Following up on yesterday's Gado Gado recipe, here is the peanut dressing. Gado Gado is all about the dressing. So, though this might look complicated, if you follow my step by step, it is quite easy. This sauce can be used in many ways. It is wonderful served with grilled chicken or served as a dip with crudite'.
You will need ginger, garlic, peanuts, lemongrass, tamarind, green onions and coconut milk. In the little bowl I have 2 T. of tamarind soaking with a bit of water to make a thick paste. Actually, there are more ingredients added along the way but I was not organized enough to get them in this photo.
To prep the lemongrass, just cut off the thick outer layers. When you get down to the layers that have smooth surfaces as opposed to rough ridges, this is the part you want to use. Cut the stalk into chunks.
Place the garlic, lemongrass, green onions, and ginger in the bowl of your food processor. Add some Sambal Olek. Sambal Olek is a chili pepper paste which you can find in Asian stores. My local grocery carries it too. It is pictured in the second photo above sitting over the ginger. This paste determines how spicy your dressing will be. I added 2 1/2 T. and it had a kick to it. If you want it very mild, add less but remember the coconut milk and peanut paste will calm the heat . Do add some of this though for flavor. Pulse this until chopped fine and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil until it forms a paste.
Heat the remaining oil in a heavy skillet and heat over medium heat and then add the paste.
Turn the heat to low and let simmer for about 40 minutes stirring occasionally.
Measure out a little less that 1 C. of sugar, 1/2 T. paprika and 1/2 T. of salt. Set aside.
Add 2 cups of roasted peanuts to your food processor and pulse until they are the size found in crunchy peanut butter.
Add them to a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer stirring occasionally.
Your paste will be starting to darken. Keep stirring it now and again.
I thought I would throw this in in case you have not seen this before. This is my tofu-express. I love this gadget. This is how I prepped the tofu for the Gado Gado.
Put a block of tofu in the press, put the lid on and sit it in the fridge. I will show you what it does at the bottom of this post.
The paste is ready.
The peanuts have absorbed the water and are done cooking.
Add the sugar mix to the paste and stir it in.
Add the tamarind paste.
Stir until blended. Your house is smelling fabulous at this point.
Stir in the peanuts.
Mix this thoroughly.
Add 1 cup of coconut milk.
Whisk to blend.
If you want a less thick sauce, add more coconut milk.
This is what the tofu-express does. The tofu on the right is a firm tofu. The one on the left is the same firm tofu straight out of the tofu-express. Much firmer and meatier.
This sauce is so good you can eat it with a spoon.