician
I love the assortment of veggies and that sauce sounds delicious!
It is delicious, Sonali! And so many different things that could be dipped in there!
Chucking at the luggage labelling, in the longing for a holiday sort of way! This pic has to be my friend this week, mmm x