I just came back from a very enlightening and tasty trip to Bali, Indonesia. I have such great respect for the Indonesian people and culture. Indonesia is a southeast Asian archipelago or nation made up of a chain of thousands of volcanic islands. The country is the 4th most populous in the world with over 250 million people, that mostly practice the Muslim faith. However, the island of Bali that we visited was predominately Hindu.
Here's a quick reminder of where it is, to get your bearings:
As a vegan, I keep running across the same dishes that I could eat: Gado-gado and Soto Ayam.
Gado-gado, is an Indonesian salad of slightly boiled, blanched or steamed vegetables like potatoes, string beans, carrots and red peppers; paired with sauted/grilled tofu/ tempeh, and string beans, served with a peanut sauce dressing. Gado-gado has been heralded as one of the top 5 national dishes of Indonesia.
Gado-gado in Indonesian literally means "mix-mix" since it is made of rich mixture of vegetables all mixed in a peanut sauce dressing.
Though it is customarily called a salad, the peanut sauce is a larger component of gado-gado than is usual for the dressings in Western-style salads; the vegetables should be well coated with it.
After gratefully learning how to make the recipes from an Indonesian masterchef, I adapted the recipe to make it completely vegan and little easier for someone pressed for time to make.
The adapted recipe that I brought back for the sauce is:
• 1/3 cup nut butter of your choice
• 1 Tbsp soy sauce
• 3 Tbsp maple syrup
• 3 Tbsp lime juice
• ¼ thai red chili pepper
• ¼ cup of water (to thin)
1. Combine all your sauce ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
2. Drizzle or coat your choice of seasoned steam veggies with the sauce and enjoy!
Then there is Soto Ayam, which is broth-based soup. Traditionally it is made with chicken but the variation below is vegan.
• 3 stalks fresh lemon grass
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon coriander
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 5 shallots, peeled and halved
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled
• 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh turmeric, or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
• 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
• 4 ounces of thin rice noodles,
• ½ cup corn kernels
• ½ cup of chopped and rinsed bok choy
1. Place lemon grass, garlic, ginger, turmeric, onion, lime leaves, sea salt in 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until broth is flagrant. Remove all veggies and reserve stock in the pot.
2. Add potatoes, corn, celery, bok choy with rice noodles and remaining seasonings --simmer until everything is tender.
3. Serve and enjoy the warmth of this Bali inspired dish in your home.