Friday, May 31, 2013

Indonesian Javanese Gado-Gado, Veganized

Veganized Javanese Gado-Gado without the sauce: steamed kale, cabbage, green beans, bean sprouts, underneath.  Topped with steamed sliced potatoes, baked seasoned tofu, baked seasoned tempeh, fresh tomatoes, and fresh cucumber slices.
The peanut Gado-Gado sauce
Summer is almost here!  I am craving salad type of dish and dishes that I don't need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I've been thinking about blogging Gado-Gado for a while now.  Finally!  Here it is!

Gado-gado is an Indonesian Javanese salad consisted of boiled or steamed vegetable served with peanut sauce.  It is a complete meal and usually served with lontong or ketupat (Indonesian rice cake) but it can be served without it.  I believe that it is also gluten-free.  When the salad ingredients are combined with the sauce, it looks like this one below.  It is so delicious eaten with the garlic tapioca chips or kerupuk (the chips on the right side behind the salad)  or emping (the yellowish chips on the left side behind the salad).

During college days, I worked in an Indonesian restaurant and my job was making gado-gado sauce.  The restaurant cut corner by using creamy peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy) and then added hot water, sambal, brown sugar, and some minced garlic.  In my opinion, it was disgusting to do it that way and that it was not authentic but since it is not my restaurant I just did what I was told to do.  Customers liked it but they didn't know any better.  It is not how I make it at home obviously.  Sometimes I bought a packaged imported gado-gado sauce from Asian markets but the best is to make the sauce from scratch at home.

Peanut Sauce:
The peanut sauce is the key to this salad.  I like to use roasted peanuts and blend it using a Vitamix or a food processor with the other spices and herbs added to it.  Although, if you want it easier and if you don't have a high speed blender, you can use Natural Peanut Butter(such as Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter from Trader Joe's), make sure that the ingredients are just peanuts and salt, not the one that has other ingredients in it like oil, sugar, etc.  I usually buy Trader Joe's Lightly Salted Peanuts.

 I also use my own sambal that has no shrimp paste in it.  However, you can also use sambal oelek which has no shrimp paste for an easier way.  I will be adding sugar, salt, tamarind juice, lime juice, etc.  but this way I can control the amount of sugar and salt.  If I use a store-bought peanut butter that has sugar in it, I am pretty much stuck with the amount of sugar so I prefer not to.  DH doesn't like sweet food and pretty much doesn't like peanut sauce made from store-bought peanut butter.  He said that the Indonesian peanut sauce is too sweet.  He likes my peanut sauce because I make it not too sweet and a bit on the sweet sour side with lime and lemon juice added to it.

All kinds of vegetables that are good being steamed will be good for this salad.  However, the traditional vegetables are long beans or green beans, cabbage, bean sprouts, spinach, and potato.  I also like to steam the vegetables instead of boiling them.  Fresh vegetable such as tomatoes and cucumbers are great additions too.

The traditional gado-gado also uses boiled eggs which I don't use.  The traditional way also use fried tempeh and/or tofu.  I use baked tempeh and tofu.

Indonesian Javanese Gado-Gado
Serve 6-8
Printable Recipe

Garlic tapioca crackers/chips or kerupuk
Emping (padi oats crackers/chips)
Fried Shallots, optional

3-4 cups cabbage, cut into bite pieces
3-4 cups kale, cut into bite pieces
3-4 cups green beans, cut into bite pieces
3-4 cups bean sprouts
3 potatoes, each cut into 3
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 cucumbers, sliced

  1. Steam cabbage, kale, green beans, separately on a vegetable steamer or basket for 7 minutes each.  Prepare a bowl of ice water.  After each vegetable is steamed, immerse into the bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  This way the vegetable will stay bright green and still a bit crunchy.
  2. Steam bean sprouts for 5 minutes and immerse into a bowl of ice water similar to step 1.
  3. Steam potatoes for 15-20 minutes until tender but still firm.  Let them cool and then peel. Then slice into bite pieces.

