This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gado Gado

My father has owned his own business and has worked long hours for most of my life so I don't have many childhood memories of Dad being involved in my schooling. The one memory I do have is from when I was about nine and our school had an Indonesian day (since Indonesia is one of our closest neighbours we learned Indonesian in school). Dad took time off work and came to the school for the celebration and I remember sitting on the little tiny playground benches eating peanut satay chicken kebabs on banana leaves proudly eating with my Dad. Ever since that day I've loved peanut sauces (although I gave up on the chicken a while ago).

(Mum drove us everywhere and came to every other school event but I only remember Dad's solo visit. Poor Mum.)

Gado Gado is a traditional Indonesian dish of vegetables served with a peanut sauce. The only downside to peanut sauces are that they are quite high in fat but they are goddamn tasty so I'm happy to treat myself now and then. And considering the amount of vegetables you eat with this dish it's not too bad of a balance.

The things that makes this dish is the sauce so as long as you have that you can change the vegetables to whatever you have in the cupboard. However, I've included a recipe for a vegetable mixture because I loved the crunchy texture of it.

The only odd ingredient in this mix is the galangal. I've not seen it in the UK or in Australia fresh but we found a jar of galangal at Tesco and I just use that. It's popped up in a few recipes so it's handy to have. I imagine it would be easy to come across in Chinatown in Australia or maybe even just the supermarket.

Gado Gado

250g white cabbage, shredded
4 carrots, matchsticked
4 celery sticks, matchsticked
4 cups/250g beansprouts
1/2 cucumber, matchsticked
3 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 brown onion, cut into rings
salted peanuts, to garnish
chilli, sliced to garnish

Peanut Sauce
1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp minced galangal
1/4 tsp ground chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp lime juice
4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp soft light brown sugar

To cook the vegetables heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion rings and set aside on a paper towel to cool. Steam the cabbage, carrot and celery for 3-4 minutes (you want them tender but still with some crunch). Spread beansprouts on a plate and place steamed vegies and cucumber on top.

To make the sauce heat the oil in a saucepan and add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in spices (including galangal) and cook for 1 min further. Add lime juice, peanut butter and sugar and mix well. Heat sauce gently, stirring occasionally and adding a little hot water if necessary to make the sauce runny enough to be poured but still thick.

Spoon some of the sauce over the vegetables, toss lightly and garnish with fried onion, peanuts and chilli with the extra sauce on the side.


  1. Peanut sauces are awesome, I love them!
    On an Australian note, or at least a Brisbane note, I can generally find fresh galangal at either the supermarket or the asian grocery store.

  2. mmm, I love gado gado and peanuty sauces. I've just made a big pan of an African sweet potato and peanut stew!