This is a dish that is very often served with boiled eggs. I have found the perfect vegan replacement solution which is avocado.
Gado Gado is a dish that is popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. I know this because I spent a month in Bali and as a vegan, this was always a good option.
The dish does vary and sometimes the peanut sauce bumbu kacang that is served with it, sometimes has fish paste but in my experience it did not. That could be because I ate mostly in vegan restaurants but in non vegan restaurants that I went to they didn't have it in there.
The dish can be described as a salad with steamed warm items such as green beans and potatoes or cold items such as cucumber, and tomatoes. The proteins are usually a choice of tempeh or tofu. The sauce is generally fried peanuts or peanut butter with chili lime and shallots and brown sugar. Sometimes the sauce has coconut milk in it or sometimes will have galangal root and Thai basil among other things. I would imagine that each region and each family will come up with a style that they stick with.
Gado Gado, means Mix Mix in the Bahasan language which is the official language of Indonesia.
For my Gado Gado today I have chosen the items that are already in the fridge. I would have liked bean sprouts but I would have had to go out to get them and I didn't have time.
I did have some mustard greens(I think that is what they were), some squash carrots and potatoes to add to the steamer.
I would have liked tempeh but I have to go too far to get it so I used tofu that I had already picked up. It was firm tofu but It still had quite a bit of liquid in it so I pressed it out.
Some people have a tofu press but I have never seen one and using two plates with a pot of water on top works just fine. I just keep pressing and draining until there is not much left.
The tofu or tempeh is usually deep fried but I just pan fried with a little oil. I coated in cornstarch, salt and pepper first.
I fried it with shallots, chilies and garlic but I don't think it was necessary plus my pan was not ideal. I have yet to own a wok which would have made things much easier.
After adding the tofu I just let it brown a bit but the deep fried version is much more authentic in my opinion. That must be why I gained a bit of weight when I was in Bali.
For the peanut sauce bumbu kacang I did my own version of it which may annoy a traditional Gado Gado maker but it was really good.
I didn't have any peanuts so I used the rest of my cashews around 1/2 cup, the whole million dollars worth of them, and around 3 tablespoons peanut butter. I also used around 1/4 cup raisins instead of brown sugar which was an awesome sugar replacement when you blend it. I added 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon miso paste and lime juice, along with a teaspoon of a masaman curry paste that I had in the freezer. Tamarind is often used for this but I didn't have any.
I also added two shallots, 4 cloves garlic,1 teaspoon minced ginger,1 diced onion and 5 small chilies which were browned in a pan with a little olive oil. After they were blended all together. I found that it was too thick so I added some vegetable soup broth that I had made, until it was not so thick. If I would have had coconut milk I would have used that instead. It's quite common to add coconut milk to this sauce.
I couldn't remember if the sauce that I had in Bali was hot or cold so I warmed it up to compromise.
It doesn't always come with rice but I decided to toss some into the dish to soak up some of the delicious sauce.
Since I didn't have any peanuts to sprinkle on top, I added sunflower seeds which I had left in the cupboard.
The raw items included tomatoes, kale, cucumbers, radish, red onion and avocado which was my egg replacement.
Although this peanut sauce is traditionally made with fried peanuts, some people are allergic to peanuts especially in the western world, so substituting for another nut would do the job as well. If the allergy is for all nuts, you could substitute with tofu, or avocado, or chick peas, or sunflower seeds or experiment with whatever can make it creamy. It just will no longer be a typical sauce for Gado Gado but it will have the other ingredients in it.
I think this dish is pretty much like the themed bowls that are popular these days. I like to give this the name Gado Gado so I can get a little feel of Indonesia again.