Gado-gado in Jakarta topped with emping cracker
|Alternative name(s)||Lotek (Sundanese and Javanese)|
|Place of origin||Indonesia|
|Region or state||Jakarta, West Java,|
|Serving temperature||room temperature|
|Main ingredient(s)||various vegetables in peanut sauce topped with krupuk|
|Variations||Karedok, a raw vegetable version of Gado-gado|
Gado-gado is thought to have originally been a Sundanese dish. It is widely available from hawkers carts, stalls (warung) and restaurants and hotels in Indonesia; it is also served in Indonesian-style restaurants worldwide. Though it is customarily called a salad, the sauce is a larger component of gado-gado than is usual in Western-style salads; the vegetables should be well coated with it.
Formerly, gado-gado sauce was generally made to order, sometimes in front of the customers to suit their personal preference for the amount of chili pepper included. However, particularly in the West, gado-gado sauce is often prepared ahead of time and in bulk, Gado-gado sauce is also available in dried form, which simply needs to be rehydrated by adding hot water.
Gado-gado sauce is not to be confused with satay sauce, which is also a peanut sauce.
Peanut sauce dressing
The common primary ingredients of the peanut sauce are as follows:
- ground fried peanuts (kidney beans may be substituted for a richer taste)
- coconut sugar/palm sugar (substitute brown sugar if unavailable)
- chillies (according to preference and desired degree of spiciness)
- terasi (dried prawn paste)
- tamarind liquid
- lime juice
- water to dilute
The traditional method of making gado-gado is to use the cobek (pestle) and ulekan or flat rounded stone. The dry ingredients are ground first, then the tamarind liquor is add to achieve the desired consistency.
The composition of the vegetable salad varies greatly, but usually comprises a mixture of some of the following:
- blanched - shredded, chopped, or sliced green vegetables such as cabbage, kangkung, spinach, bean sprouts, boiled young jack fruit, chayote, string bean, green bean, bitter melon, and corn.
- uncooked - sliced cucumber
- sliced - fried tofu and tempeh
- sliced - boiled potatoes
- peeled and sliced boiled eggs
Outside Indonesia, it is usual to improvise with whatever vegetables are available.
The blanched vegetables and other ingredients such as tofu, tempeh, or egg are mixed well with the peanut sauce.
Garnishes and rice
In Indonesia gado-gado is commonly served mixed with chopped lontong or ketupat (glutinous rice cake), or with steamed rice served separately. It is nearly always served with krupuk (crackers), e.g. tapioca crackers or emping, Indonesian style fried crackers, which are made from melinjo. A common garnish is finely-chopped fried shallot.
- No Money, No Honey: A study of street traders and prostitutes in Jakarta by Alison Murray. Oxford University Press, 1992. Glossary page xii