Sunday, September 28, 2008

Exotic Fruit and Vegetable Salad

This is a variation on the famous Indonesian rice salad known as Gado Gado. Choose some or all of the suggested fruits and vegetables to make an attractive centerpiece for an Indonesian or Thai meal. Recipe serves 6-8.


4 ounces (125 g) green beans, trimmed
2 carrots, cut into batons
2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 head Chinese leaves, shredded
1/2 small cucumber, cut into thin strips
8 spring onions, sliced diagonally
6 cherry tomatoes or small tomatoes, halved
12-16 cooked tiger prawns
1 small mango
1 small papaya
1 quantity Lontong (compressed rice)
4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
Fresh coriander
For the Peanut Dressing:
8 tablespoons crunchy or smooth peanut butter, preferably unsalted
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarind water (see Tip) or juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Hot chili sauce, to taste


1. First, make the peanut dressing. Place all the ingredients except the chili sauce in a pan and heat the mixture stirring all the time, until it is very hot and smooth. Stir in chili sauce to taste. Keep the dressing warm, or allow to cool and reheat before serving.
2. Cook the beans and carrots in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until just tender but still firm. Drain, then refresh under cold water and drain again. Cook the bean sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh.
3. Arrange the carrots, beans and bean sprouts on a large, attractive platter, with the shredded Chinese leaves, cucumber strips, spring onions, tomatoes, and prawns.
4. Peel the mango and cut the flesh into cubes. Quarter the papaya, remove the skin and seeds, then slice the flesh. Add to the salad platter, with the lontong. Garnish with the egg quarters and fresh coriander.
5. Reheat the peanut dressing, if necessary. As soon as it is warm, pour it into a serving bowl. Place the bowl in the center of the salad and serve. Guests help themselves to the salad, adding as much dressing as they like.

Tip: To make tamarind water, break off a 2 inch (2.5 cm) cube of tamarind and put it in a bowl. Pour in 2/3 cup warm water. Using your fingers, squeeze the tamarind so that the juices dissolve into the water. Strain, discarding the sold tamarind, and use as directed in the recipe. Any unused tamarind water can be kept in a container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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