The best way to learn about a new cuisine is from those born and raised in that country, and that’s why I have Pepy of Indonesia-Eats as the guest writer for Indonesian food today. Pepy is the first Indonesian food blogger I know and I’ve since learned so much about Indonesian cuisine from her blog at Indonesia-Eats.In this guest post, Pepy explains the different preparations of Gado-gado and shares with us her recipe. Please welcome her to Rasa Malaysia.
Guest Writer: Indonesia-Eats (The Art and Science of Food)
To begin with, I was surprised that Rasa Malaysia has chosen me to be the guest writer of Indonesian cuisine on her blog. Rasa Malaysia is one of my inspired blogs among the Asian specialty blogs. We share the same passion for Asian food as we came from the same region, Malay Peninsula where Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia are from the same language root. Some of the food terms are the same, few are different.
Gado-gado is one of the well-known dishes from Indonesia. Gado-gado literally means “mix mix” since gado-gado is the plural word of gado, so gado-gado means mixes. In Indonesia, gado-gado is not a salad dish group, it is a one dish meal.
Speaking about gado-gado in Indonesia, several different numbers of gado-gado were developed based on the region. I was born and grew up in East Java province and I left the province for my school to West Java province… this experience had brought me to taste different styles of gado-gado. In East Java (around Surabaya), we call it Gado-gado Siram or Gado-gado Surabaya. Siram means pour as we order the food, the seller will place the ingredients (lontong, blanched vegetables, steamed potatoes, boiled eggs, tempe, tofu, etc.) on a plate and then pre-made gado-gado sauce is poured over, garnish with fried shallots and top with crackers (melinjo nuts and shrimp crackers). While in West Java (around Bandung and Bogor), the sellers will combine ground peanuts and spices, grind them in a mortar and pestle, add the cooked vegetables, mix them together, and transfer into a plate.
Another style of gado-gado that I relish is gado-gado boplo from Jakarta. Boplo is an area in Jakarta where this style of gado-gado can be found. What is the difference between gado-gado siram and boplo? Gado-gado siram uses peanuts while Gado-gado Boplo uses cashew nuts.
In addition, Gado-gado has carbohydrate supply from lontong and potatoes. Tempeh, tofu and eggs are the protein sources. Last but not least, the vegetables. Gado-gado can be made for pescetarianisms or pesco vegetarianisms who still consume fish and seafood; it can also be consumed by lacto-ovo vegetarians who include eggs and dairy products in their diet. Also, you can go for vegan by omitting dried shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi/trassi, Malay: belachan/belacan) in gado-gado sauce and shrimp cracker, and skipping the egg. By leaving out the shrimp crackers, gado-gado is totally safe for people with celiac disease that can’t have any wheat in their diet.
In this post, I contribute an authentic recipe of Gado-gado Surabaya or Gado-gado siram, it might be pretty intimidating with the long list of ingredients, but it will be worth it.