Now that I get my local Growing Communities ‘veg box’ (it actually comes in a plastic bag – more on that in another post…) every week, I panic when the occasion arises that I’m seeing my parents: because I can never leave them without a full bag of produce from their own allotment in West London – and how will I get through all these fresh vegetables before next week’s veg supplement?! So these visits are always followed by days rich with numerous nutritious dishes!
One dish that often comes to mind at a certain time of year, due to the green beans, spinach, and the usual carrots and potatoes that I receive, is Gado Gado. This is an Indonesian staple introduced to me by Rebecca during her residency in Jakarta – she sent me a package of hard, brown ‘stuff’, labeled “Bumbu Sate” (Satay sauce) so I dutifully looked this up online and followed the Sri Owen’s instructions I found on the Global Gourmet site . It is essentially a satay sauce to be served on a salad of cold vegetables: green beans, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, beansprouts, spinach, potatoes and topped with hard boiled egg and tofu and sprinkled with crispy fried onions (these are not to be neglected!)
Now the time and ingredients were right for this dish to be concocted – but I had to make the sauce from scratch – and none of the recipes online could agree! I followed the vague ideas set down in to the one above and this Mediterrasion.com and then adjusted to taste. What I list below is roughly what I think I put in when I thought about it afterwards.
What you want a sweet (brown sugar) and salty (soy), garlicy, rich peanut sauce (freshly ground would be even better than my use of wholenut peanut butter) with a hint of coconut, medium hot with red chilli and thinned down with veg water and sparked off at the end with a good glug of lime juice. See a photo of my homemade version
Crush to a paste:
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp red chilli flakes (or more fresh)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
4 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3/4 block coconut cream (or 1/2 tin coconut milk?)
1/4 tsp chilli powder
6-8 tbsp whole peanut butter
1.5 – 2 cups water (the same that you blanched the vegetables in)
3/4 – 1 juice of lime
(3 tbsp sambal pecel *)
Heat some peanut oil and saute the crushed garlic and chilli paste in it for a minute. Stir the mixture into this, and then add the peanut butter and the water. Cook for 15 mins. Add the lime juice just before serving, when the sauce is creamy.
Pour over a bowl/plate full of yummy crispy vegetables!
(* I found some Sambal Pecel sauce in my cupboard that I also got sent from Indonesia – this is a hotter satay sauce that i find needs to be thinned out considerably with coconut milk – but I do think a small amount added to the Bumbu sauce above adds to the flavour)