🇮🇩 Gado Gado
Gado Gado – fun to say, delicious to eat, this traditional Indonesian salad is probably the only recipe where you can put the words “blanched vegetables” and “tasty” in the same sentence and really mean it. That Gado Gado peanut sauce is a miracle worker!
A Bali food favourite, it’s healthy and endlessly versatile. Use ANY vegetables – raw or cooked!
All the veg can be warm or at room temp, so cook them first. Tempeh/tofu is best hot and crispy fresh out of the skillet.
GADO GADO SAUCE:
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or crunchy (your choice) (Note 1)
- 4 tsp red curry paste , store bought (Maesri brand best, Note 2)
- 3 tsp Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce, Note 3)
- 1 tsp sambal oelak or other chilli paste (adjust spiciness to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large garlic clove , pressed using garlic press (~ 3/4 tsp)
- 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice (Note 4)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk , full fat (Ayam brand best)
- 1/2 cup water
SALAD (USE ANY VEG, NOTE 5):
- 1 bunch spinach , roots trimmed
- 4 cups beansprouts
- 200g / 7 oz potato - small halved, large peeled chopped 2 cm / 1" cubes OR 1.5cm / 1/2" slices
- 1 cucumber , sliced on the diagonal ( or 1/2 long cucumber ie Telegraph/English)
- 2 - 3 boiled eggs , peeled and halved
- 15 prawn crackers , optional (Note 6)
CRISPY TEMPEH (OR TOFU):
- 2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
- 200g / 7 oz tempeh (or firm tofu, Note 7)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped peanuts (highly recommended)
- Red chilli , finely sliced, optional (small = spicy, large = less spicy
GADO GADO PEANUT SAUCE:
- Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to simmer then cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly so the bottom doesn't catch, until it thickens. If too thick, just add more water - should be able to drizzle it (see video for thickness).
- Taste and adjust as follows: lime for more sour, salt, sugar for sweet.
- Cover and keep warm.
- Bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
- Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to colander to drain.
- Cook beansprouts for 3 minutes or until just wilted. Transfer to colander, press out excess water.
- Add spinach, push under to submerge - will instantly wilt. Remove, transfer to colander, press out excess water.
- CRISPY TEMPEH OR TOFU:
- Slice into 0.75 x 5 cm / 1/3 x 2" slices (or thereabouts).
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook tempeh 2 min on each side until deep golden and crispy. (Tofu ~ 1 1/2 min)
- Either make one platter for sharing, or individual. Vegetables and egg can be served warm or at room temp, sauce should be served warm (it thickens when cool).
- Place vegetables and tempeh on serving plate, top with egg.
- Pour sauce into serving bowl.
- Serve Gado Gado Salad with peanut sauce, peanuts for sprinkling, fresh chilies and prawn crackers on the side.
🇨🇳 Wood Ear Mushroom Salad
Standing out for their springy, crunchy texture, wood ear mushrooms are versatile and tasty! This post shows the rehydration process and how to make them into a delicious salad.
STEP 1: COOK THE MUSHROOMS
Rehydrate and wash the mushrooms following the steps explained earlier. Tear large ones into bite-sized pieces.
Bring a pot of water to a full boil then blanch them for about 5 mins.
Drain, then rinse under running water to cool.
Tip: You may need to slightly reduce the cooking time if your wood ears are extra thin. After cooking, they should retain the springiness and don’t feel too soft or mushy/slimy.
STEP 2: MAKE THE SAUCE
When making Chinese-style salad, my go-to formula involves a particular method called You Po meaning “pouring hot oil”. This diminishes the sharp taste of raw aromatics (garlic, scallions, etc.) and fully releases the flavor of spices.
Put minced garlic, chili flakes/powder and ground Sichuan pepper into a heat-proof bowl. Heat some oil then pour into the bowl.
Add light soy sauce, black rice vinegar and a little sugar. Mix well.
Tip: This dressing can be used for making salads with other ingredients (e.g. cucumber, Napa cabbage), for seasoning a meat appetizer (e.g. braised beef shank), or as a dipping sauce for dumplings.
STEP 3: COMBINE THE DISH
Add wood ears, thinly sliced red onion and fresh chili pepper to a large bowl (If you’re a fan of coriander/cilantro like me, add some for extra color and flavor). Pour the sauce over then mix well.
Tip: You may enjoy the dish right away. Or, chill it in the fridge for a while for a better taste (the dressing will be absorbed more by the wood ears over time).
🇮🇹 Zucchini Carpaccio With Ricotta
By Katie Caldesi
This Italian dish boasts a light flavor with a floral sweetness thanks to the melon. Zucchini delivers a healthy dose of vitamin C and manganese.
Ingredients for the dressing
- 1/2 to 1 red or green chili, according to taste, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus extra zest to garnish
- 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the salad
- 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
- 4 medium yellow or red tomatoes, sliced, or 12 to 16 yellow or red cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and finely sliced
- Handful of basil leaves, tough stems discarded
- 1/2 honeydew or cantaloupe melon, scooped into pearls or balls
- 1 cup ricotta, drained
- Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste and set aside.
- Arrange a layer of some of the zucchini slices, tomatoes, and peppers on one large serving plate or on individual dishes. Pour on a little dressing. Add the remaining sliced vegetables on top, followed by the remaining dressing. (At this point you can place the salad in the fridge for a few hours if you want to serve it later.)
- Just before serving, scatter the basil leaves and melon balls over the salad, and top with teaspoon-size dollops of ricotta. Grate a little extra lemon zest on top and finish with a grind of black pepper.
🇮🇳 Kachumber Salad
Chop. Toss. Serve. This classic Indian salad is all done in under 15 minutes with no cooking required. Simple everyday ingredients such as tomato, onion and cucumber make this kachumber salad a midweek favorite.
It is a refreshing Indian salad with a hint of spice and is often served on the side as an accompaniment to a main meal.
Flavour/Texture: Like a typical tomato salsa or even a Greek salad, the textures are crunchy, while the tomatoes help soften the overall textures. This Indian kachumber salad is refreshing and familiar.
- 2 tomatoes, large
- 1 onion, small
- 1 cucumber, medium
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 0.3 cup coriander, chopped
- 0.3 tsp salt
- 0.3 tsp pepper
- 0.3 tsp red chilli powder
- 0.3 tsp cumin powder
- ½ lime, juiced
- Chop the tomatoes, onion, cucumber and green chilli.
- Mix them with the rest of the ingredients.
- Garnish with some coriander. Finely chopped coriander leaves can also be added to the salad if you wish.
A good red chilli powder substitute is cayenne pepper. If the red chilli pepper is too much, you can just add black pepper powder
You can replace coriander with flat leaf parsley.
The citrus component can be lime or lemon.
You can use serrano or jalapeños if you can’t find green chillies.
Some known variations to the recipe include adding red radish, carrots, bell peppers, cabbage, pomegranate arils and mint leaves.
For some crunch, you can add peanuts, walnuts or some seeds such as pepitas, sunflower seeds or hemp seeds.
For a kachumber salad with vinegar, replace the lime or lemon juice with equal parts vinegar.