It’s been a crazy sort of a week and finally, I feel like I’m preparing dish that represents my unsorted emotions near perfectly: gado gado–a colourful, mixed salad bed of raw and blanched vegetables resting under a haphazard drizzle of mildly spicy peanut sauce. Mellow, messy, mixed, me. If food could speak, it just did. You’re talking to a carbo girl, pushing for change, finding identification in a carb-less dish that marries the bland (veggies) with the bold (edgy sauce). Oh well, it’s complicated.

The concept however, is very simple and worth a go at home: cooked veg (sprouts, long beans, cabbage, potatoes) + raw veg (fresh toms, cucumber, romaines) + firm tofu and soy-food tempeh with classic hard boiled eggs, lusciously bound by the very aromatic blend of peanut, chilis, belachan, garlic, tamarind pulp , coconut milk and palm sugar.

To make this kid friendly version: I exercised a controlled use of red chillies and bird’s eye chilis to give a warm rather than stinging heat which even the 5 year old didn’t mind at all.

Kids-friendly Gado Gado

Kids-friendly Gado Gado

Kid-friendly Gado Gado Sauce (adapted fr Rasa Malaysia)

10 cloves garlic, stir fried/fried/roasted
300 g roasted/fried peanuts
1000 ml coconut milk
3 red chilies, discard the seed and 1 bird’s eye chili (put up to 10 and 2 birds eye chilis if spice is not a concern).
1 tsp terasi (dried shrimp paste), toasted
1 block of coconut sugar (about 62.5 grams)
Juice of 2 limes
Tamarind pulp juice (2 tbsp)
2-3 tbsp rice flour dissolve in a small amount of water

1. Process garlic, peanuts/peanut butter, a half part of coconut milk, red chilies, terasi, coconut sugar, pulp juice, lime juice in a food processor or blender.
2. In a sauce pot, combine processed mixture with the rest of coconut milk, stir and turn on the stove at low-medium heat. Stir occasionally.
3. Cook sauce until boiled, the volume reduced and the sauce surface looks a bit oily. Add rice flour mixture. Keep stirring until bubbling about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat