Sunday 17 January 2010

Gado Gado with Marmalade

It was a hot couple of days earlier in the week. On Monday it was 43 C and the minimum temperature was 30.6 C overnight, which matched the hottest night on record in Melbourne’s history in 1902. Sylvia splashed about in her baby bath in the kitchen, I counted down the (4) hours til my orange and cranberry juice icy poles would be frozen enough to eat. Aren't the little jewel moulds cute!

For dinner I made gado gado, an excellent Indonesian dish for all lovers of peanut butter and vegetables. It feels right for a hot summer night. Plus, I bought a huge tub of peanut butter and was compelled to use it. I was glad that we had enough leftover for the next night because Tuesday was almost as hot. I wasn’t about to go out to the shops until the cool change arrived.

It was wonderful to throw open the windows and door later in the day to let the cool breeze in. Suddenly the languid hush gave way to the sounds of clinking plates and lively chatter from neighbouring houses. Ironically I stood in the rain that evening and hung out the washing while Zinc sheltered under the table. Being stuck inside in the heat makes one determined to go out once it is cooler. Rain will not stop us. The clothes were dry by the next morning anyway.

Gado gado is as easy as drying the washing in a heatwave. It is the sort of meal you can adapt depending on what is in the fridge. Before posting this version, I thought I should read up on traditional gado gado on Wikipedia. Simply described, gado gado is a peanut sauce over vegetable salad. Traditionally the sauce has peanuts, sugar, lime juice, chillis, tamarind and shrimp paste, and the salad has shredded green vegetables, bean sprouts, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs and fried tofu and tempeh. It also says that ‘authentic gado gado does not have carrots and tomatoes.’

It was no surprise to find that my sauce was not authentic but I had thought my spread of vegetables was fairly similar to those I have had in restaurants. According to Wikipedia these weren’t authentic because they included tomato and carrot. My addition of fried tempeh, boiled potato and beans sprouts would have got the approval but the fried eggplant and zucchini probably would not. Though I must have done something right with the eggplant because E ate it all up rather than pushing it to the side of his plate.

As for the sauce that I made, it is far from traditional. Some time ago I saw a suggestion for peanut dipping sauce made with soy, chillis and marmalade. I have a jar of my mum's marmalade that doesn’t get enough use so I tried it. The sauce was lovely but I did need to be a bit heavy handed with the soy to balance the marmalade. In future I might try to use less marmalade and soy. But I like the idea. Wikipedia suggested serving it with rice but I don’t usually do so.

I have written what I did below. However this is one of those recipes that I use what is on hand. Sometimes I add lemon juice and sweet chilli sauce rather than marmalade, or add onion at the start or coconut milk instead of water. I have added in cucumber, which I didn’t use but would have if Sylvia hadn’t eaten it all. I am not at all traditional but find it a relaxed dinner for hot summer nights. It is delicious and is suitable for those who are gluten free (if you use gf soy sauce) and vegan.

Gado Gado with Marmalade
serves 4

Peanut sauce:

  • ½ tsp oil
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ cup unmolested peanut butter
  • 1-2 tbsp marmalade (I used 2 but it was too much)
  • 1 - 1½ tbsp tamara or soy sauce (I used 1½ but would like to use less if not too sweet)
  • 1½ cups water – add a third of this just before serving to thin down


  • oil for frying
  • 300g tempeh, sliced into 8
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 3-4 medium potatoes, roughly chopped and boiled
  • 2 tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in matchsticks
  • 4 lettuce leaves, shredded
  • 4 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
  • 2 handfuls bean sprouts

Fry tempeh, eggplants and zucchini in a large saucepan in oil over medium heat. It took me a while for the tempeh to crisp up – maybe 20-30 minutes and then I fried the vegetables separately because I didn’t have enough room.

While tempeh, eggplant and zucchini are frying, make the sauce: heat oil in a small saucepan and fry chilli and garlic in it for about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir till creamy and warm. If not using right away, only add 1 cup water and add the remaining half cup just before serving so it is quite a thin sauce.

When tempeh, eggplant and zucchini are fried, arrange all the salad ingredients on dinner plates. Drizzle sauce generously over salad.

On the stereo:

Franz Ferdinand
: Franz Ferdinand


  1. That does look perfect for a hot summer night.

  2. "Unmolested peanut butter" - love it! Somehow I don't think the jar of dark chocolate peanut butter I just bought would work here, anyway...

    Glad you could find yummy eats suitable for your weather. I myself just ate 2/3rds of a pint of non-dairy ice cream while there's still snow outside. Whoops!

  3. I love gado gado. A lot. And yeah, yours is not authentic but I bet it's totally delicious. :o)

  4. That sounds good Johanna and like your choice of vegetables. I am trying to avoid peanut butter while I am breast feeding, but I will keep it in mind for the future :)

  5. Poor you, with all that heat! Hope the pops helped. (Sounds as if Sylvia is adapting to the heat, too).

    I've never had Gado Gado but it sounds marvelous. I'm putting this on my list of things to try if/when I eat peanut butter again. (Oh, and um--"unmolested"? A culinary term I've never heard before, maybe??) ;)

  6. I love the additions of sprouts and tempeh!

  7. That is a the first time I hear about gado gado and the combo of flavors of this dish sounds delicious! thanks for sharing :)

  8. Thanks Lisa - sure is but where have those hot summer nights gone?

    Thanks Hannah - it makes sense that when you see snow you think of icecream - never had chocolate peanut butter - I love it unmolested (as mollie katzen says)

    Thanks Steph - it is delicious

    Thanks Jacqueline - what self control to give up peanut butter!

    Ricki - I loved reading mollie katzen describing 100% peanut butter as unmolested - hope you might have a chance to try gado gado some time - it is wonderful

    Thanks Kristen - tempeh is optional but I had some anyway - however I did buy sprouts just for the gado gado

    Thanks Karine - it is an unusual combination of flavours but it seemed to work

  9. Love your cute little icypoles - and you sure needed them in the heat last week. Glad to see it's cooler now. Gado gado is new to me, but sounds deliicous - how can you go wrong with peanut sauce?

  10. Wow with marmalade? :O I thought I misread it for a moment hehe. We love gado gado for hot weather. So flavoursome but so cooling! :D

  11. I've never made gado gado but have been wanting to so it was interesting to read about yours! I love peanut sauce.


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