Gado-gado is one of Indonesia's most favourite dish everywhere in the world. It is actually vegetable salad dressed in specially prepared peanut sauce. In Indonesia, there are a few dish that resemble gado-gado (with the same kind, or a variation of peanut sauce), such as pecel, lotek, and ketoprak. Pecel and lotek is the closest to gado-gado, so people often mistake them as gado-gado.
Use stone pestle, not blender
Preparation of gado-gado is mainly the preparation of the peanut sauce. There are many gado-gado recipes in the Internet, but most of them advice the use of peanut butter or freshly fried peanut grinded with a blender. But the original traditional Indonesian gado-gado uses cobek batu (Indonesian style stone pestle). This is one of the ingenous Indonesian food preparation technique (see: Indonesian food).
Using stone pestle
The pestle makes the peanuts not to become too soft and produce a certain kind of flavor which cannot be achieved by using blender or peanut butter. Using a pestle is not just crunching the peanuts but also mixes them with all other ingredients. To do pestling is not to pound but to grind and mix all ingredients together in circular hand movement with enough pressure to crush all ingredients. In Indonesia, this is called uleg or ulek, a technique used in making varieties of indonesian food. You need some practice before you can do pestling the correct way.
- 100 g water spinach, boiled
- 100 g spinach, boiled
- 10 long bean, cut into small pieces then boil
- ½ chayote, peel then cut into small pieces (stick or cube shape) and boil
- 100 g bean sprouts, put in hot water
The peanut sauce (for each servings)
- chilli pepper (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon fried terasi (shrimp paste)
- 1 teaspoon (or to taste) of salt
- 1 teaspoon (or to taste) coconut sugar or palm sugar (can be substituted with brown sugar)
- 100 g cashew nut mixed with 50 g peanut (or you can use peanut only), deep fried
- water mixed with tamarind extract
- Hard boiled egg, peeled
- Deep fried tempeh and tofu, then cut into pieces
- Deep fried emping (crackers made from gnetum gnemon)
- Deep fried sliced onion (sliced very small)
- Lontong (compressed rice roll) or rice.
The only utensils you need is cobek batu (Indonesian style stone pestle) and something to mix the vegetables and the peanut sauce and also to put the ready made gado-gado to the plate.
All preparation is done in the cobek batu.
- Pestle chilli pepper and garlic.
- Add terasi, salt, coconut sugar, and the cashew nuts and peanuts.
- Pestle more.
- Add water and tamarind water little by little while keep on pestling until you get a thick sauce (don't put tamarind water too much, just put it to taste).
- Add the vegetables (also add half egg, tofu, and tempe if you like). Mix it with the sauce.
- Put into the plate
- Pour a bit fried onion
- Serve with emping and lontong (or rice).