Gado Gado - this onomatopoeic word actually means "fight/commotion" in Malaysian lingo (Gaduh)! This innocuous salad is far from violent. If anything, it draws people to it and brings people together, which is what we love about food at My Blue Tea! Food unites everyone!
Jangan Gaduh, Makan Gado Gado lah! *
(Don´t be noisy, just eat Gado Gado!)
This salad does have a rather cute name. Just try saying I´ll have a gado gado instead of I´ll have a caesar salad when the waiter comes to your table. Doesn´t quite have the same ring to it!
In Indonesian, gado gado literally translates into 'mix-mix'". It comes from the word menggado, which means to eat something without rice. Now that is a rarity in Indonesia. Rice is very much a staple, and to ask someone to go without rice is going to send them into a state of cold turkey. Some people may know the dish as lotek (in Sundanese and Javanese). Gado gado is simply the name in Betawi Malay, the language of Jakarta.
As Shakespeare has already affirmed, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Call it what you will, gado gado and its different namesakes is essentially an Indonesian salad made up of a variety of blanched or steamed vegetables. It is accompanied by hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, fried tofu, tempeh, as well chopped as lontong or ketupat (rice cake). The royal icing on his cake is the spicy peanut sauce dressing. If you get your peanut sauce right, you have a winning gado gado on your hands.
The hot summer heat can be merciless sometimes, and a cool summer salad is a healthy way to beat the sweltering heat. You can get creative with the recipe we are sharing today by substituting the vegetables with whatever you have in your area or to your liking. The key to a power packed gado gado is really a good peanut sauce and a generous helping of kerupuk (prawn crackers).
What we love about gado gado is it is vegetarian and super healthy. However, do take care if you or your guests have peanut allergies. You can always separate the vegetables from the peanut sauce by putting the sauce in a dish, though the peanut sauce is really the protagonist in this dish. Some people may not be allergic to macadamia or pine nuts, so if that is a possible substitute for you, go for it.
My Blue Tea has good news though - our satay sauce powder is peanut-free (so you can choose to add your own choice of nuts or none) and it is made of 100% natural herbs and spices. So those who have been momentarily despondent to learn that this is a salad with a peanut sauce dressing, despair not. We have a solution for you!
Ingredients For Sauce
* 50 g Satay Sauce Base 500 ml Water * 30 ml Cooking Oil 100 g Toasted Peanuts
Ingredients for Gado Gado
* 300 g Kangkong (water convolvulus) Cut into 2" length, blanched
* 300 g Long Beans (Cut into 2" length, blanched )
* 200 g Bean Sprouts (blanched)
* 2 nos. Cucumber (shredded)
* 1 Parsnip (shredded)
* 4 pcs Tempeh/Fermented Soy Beans (Fried)
* 4 nos. Hard Bean curd (Fried) * 5 nos. Hard Boiled Egg (cut into wedges)
* a handful of Bean Sprouts
* Optional - any greens in season in your region that goes well with the sauce
People familiar with Indonesian food would know what gado gado is. It is one of the most popular Indonesian salads known outside of the country. There are many salads similar to gado gado, so you may have heard of other salad names like Ketoprak, Pecel, and Karedok.
All of them come with a peanut sauce dressing. Even the peanut sauce has varieties in these different offshoots, so it is quite a treat to try all the different varieties just to experience what they taste like.
Varieties of Salads
Not to confuse anyone, but we do love getting our hands deep into each dish to understand what makes each one so unique and special. Here´s a quick look at the different varieties of salads.
Gado Gado: Here you have a mixture of raw and cooked vegetables and sometimes rice cakes (known as ketupat in Malaysia). It is often served with hard-boiled eggs. The peanut dressing has coconut milk in it which gives the sauce quite a body and an exotic taste to it.
Lotek: Cooked vegetables are the foundation of this dish. The peanut dressing used here is really special because it uses a unique spice call kencur (Kaempferia galanga). My Blue Tea has tried to hunt down this elusive spice but it has been impossible. (Do tell us if you know the whereabouts of this spice!) This spice is a kind of root like ginger and galangal, but not at all similar to them. We lack the vocabulary to describe its special aroma. One day when the digital world invents a Scratch-and-Sniff website we will be able to share with everyone what this spice smells like! Lotek is a Sundanese vegetable salad with peanut dressing.
From left - Sundanese Lotek, Pecel (an Indonesian style peanut sauce with galangal) and Ketoprak, Jakarta vermicelli tofu salad with peanut dressing
Pecel: This has an Indonesian sauce made with peanuts and spices. It does not use coconut milk. This salad has mainly boiled leafy vegetables like kangkung, cassava leaves, papaya leaves and the peanut dressing has kencur (Kaempferia galanga) in it. You may hear some people use lotek and pecel interchangeably. They are pretty similar.
Ketoprak: This salad can be distinguished by its rice vermicelli noodles, rice cakes/ketupat served with raw vegetables such as cucumber. It is a West Javanese dish with peanut dressing. Purists will tell you not to confuse gado gado with ketoprak. Both are served with peanut dressing, but gado gado usually has more vegetables. My Blue Tea likes gado gado with boiled potato slices in the dish, otherwise it´s not gado gado to us! Ketoprak doesn’t have potatoes and instead, it has vermicelli rice noodles which gado gado doesn’t have. The dressing in Gado Gado is also a bit richer because of the addition of coconut milk in the peanut sauce.
With so many varieties of summer salads to choose from, you can let your culinary creativity run free! With our peanut friendly Satay Sauce Powder., you can add any kind of nuts you like, and even decide to go coconut-free and make a pecel salad or add our Coconut Powder to make gado gado.
Cool off with this "Blue Pea Nimbu Soda" drink using Blue Apple Magic Tea. Just add lemons and balance it with salt & sugar. So refreshing!
Now with so many varieties of summer salads to play around with, nobody can complain of the summer heat! Stay cool, spice up a hot afternoon with a gado gado for lunch and finish off the meal with a Blue Pea Nimbu Soda! There is a dish for every season, and we love how each season brings its own special food to enjoy. We are never bored at My Blue Tea when each season often feels too short to fully explore, experiment and enjoy all the seasonal dishes and ingredients! Before you know it, we´d be back sharing autumn recipes!
For now, stay cool and go nuts with gado gado!
My Blue Tea Satay Sauce Powder is the only satay sauce that is peanut friendly. You have the option to add your own peanuts.
Our Satay Sauce Powder is the perfect blend of 100% natural herbs and spices. No MSG. No Preservatives. No artificial colouring. HALAL certified.