Friday, July 11, 2014

Gado Gado, The Cafe Drake HRV Way

Gado Gado is a mainstay Indonesian entree salad, found on the menu of every Indonesian/Javanese/Sundanese restaurant we've ever visited. It couldn't be simpler to make at home and beyond the essential peanut sauce/dressing you can really add or subtract any ingredient at will. Cafe Drake HRV composed our latest version from steamed broccoli, hard-boiled eggs and tiny grape tomatoes, essentially the contents of our fridge that given night. A key to success is a mash-up of raw and cooked ingredients; the English translation of the dish is "Mix Mix." Don't forget about texture contrasts as well, something soft, something crunchy. Our go-to gado gado options often include sliced radishes, steamed or boiled cauliflower and sweet potatoes, blanched string beans, chilled or sometimes deep-fried tofu, wedges of cucumber and red onion and crisp romaine hearts. You get it, right? You just need to make some rice as a side dish and get the sauce down. Here's how: In a blender puree 1/2 cup peanut butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 3/4 t. red pepper flakes, 1 cup hot water, 1 T. soy sauce, a very large pinch of salt, 1 T. brown sugar and the juice of half a large lemon. Blend until smooth and serve chilled or at room temperature. Dunk the veggies in the sauce, drizzle it over rice, it's delicious anyway you choose.

A spicy cucumber salad, cold from the fridge, refreshes palettes (and hot frazzled nerves) during summer's sultry suppers. Try bringing 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup white or rice vinegar to a boil in a saucepan. Add 2 T. water and 2 t. salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved and set aside until cool. When cool, pour the dressing over 3 cups sliced cucumbers. Toss well, adding 2-3 sliced hot green or red chilies and 1/2 cup slivered onions. Allow flavors to blend for at least 30 minutes before serving.

A couple of different sauces or condiments are always appreciated with such basic meals as Gado Gado. Above, we mixed equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

The Day After. Leftovers, Glorious Leftovers. All we did was re-heat the rice.

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