When we were living in Tokyo I was introduced to gado gado - a dish that has become a family favourite but was almost never tasted. I was lunching with friends on that fateful day and the prepared lunch was a salad made with an odd selection of raw and lightly steamed vegetables topped with fruit and what appeared to be gravy. To be truthful it looked pretty nasty to me. Fortunately good manners prevailed and I simply could not refuse the dish thereby risking offence or embarrassment for my hostess. The first bite was a revelation and on the second I was hooked. Gado gado is a particular favourite of Hannah's and as we were celebrating her birthday (a bit late) on Sunday, gado gado was the menu. This time I decided to use vegetables from my garden and make a slightly more North American version. Simple, clean, whole food. I don't know if it was better or not but it was certainly very good.
Gado gado requires a fair amount of chopping and prepping but as the dish is served cold it can all be done well in advance, making it a perfect meal to serve to guests. It also lends itself well to a family pot-luck type event where everyone brings an item and no one is stuck with a mountain of work. It can be plated if you want but it is much more fun to load the table with bowls of ingredients and condiments and let each person make a salad that pleases their personal palate. Kids and adults alike pretty much licked the plates clean.
The amounts I am including here happily feed our crowd - 8 adults and 8 children. I realize that may be many more than you are feeding or it may be less. It is simple to adjust the amounts down to accommodate your numbers and even more simple to make it as is and eat gado gado tomorrow night as well. It also pack well for a wonderful lunch.
garden gado gado
3 cups brown rice, steamed
4 cups chopped kale
5 carrots, scrubbed and julienned
4 medium beets, shredded
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 lb fresh green beans, lightly steamed
new potatoes, steamed and quartered
1/2 english cucumber, diced
6 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup grated onion
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter
2 cups water
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce*
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
3 Tbsp lime juice
Saute onion and ginger in coconut oil over medium heat for about a minute. Add peanut butter, water, soy sauce, sae salt, palm sugar and lime juice. Whisk until smooth and cook at low heat for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Just prior to serving whisk in the apple cider vinegar.
Layer salad ingredients (roughly) in the order listed. If each person loads their own plate they can add according to personal preference in terms of what and how much. Drizzle with peanut sauce and pass the sriracha to taste.
*If you use a gluten free soy sauce (check the label carefully!) this is easily gluten free.