Gado-Gado (Indonesian Grilled Tempeh Dish)

This was one of the few Indonesian traditional dishes my partner and I could eat during a trip in Indonesia. It’s a dish of vegetables & tempeh, with slight variations from region to region. Typically, it includes most or all of the following ingredients (all cooked very simply): carrots, white cabbage, a boiled egg, grilled tempeh, a side salad, plain steamed rice and peanut sauce.

Originating in Indonesia, tempeh is wonderful soy protein source for vegetarians, sometimes also known as fermented soya bean cake. It’s actually more nutritious than most types of tofu for a few reasons:
1. It’s less processed and refined.
2. Calcium provided from tempeh is as well absorbed in the average adult as that in cow’s milk.
3. It’s fermented and thus easier to digest and less likely to be irritable on the colon for those who grew up countries without soy as a staple food source in their diet.

If you can’t get hold of tempeh in the country to are currently residing it, try out my Homemade Tempeh recipe on this site, it’s humble yet delicious, I’ve finally figured out how to make (thanks to Indonesian Lina for giving me some of her tempeh starter) and simplified the instructions for you.

Main Dish
Plain tempeh, sliced lengthways, 500g
Sea salt, to taste

Carrot & White Cabbage Salad
Spring onions, 2-3 sprigs
Carrots, grated, 2
White cabbage, grated, 1/4
Lemon, juiced, 1/2
Fresh coriander, a few sprigs
Extra-virgin olive oil, a few drizzles
Sea salt, to taste
Ground white pepper, to taste

Warm Broad Bean Salad
Cherry tomatoes, quartered, 4-5
Garlic cloves, minced, 2
Fresh ginger, minced, 1 nob
Mineral water, 500ml
Red fresh chillies, 2
Cherry tomatoes, finely sliced, 2-3

Peanut Sauce
Garlic cloves, minced, 3
Ginger, minced, 1 nob
Lemon, juiced, 1
Fresh red chillies, 4
Coconut milk, 4-5 tbsp
Raw red skinned or black-skinned peanuts, 6-7 tbsp
Fresh coriander, a few sprigs
Extra-virgin olive oil, a few drizzles
Soya sauce, a splash
Ground white pepper, to taste

Preparation Time
45 minutes

1. Grate the carrots and white cabbage, and finely chop the and set aside to dress later.
2. Broil the cherry tomatoes, garlic, red chillies and ginger and broad beans for 15 minutes (or until the water has reduced) and set aside.
3. Toss all ingredients for the peanut sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside for later.
4. Dress the carrot & white cabbage salad with lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper and olive oil.
5. Season the sliced tempe to your liking and grill on a griddle (no oil necessary) until golden.
6. Serve all components of the dish either on one large place or individually (pictured above).

The warm broad bean salad is my variation of the often simple or slightly salad, but you can change it up depending on which green vegetables or legumes you can find in your fridge. For a winter variation, cook the carrots and white cabbage in a simple broth.

By Dr. Gabriella F. Buttarazzi (Uma Shakti Devi)

Teacher, Teacher Trainer, Writer and Educational Researcher

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