Baked Tofu and/or Tempeh(store bought baked tofu can be used instead):
1 to 1 1/2 lb. extra-firm tofu
3/4 to 1 cup water
1/4 cup dark Superior brand mushroom soy sauce
Note: regular soy sauce will do but this dark mushroom soy sauce is my preference. It makes the baked tofu dark chocolate brown but the inside is light cream color. Pretty and delicious!
2 tablespoon maple syrup or organic molasses
1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke, optional for this recipe

  1. Slice tofu or tempeh about 1/3-inch thick lengthwise. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a plastic container with tight lid in which you can soak all of the tofu or tempeh slices in this marinade sauce. Marinate the tofu slices for 24 hours in refrigerator.
  2.  Bake drained marinated tofu or tempeh slices on an oiled cookie sheets for 10- 12 minutes in 400 F oven. Flip and bake the other side about another 10-12 minutes. Let them cool before use.
Peanut Sauce:
Printable Recipe
1 1/2 cups lightly salted roasted peanuts
1 1/4 cup light coconut milk
4 garlic cloves
5 shallots cloves
4 Tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime, about 3-4 Tbsp.
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 tamarind liquid from soaking dried tamarind paste in warm water
2 Tbsp. sambal oelek, or less for less spicy
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 Tbsp. white miso
1 Lemon, optional
1 Tbsp. Kecap Manis, optional

  1. Combine roasted peanuts, garlic, shallots, coconut milk, palm or brown sugar, tamarind juice, sambal oelek, salt, and miso in a high speed blender or food processor. Pulse and blend until desired consistency.  Usually, it is the consistency of a gravy.  Some people like a crunchier sauce.  It is a matter of a taste on the consistency.
  2.  If food processor or blender is not used and if using natural peanut butter, mince shallots and garlic finely, and then combine with coconut milk, palm or brown sugar, tamarind juice, sambal oelek, salt, and miso in a bowl or a medium size pot until thoroughly blended.
  3. Add the kaffir lime leaves, if using, into the sauce
  4. Heat the sauce in a medium size pot until it boils, turn down the heat, and then simmer for about 10 minutes.  If the sauce is too thick, add more coconut milk or water.
  5. Remove from heat, add the juice of lime, kecap manis,  and squirt 1-2 Tbsp. of lemon juice.  This step is optional to those who likes the sauce sweet.  The amount of sugar can also be adjusted depending on how sweet the sauce to be.  Add more salt if necessary.
  6. Let it cool before using and store in the fridge.  When this sauce is cold (refrigerated), it tends to be very thick.  Add warm water or reheat in a pot to thin it out.
Gado-gado usually is served in room temperature.  It is a great to prepare this dish ahead of time, store the ingredients separately in the fridge, then assemble just before serving.

  1. Combine vegetables in a large salad bowl (including the tomatoes and cucumber).
  2. Add peanut sauce and toss together.  Sprinkle with fried shallots.
  3. Add garlic crackers/chips (kerupuk) and emping(padi oats crackers) on top or on the side.
Garlic Tapioca Crackers/Chips (Kerupuk)
Emping (padi oats crackers/chips)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Vegan Indonesian Sambal Goreng(Curry) with Beyond Meat and Viva La Vegan Grocery

Indonesian Sambal Goreng with Beyond Meat, Potatoes, and other Vegetables
I am posting yet another Indonesian dish.  It has been an Indonesian cuisine fewer at our house lately.  Sambal Goreng (pronounce some-ball go-rang) is a Javanese dish made of sambal (spicy chili condiment) that is stir fried with other herbs and spices for long minutes before coconut milk is added to it. It is a stew curry like Thai panang or red curry.  The traditional ingredients are not vegetarian (except sometimes we use potato)  such as chicken livers, gizzards, etc.  Items that are kind of gross to vegetarians.  Sometimes people use shrimps and fish also.  The Javanese also use terasi or shrimp paste.  Therefore, a vegetarian has to be careful in eating Indonesian curry that has no meat in it since shrimp paste may still be used.

I veganized it without using shrimp paste or meat by using potato, carrots, green beans, and edamame.  I also use miso to replace the shrimp paste.  Tofu and tempeh can also be added to it.  This time I incorporated Beyond Meat just because I just want to try cooking with Beyond Meat.  I love to experiment and try new things.  I am fine with eating tofu and tempeh but I love to venture to other options that are available to vegans.

