Gado Gado (Indonesian Rice Salad)

I know spring has really started when my allergies go crazy, and this week, the fun began. I never had any allergy issues until I moved here, but now they show up right around my birthday every year, giving me really attractive red eyes and an awesome nasal-y voice. After about a week, I usually have so much congestion that I can’t really taste my food. And of course, nothing really works (I’ve tried pretty much every allergy drug there is).

So since I know that’s coming, I wanted to make something really flavorful and healthy, with lots of different textures. This is not only beautiful to look at thanks to all the different colors, it’s also loaded with nutrients. I am sure this peanut sauce isn’t totally authentic, because I looked up an Indonesian recipe and the real stuff has tamarind, lime, and coconut. But authentic or not, I love all the raw vegetables and the fragrant turmeric rice. The most crucial part is the crispy shallots on top. I know frying isn’t healthy, but it’s just a little bit, and the flavor and little crunch is absolutely worth it.

I diced up some of Trader Joe’s High Protein Tofu (extra firm) for protein, but if you eat meat, I think shredded or diced chicken would work well. The recipe also suggests diced hard-boiled eggs, which I could see being pretty good too.

Recipe:
(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

serves 4-6

2 cups brown rice
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp turmeric

6-8 cups washed, roughly chopped spinach
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
3 carrots, shredded
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 block high protein tofu, diced

1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sugar or evaporated cane juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/3 cup warm water

2 tbsp oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings

First make the rice, by combining the water, rice and turmeric in a rice cooker or by cooking on the stove.

Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork.

To make the peanut dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside

To make the crispy shallots, heat the oil in your smallest frying pan. When hot, add the shallots and stir occasionally until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

To assemble each salad: Put down a bed of spinach (1-1 1/2 cups). Top with about 1/2 a cup of rice. Top the rice with some cabbage, carrot, tomato, and tofu, then pour some dressing over that and sprinkle with the shallots.

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18 Responses to “Gado Gado (Indonesian Rice Salad)”


  1. 1 Carrie (Love Healthy Living) May 5, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Hi Cate, salad looks delish. Have you tried using a Neti pot? I’m in the same boat with allergies, but a daily Claritin and the neti pot helps me a lot.

  2. 2 Veggie Belly May 5, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I fell in love with gado gado when i first had it in jakarta. yum!

  3. 3 MarileeBob May 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Hi, love your site! I too have allergies and one of my co-workers told me (after a huge sneezing fit this a.m.) to try echinacia. Im going to try it!

  4. 4 Nicole May 6, 2010 at 6:30 am

    I love Gado Gado – I made this a couple weeks ago (couldn’t believe I’d managed to never make it for my husband!). I did mine with potatoes and eggs, though I love it with rice, too. 🙂

  5. 5 A Bowl Of Mush May 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    This salad is just the kind of thing I like to eat!

    Looks delicious! 🙂

  6. 6 tigerfish May 7, 2010 at 5:23 am

    The Gado Gado I know is an Indonesian salad of tofu, beans, vegetables, garnished with fried shallots, dressed or dipped in peanut sauce. I’m new to the rice factor here.

  7. 7 branny May 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make this from Mollie’s book but was always daunted by the serving size. But I shouldn’t be. It looks so delicious and your picture is so brilliant.

  8. 8 Cara May 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I love Moosewood recipes, so I’m not surprised at how good this sounds! Never heard of the high-protein tofu – I’ll have to look for it.

  9. 9 Tasha May 10, 2010 at 5:54 am

    What a beautiful colorful salad! Sounds so delicious too.

  10. 10 Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 11, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    That salad looks good! I like the use of the peanut butter in it!

  11. 11 Vicky April 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Sounds delicious. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog today – you’ve got so many great recipes that I can’t wait to try!

  12. 12 Rea September 5, 2012 at 2:35 am

    I’m so glad that you guys here are interested to try this one. I am very happy finding out that a foreigner love our traditional food. Actually, there are some kinds of salad here besides gado-gado, they are all quite the same. there are karedok (uses raw vegetables), lotek, urap, and even lalapan (mixed raw vegetables and you eat them by dipping them to Sambal terasi). They all have great tastes!
    by the way, I’m an Indonesian. nice to know you all.

  13. 13 Kenny October 12, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Hey, gado-gado don’t have any rice and there’s a peanut sauce

    I’m indonesian!

  14. 15 Margie October 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

    This “Gado-gado” look good, but no rice in original Indonesian Gado gado. Usually : Tofu, tempeh, hard boiled egg, salad, bean sprout, long beans and some other vegetables.

  15. 16 Alfi October 17, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Actually “Gado-gado” here in Indonesia are not using the rice but using “ketupat”, it’s kinda rice that cooked with the coconut-leaf. There’s another vegie culinary if you’re visiting Indonesia, like Karedok, Lotek, etc but with the diffrent kind of taste. But, I really glad to find “gado-gado” in this site. Good!


  1. 1 Gado Gado Trackback on November 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm
  2. 2 The easiest, prettiest dish ever. « thejodester Trackback on November 15, 2011 at 5:59 pm

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