Gado Gado is a popular Indonesian vegetable salad that I ate a lot of when I lived in Singapore. My daughter was introduced to this delicious peanutty salad two years ago while vacationing in Bali and she loved it so much she ate it everyday the whole time we were there.
I was inspired by the taste of Gado Gado when I came up with this rice salad. The Gado Gado I know typically contains cubes of tofu and wedges of hard-boiled egg, which make it a light yet filling meal. But since my husband hates tofu and my daughter will not go near an egg (guys, come on now), I have to deviate from the traditional.
So, I opted for rice to bulk up my salad and threw in a mix of vegetables that added texture and colour (and would not be met with resistance from the kids) – bean sprouts, baby spinach, grated carrots and diced cucumber. I chose veggies that do not require cooking so they remain crunchy and most importantly, the assembled salad will be cool (temperature wise).
For the peanut dressing, I used David Lebovitz’ uber delicious recipe from his awesome blog. Sure, the ingredient list is long and there are simpler recipes for peanut sauce out there but man, this sauce is so good it is worth the effort making it. If I’m not feeling lazy to shop for cilantro and chiles, this is the recipe I go to.
I added half the peanut sauce to the rice and veggies and gave everything a good toss before serving. The remaining sauce was left on the table for everyone to dollop over their serving of rice salad. I couldn’t believe my ears when my daughter asked for THIRDS! That totally validated my cooking skills ;)
The final dish cannot be further from the traditional Gado Gado but it is wholly inspired by it. And every time we have this salad, we reminisce about the wonderful time we had in Bali. Good times, indeed.