It was not easy to get my hands to Beyond Meat.  I first heard about it from Phoney Baloney's when they still have their sandwich business.  They made delicious chick'n sandwiches with this product.  For a long time Beyond Meat is not available to retail consumers like me.  Only just recently that it is available in Whole Foods in retail packaging.  However, I didn't buy it from Whole Foods this time.  I bought the 5 lbs. package of unseasoned one from Viva La Vegan Grocery.

It's a long drive for me to get to Viva La Vegan Grocery.  However, it was well worth it.  Not only I was able to shop for vegan stuff WITHOUT LOOKING AND CHECKING INGREDIENTS (how awesome is that?) but I also got to eat at Vegan with Joy (the vegan deli inside this grocery store).  The food at this deli was really good and the grocery was large.  It was an awesome visit to this place.

Now, about this dish.  I use the same herbs I used in making the Vegan Indonesian 'Lamb' Curry but I used less spices and a milder spice, coriander.  I did use fresh chili and controlled the spicyness in my guidance title 'About the level of heat' in this blog.  The dish below looks red and spicy but it is not that hot.

Vegan Indonesian Sambal Goreng (Curry)
Serve 6-8
Printable Recipe

12 oz. Beyond Meat, Extra Firm Tofu, or Tempeh, cut into cubes
Note:  if using tofu or tempeh, I usually, bake them in the oven until brown and crispy first
2 cups shelled edamame (frozen and then thawed)
2 medium tomatoes (fresh), diced into cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen green beans(thawed)
1 1/2 cups diced carrots  (peeled and diced)
2 cups diced potatoes (peeled and diced)
1-2 tsp. salt
2-3 brown sugar or palm sugar
1-2 tbps. miso
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cups tamarind water or a few squeezes of lime, optional
Note: soak 1 inch tamarind paste in warm water
Oil for stir frying sambal

Spice paste ingredients:
6 shallot cloves, peeled
5 garlic cloves, peeled
5 candlenuts
3 large dried New Mexico chili
Note:  Soak the dried chili in the 1-2 cups warm water for 10 minutes, remove stem and seeds, drained and reserve the soaking water
3 fresh Thai Chili (green serrano chili), use less for less spicy

Fresh herbs:
2-3 slices fresh ginger
2-3 slices fresh galanga or laos
2 stalks fresh lemongrass (use the white part only), pound them and then slice to 2 inches long
3-4 fresh kaffir lime leaves

Fried Shallots or Brambang goreng
Chips (veggie or garlic chips) or garlic krupuk

  1. Put all spice paste ingredients into a food processor, mini chopper, or blender.  Grind until it becomes a paste.  Add a little bit of chili soaking water to make it easier to grind.
  2. Heat a large pot or wok in medium high temperature.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the spice paste.  Stir fry the sambal or spice paste for about 10 minutes.  Add a little bit more of chili soaking water if it sticks to the wok or pot.
  3. Add all of the fresh herbs ingredients.  Then, stir to combine.
  4. Add tofu, tempeh, or Beyond Meat, diced carrots, diced tomatoes, and diced potatoes.  Add miso.  Add 1 cup vegetable broth and more of the chili soaking water until it barely covers the ingredients but not too soupy.
  5. Simmer and stir to combine with the spice paste.  Add salt, brown sugar or palm sugar, and the coriander.  Continue simmering and stir frequently about 20 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are done but still firm.  The tomatoes should disintegrate some at this point.
  6. Add coconut milk, edamame pods, and green beans.  Taste and add more salt, sugar, and the tamarind water or a few squeezes of lime, if using.   Combine and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. This dish is better served the next day when all the spices and herbs are absorbed to the ingredients.  Before serving, remove all the fresh herbs ingredients out of the curry.
  8. Serve on top of steamed rice, sprinkle with fried shallots, and eat with chips on the side.

It's delicious served on top of steamed rice, accoumpanied with chips(krupuk).  Using the chips to scoop rice and curry is a yummy way to eat this dish.