Gado Gado (Indonesian Peanut Salad)

Gado Gado
Serves 2-3

I was at an Indonesian restaurant in Chicago recently that serves a salad called Gado Gado.  It's filled with lightly cooked and raw vegetables and draped in a sweet and salty peanut sauce.  The peanut sauce, combined with the lack of lettuce, makes this salad feel more like a fresh vegetable entree than your generic "Asian" salad.  Here I recreated it almost like fondue, with the vegetables lined up neatly and the dipping sauce on the side.  Sub in whatever raw or steamed vegetables you'd like or pare down if you just want to make one portion.  Tempeh provides a vegan-friendly protein, but feel free to omit or sub in chicken cubes or roasted shrimp.   

for salad:
4 cups broccoli florets
2 red skin potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
1 lb haricots verts, trimmed
1 cucumber, sliced into thick half-moons

for tempeh:
drizzle of grapeseed oil
1 package tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon tamari

for peanut sauce:
drizzle of grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1. Using a steamer basket inside a large covered pot with 1-2 inches of simmering water, steam your vegetables, one type at a time.  I like to steam the potatoes (10 minutes), broccoli (2 minutes) and haricots verts (4 minutes) and leave the carrots and cucumber raw.  Remove vegetables and assemble on to a platter or storage containers.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saute pan and add tempeh, browning on each side.  Douse in tamari to season, shake the pan, and let moisture evaporate.  Remove to the platter/containers.

3. Now make the peanut sauce: in the same saute pan or a small skillet, heat oil and sizzle ginger and garlic to mellow, about 1 minute.  Add to the blender with peanut butter, tamari, sriracha, honey/maple and coconut milk.  You may need to add water to achieve the desired consistency.  I like it thick and creamy, almost like an aioli.  Adjust the seasoning for tamari, sriracha and honey.

4. Serve peanut sauce on the side of your platter or drizzle on the top of an assembled bowl.