I thought Gado Gado or Tipat Cantok as it’s known in Balinese was some sort of frisky dance routine when I first heard the name but it is in fact one of Indonesia’s most famous dishes and I am now hopelessly addicted to it. This is a nuisance as it’s not something I can see Weight Watchers advocating, and if they did, it would probably use up all ones points for the day. Anyway, what do I know, I haven’t a clue about the points system on WW and I don’t really care because Gado Gado is simply and utterly delicious and if you fancy having a go at making it yourself and don’t have a life threatening nut allergy, then step this way and I shall show you.
Ah, but before you step this way…..I’d probably better tell you what Gado Gado actually is. It’s a dish made up of lightly steamed vegetables (beansprouts, green beans, water spinach) lontong (steamed rice cake) potatoes, fried tofu, and a wonderful sauce made up of ground peanuts, ketchap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) garlic, palm sugar and chillies, lime and a sprinkling of salt. Depending on how ‘Pedas’ hot you want it, depends on how many chillies you put in, I’d stick to one small red one as it’s not meant to be hot, hot this dish, just a tiny bit but go for it if you dare.
If I was making this in London I would substitute the lontong for more potatoes but use new ones as they are beautiful and waxy and I would head up to Soho and get the Ketchap Manis, vegetables, chillies and some tamarind paste, and palm sugar whilst I was there because we are going to need that in the next recipe. I don’t know if you can get the water spinach in London but if you can’t I’d be tempted to use a few broccoli florettes me self or maybe the dark green leaves of pak choi? Any ideas very welcome! Oh, and one last thing, this is a dish best served up cold so pre steam the veg beforehand and then assemble the ingredients after you’ve made the sauce.
These photos were taken in a warung down the road from where I live in Bali. Most days after finishing my mornings work, I trot greedily down there to get my lunch and watch in wonder and awe as the lady who makes it grinds the spices, chops the lontong and vegetables and mixes it all in about 3 minutes flat. It’s poetry in motion watching her and there is always a little audience of children and workmen watching me, this strange yellow haired foreigner waiting for her food. I tried my hand at grinding some spices and chillies the other day and within 30 seconds I’d broken out into a muck sweat and my wrist was aching from the strain! How feeble is that? The portion is enormous and could easily feed 2 but I ain’t in a sharing mood when there’s Gado Gado involved. It costs 5,000 rp which is oh, Jeez my maths is terrible but if there are 14,000 to a pound, I’m sure you can work it out?!
Right there’s some serious pounding to be done so roll up your sleeves and get cracking or get that magimix into action now!