We are starting this month’s blogging marathon today and my theme for the first week is ‘National dishes from countries around the world‘. I didn’t really realize each country has it’s own national dish until I started researching for this theme. There is a whole list of national dishes on Wiki. Some countries have more than one national dish.
Choosing 3 dishes from countries all over the world was quite a challenge. I was really happy to see 3 dishes that have been on my to-make list on Wiki’s list. So for the first day, I have Indonesian national dish “Gado Gado’.
Gado Gado is an Indonesian salad that is served with a creamy peanut sauce. This salad usually has both cooked and raw veggies along with boiled eggs, fried tofu and tempeh. Most of the ingredients for the salad are customizable. I read somewhere that boiled potatoes and eggs are absolute must and everything else is optional. I skipped the eggs and made this a vegan salad.
The main component however is the peanut sauce. I got hooked to this peanut sauce when one of my friend made it for a party. After tasting the salad with the peanut sauce, it will be obvious why it is the most important part of the salad. The peanut sauce makes any and every vegetable taste so much tasty.
I used about these 2 recipes (Food & Wine, Veggie Belly) to make my Gado Gado salad and sauce. I served the sauce with sliced cucumbers, boiled potatoes, bok choy, carrots, broccoli, fried tofu and Lontong (rice balls)
Make Lontong: Bring water, rice and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Lower the heat, cover and cook until the water is evaporated and the rice is cooked through, about 15~20 minutes. Cover and rest for at least 5 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, lightly wet hands and form the rice into balls. Roll the balls in sesame seeds and place them on serving plate.
Cook Veggies: Bring potatoes and water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10~12 minutes. Remove from the water using a strainer. Set aside to cool.
Cook carrots, broccoli and bok choy separately until crisp tender. Use more than one sauce pan to speed up the cooking process.
Cook Tofu: Combine rice flour, Chinese five spice, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Add the chopped tofu and toss to coat the pieces. Heat 2tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, cook the coated tofu in a single layer until golden on both sides. Make sure not to crowd the pan, cook in batches if needed.
Make Peanut Sauce: Combine peanut butter, red chili flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt and lemon juice in a blender. Add 1cup of hot water. Blend until smooth.
Remove the peanut butter mixture into a sauce pan and cook until warmed through. Add chopped scallions and cilantro, mix well.
To Serve: Sauce can be served on the side along with the veggies and rice balls or pour the sauce all over the veggies and rice.
This a very healthy & delicious dish that is very filling. Even though it is a salad, it is a complete meal with rice and potatoes for carbs, tofu, tempeh (and eggs) for protein. Peanut sauce is the highlight -- a must try for all peanut & peanut butter lovers.