We look forward to our weekends. That’s not to say that the weeks aren’t great too, but they’re busy – often too busy – and certainly too scheduled …. mostly with little time for just ‘being’ in between all that ‘doing’ and ‘rushing’.
So going out for breakfast at the weekend feels good – although admittedly it’s often nearly 12 by the time we’re eating because there’s still a few pesky activities to get through before we can really, properly say, ‘It’s the WEEKEND!’
Last weekend was one of those going out for breakfast occasions. True to form, it was way past 12 when we got there, so I, for one, was squarely over the breakfast idea and was skipping straight to lunch. As a general rule, we are one meal behind the rest of the world at the weekend, so there was nothing new there. We’d chosen a local hang out with a tasty, inventive lunch menu as well as a great all-day breakfast, so there was something for everybody. And I already knew what I would choose – my favourite Gado Gado – a fresh and delicious Indonesian salad of raw and cooked vegetables drizzled with a zingy, spicy peanut sauce, topped with fried tofu and an egg. Double yum.
Except it wasn’t – neither fresh nor delicious nor zingy. It was soggy, sloppy and topped with an overcooked fried egg. DISASTER. The spicy sauce was more gravy than zingy (and you might remember how I feel about gravy) and the vegetables felt like they may have been leftover from an un-loved carvery.
I struggled through it, but at home set about restoring my faith that Gado Gado is still worthy of a place in my heart. And while I was at it, I thought I’d make it easy – a dish where you can do all the prep beforehand (maybe at the weekend) and then enjoy it (in its various forms) during the week.
So here we go …
My Easy Gado Gado would look like this –
And it was, in fact delicious AND easy.
I cooked the quinoa in some vegetable stock (that’s my top quinoa tip and it works well for brown rice too), roasted the vegetables in the oven and put a few eggs on to hard boil. My stick blender whizzed the gado gado sauce up to perfection and then it was just a construction job.
And what did I like the most about this Easy Gado Gado?
- It was easy to put together and SO tasty.
- All the parts could be prepared beforehand and behaved nicely in the fridge until I needed them.
- Although it might look like there is a lot of prep here, none of it is very ‘hands on’ and you can have it all going on at the same time.
- This is a very flexible dish –
- It’s great for lunch or dinner (or breakfast if, like me, you’re one meal behind the rest of the world).
- The quinoa, roasted vegetables and eggs can be served either hot or cold. Both works for me.
- You could swap the hard boiled eggs for fried (or poached maybe) if that’s what you fancy.
- Try upping the protein by adding some cooked chicken – one from the deli counter would be ideal.
- Swap the quinoa for brown rice or couscous.
- Feels light and healthy.
- Great for a packed lunch – although I transported the beansprouts and the dressing separately. They go soggy otherwise.
- There’ll probably be more sauce than you need, but it’s sensational on chicken sandwiches or as a salad dressing. In fact, I’m happy to eat it straight from the jar.
- And while we’re on the sauce – you can play around with the lime, chilli, fish sauce, soy sauce balance until it’s just how you like it. A little kitchen alchemy, I guess.
So my faith in Gado Gado restored, I can now focus on enjoying the eating part – and looking forward to the next weekend …
- For the roasted vegetables -
- 2 yellow peppers, stalk removed and each half cut into 6 chunks
- 1 red pepper, stalk removed and each half cut into 6 chunks
- 2 onions, skin removed and each half cut into 6 or 8 chunks
- 2 medium aubergines, cut into chunky cubes
- 3 courgettes, cut into chunky cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 250g (9oz) cherry tomatoes
- For the quinoa -
- 300g (11 oz) quinoa
- 3 teaspoons vegetable stock powder
- For the hard boiled eggs -
- 4 eggs
- For the crunchy salad -
- 4 small handfuls of beansprouts
- 6 radish, finely sliced
- 6 spring onions, finely sliced
- a small bunch of coriander
- For the gado gado sauce -
- 1 clove of garlic
- 50g (2 oz) brown sugar
- 120g (4½ oz) crunchy peanut butter
- 1–2 fresh red chillies (adjust to taste)
- 2 limes, juice of
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- First, roast the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 220°C, 425°F (gas mark 7).
- Combine the prepared peppers, onions, aubergines and courgettes in a large roasting tin. Sprinkle over the chopped garlic, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything around so that all the vegetables have a light coating of oil. Now roast in the oven.
- After 15 minutes, give everything a gentle stir and return to the oven. After a further 7 minutes add the cherry tomatoes and return to the oven for a further 3 minutes (or until the tomatoes have started to burst and all the other vegetables are cooked through and golden). Check the seasoning and allow the vegetables to cool.
- While the vegetables are cooking, you can get on with cooking the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa under the tap and add it to a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock powder. Cover with boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain and allow to cool.
- You can also use this time to boil your eggs. Place your eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water up to boiling point then turn to a simmer and put a timer on for 7 minutes. As soon as they are cooked drain off the hot water and cool them rapidly under cold running water (or take a look at this Quick Tip)
- To prepare the sauce, add all the ingredients to a medium plastic jug and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Taste to check that you like the balance of flavours and adjust if necessary.
- To construct the salad, serve some quinoa topped with roasted vegetables, crunchy salad, hard boiled eggs (cut into quarters) and a drizzle of the gado gado sauce.