Gado Gado appears on this blog at least once a year - and I make no apologies for that! It is one of my absolute favourite salads. Indonesian in origin, it is a delicious mixture of raw and cooked vegetables, with a spicy peanut dressing, that can be served as a side dish, as part of a rijstaffel or as a main dish by itself, depending on what is added.
I first encountered it not in Indonesia, but in Hong Kong - I was shopping in a busy side street off Nathan Road in Kowloon. It was lunchtime and a delicious smell led me down a dark staircase to a tiny little Indonesian restaurant, where a set lunch was served for just a few HK$. It was so delicious that I went back there many times afterwards - the meal consisted of a divided stainless steel platter with rice in one section, gado gado in another, a hot red-sauced curried egg in a third and a chicken or meat curry in the fourth. Only the last curry changed on different visits - sometimes a creamy Opor Ajam, sometimes a fiery Beef Rendang, and lots of other variations. The waiter walked around the tables with what looked like a small bucket containing cooked rice, which was ladled onto the plates of any diner whose pile of rice was becoming depleted.
Since then I've eaten it many times, in many different restaurants and homes, and made it myself many times. It is as varied as the "mixed salad" you might order in a British restaurant, but always delicious!
Yesterday, Mark and I decided to create a Malaysian meal together. We spent all afternoon cooking (I think we may have set the record for the amount of washing up created by two people in eight hours!) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and the meal at the end of it was worth every scrap of the effort - Roti Canai with a dipping curry, chicken satay with peanut sauce, gado gado, prawn crackers and fresh pineapple. You can read all the details, and of course see some stunning photos, on Mark's blog.
Because we were serving it as a side salad with plump, juicy satay, we left off the tofu and cashew nuts from the gado gado, but I wasn't going to miss out on my eggs! They go so wonderfully with the delicious peanutty dressing. The salad contained lightly cooked carrots, green beans, Chinese leaves and beansprouts mixed with raw watercress and cucumber.
You can read the full recipe for the salad and the sauce in my previous posts here and here. Here it is topped with some prawn crackers - only do this immediately before eating, or they'll go soggy.
For me, gado gado simply wouldn't BE gado gado without the eggs, so I'm linking up to the new Simply Eggcellent link-up at Belleau Kitchen
And in honour of the Malaysian Grand Prix, I'm joining in with Formula 1 Foods at Caroline Makes