Jamie Oliver's Gorgeous Gado Gado

Jamie's Comfort Food arrived in my life when my pregnant superhero level sense of smell was at it's peak and making a baked egg exhausted me. It has to be one of my most looked at cookery books, there are a ton of recipes I want to try out and every mood and taste is covered but they mostly require a level of time and mental involvement that I just didn't have. Until now. Now I am just about managing two children, I'm going to the gym three times a week and it's not acceptable to send my husband out for pizza 5 nights out of 7 because the large slab of fat on my tummy no longer houses a person and needs to disappear. In short I'm not pregnant anymore so I need to take control of what I eat. I'm back in the kitchen.

One of the recipes I've been threatening to try out for a while is the Gado Gado, an Indonesian salad with radishes, beansprouts and tofu, with a peanut and lime dressing. We eat salad quite a lot and I am very strict about what qualifies as a salad-that-is-a-main-course. If there is cheese or meat involved then it is a main course, without these it is just a side salad and not enough for my supper. Therefore feta and mozarella feature heavily in our diet - it's nice to explore other options. Gado Gado has neither cheese nor meat (though I'm sure you could add both) but the egg, potato and tofu sneak this one in to the main course category and it is incredibly filling. We made the amount from the book, recommended for 4 people and had two large helpings each and both had a large bowlful for lunch the next day.

This was the first time I had cooked tofu rather than using the pre-cooked stuff and it was ok - it sort of disintegrated in the pan so I'll probably use the pre-cooked next time, or just try again until I'm better at it (unlikely). I followed his instructions on cooking the cabbage and agree it's the best way to do it (see below). I do think I'd probably add at least one more tomato to this though. But I'm a tomato fan. This is basically, like all salads, one of those recipes where you use the dressing and add what you like. It's a guideline. A good one.

I've changed the order in which he does things as this, to me, makes more sense. If you want soft-boiled eggs, well I do them almost last, he does them first...

Gorgeous Gado Gado
Serves 4

for the salad:
400g new potatoes
4 large eggs
400g firm silken tofu
sesame oil
½ Chinese cabbage
2 ripe tomatoes
1 handful radishes
½ a cucumber
2 handfuls ready to eat beansprouts
½ bunch fresh coriander
optional: prawn crackers
optional: 1 fresh birds eye chilli

sauce:
1 clove garlic
50g palm sugar  (I used this)
120g crunchy peanut butter
1-2 fresh red chillies
juice of 2 limes
2 tsps fish sauce
1 tbsp low-salt soy (we just have normal soy)
1 tbsp tamarind paste

You will need a magimix or blender for the sauce though of course you can mix it by hand, and a frying pan for the tofu if you are cooking it yourself.

1. Scrub the potatoes and cook in salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes or until tender; then halve or slice them up.

2. Finely slice the cabbage if you want it raw of if you want it cooked, which is more traditional, cut into 2cm slices, place in a colander and slowly pour a kettle of boiling water over the top.

3. Cut the tomatoes into wedges, quarter the radishes and slice the cucumber.

4. Put all the veg into a bowl and season with salt.

5. Cut the tofu into 2½ cm chunks and fry in a splash of sesame oil for about 15 minutes, or until golden, then sprinkle lightly with salt.

6. While the tofu is cooking put the eggs on to soft boil for 6 minutes or longer if you prefer. Place all the sauce ingredients in a blender, peeling the garlic and grating the palm sugar if needed, and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning - you want this to be quite limey so I added some more.

7. Traditionally you serve this in individual bowls adding the salad first and then mixing in the dressing. Jamie adds the sauce to the bowls first with the dressing on top so the individual can see all the ingredients while they mix the dressing in. I am lazy. I put it all in a big bowl, added the dressing and mixed. Tastes the same, doesn't look as beautiful as you can see from my picture. If I was making this for other people I would probably do the individual bowl thing.


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