Friday, August 3, 2012

Gado Gado, An Indonesian Feast

I went out on a limb and made a vegetarian meal for my extended family while we were on vacation at the beach.  This was a definite risk.

 However, everyone ate heartily and complimented the food, so I think the meal was a success.

Really, gado gado is a crowd-pleasing dish:  peanut sauce over barely-steamed vegetables and rice, with toppings like toasted coconut, scallions, sprouts,  radishes, cucumbers, and hard-boiled eggs.  I personally think that peanut sauce is addicting - I use a similar sauce when I make sesame noodles - and I love to try converting friends and family who are dubious.  Indonesians serve the vegetables at room temperature, which I also favor.

So many options for creativity here!  At the beach we had:

jasmine rice with turmeric
peanut sauce (recipe below)
roasted carrots
steamed green beans
steamed broccoli
roasted, marinated tofu cubes
hard-boiled eggs
toasted coconut
kim chi (which is Korean, but so fun to introduce my family to)

Peanut Sauce
(adapted from Moosewood, but I first came across the recipe and concept in my trusty More With Less)

In blender, combine until pureed:
1 cup peanut butter
1 generous Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup hot water (I save water from steaming vegetables)
salt to taste, optional
hot red pepper flakes, to taste, optional

Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled over steamed vegetables and hot rice.  Fab-o.

Ice cream everywhere on Ben except his face.  Unbelievable.

And then we ate brownies. . . or maybe wandered down to the boardwalk for ice cream.  I can't remember.  That's the genius of vacation - the calendar markers slide away and there is only time to think about what I want to do next.

I bammed back into my home life pretty quickly today and it was stressful for everyone.  I had to apologize a lot and explain a lot that I wasn't in the mood for conversation - honestly, the questions one of my children asks peck me slowly into insanity.

So let's dwell a bit on the Indonesian feast, a happy family around a big table, and ice cream in twilight on the boardwalk.


jodi said...

haha! I am quickly understanding why my mom often would tell us as kids, to give her five minutes of no talking while she worked. Sometimes the questions my son asks do, as you so wonderfully put it, slowly peck me into insanity. :) But the meal and the happy family around the dinner table, that is a good thing to focus on for sure. (that meal looks amazing!)

Hazel said...

I have a son like that too!

Gado Gado has been on my list of meals to try for a while- thanks for the prompt and the recipe.

Jennifer Jo said...

That meal looks like a dream. I'd be all over it.

("peck me slowly into insanity"---perfect.)

Eva Girl said...

My husband likes all things peanut butter...but I've never tried anything like this sauce for him yet! Maybe tonight's the night to try it ; )

Sarah Barry said...

Beautiful meal! I love food with so many textures and tastes. Thanks for the recipe.

Sew Blessed Maw said...

The meal looks fantastic. So proud everyone liked it..
YOur vaccation looks so nice and you all looked like you had a great time.
Coming home from vaccation is so hard.. All the chores seem to have piled up and all the things you didn't get done before you left, seems to be waiting for you [that's my after vaccation week,ha]
Hope all things come together soon.. So proud you enjoyed yourself. And I love,love your dress. so pretty

BLD in MT said...

Looks and sounds wonderful. Peanut sauce IS addicting! There was a time in my life that I ate it every single week I was so infatuated with it. It is so creamy and satisfying.

I shall have to try your variation as I am convinced one can not have too many.

LiEr said...

Margo, I LOVE Gado-gado! Drool. I miss it so much. We used to eat it often back in Singapore and I've thought of making it for my American half of the family here. We add deep-fried tempeh (fermented bean curd cakes) and shrimp crackers, rice cubes, cabbage, boiled potato cubes and bean sprouts in addition to what's on your list. Addictive. And very, very filling.

Margo said...

LiEr, I'll add shrimp crackers next time - good to know. But potatoes?? Wow, yes, filling. What are rice cubes?

LiEr said...

Margo: rice cubes are rice cooked in some kind of mold (we wrap ours in screwpine leaves so they are compacted together like a cake, almost. When they're done, they get diced into bite-sized cubes. Here's a link to what they look like:


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