My number one favorite Japanese salad is potato salad, the next one is either this enoki crabstick salad with wasabi mayonnaise dressing or sarada no gomae (salad with sesame dressing).
When I need a super quick and easy salad though, then this enoki crabstick salad is definitely the best choice. If you have everything handy, you can easily prepare this delicious salad in under 15 minutes!
What you need to prepare enoki crabstick salad
For the salad, you need only three main ingredients:
The salad dressing needs a bit more ingredients, but not overwhelmingly so. You will need:
From my experience, all the listed ingredients shouldn’t be too hard to come by. The only thing that could be difficult is enoki, you can substitute with shredded cabbage, or other salad greens of your choice.
Preparing the Salad
The only cooking involved is to blanch the enoki, which if you are super lazy, you can kinda cook them in a microwave too.
Everything else is pretty basic, tear the crab sticks into shreds, chop the scallions, and mix the dressing.
To make the salad, just toss everything together so all the ingredients are coated with the sauce.
This salad is best served chill, so stick the whole thing in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
Gado-gado is my favorite Indonesian salad. This Sundanese dish is a national favorite, and it consists of lightly boiled and blanched vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, fried tofu and/or tempeh cubes, and lontong (steamed rice cakes) served with spicy peanut sauce.
For most Indonesian, gado-gado is pretty much our national salad, and apparently, since 2018, gado-gado has been designated as one of Indonesian five national food (the other four being soto, sate, rendang, and nasi goreng).
Personally, whenever I return home to Indonesia, gado-gado is definitely one of the food that I must eat, and this is one of the foods I make whenever I’m feeling homesick. ♥
What are the typical ingredients in a gado-gado?
The literal translation of gado-gado is mix-mix, so basically it is a dish made of a mixture of ingredients. And, although I have translated gado-gado as a salad, this dish is more like a complete meal on its own.
A proper gado-gado should have the following ingredients:
lontong/ketupat (steamed rice cake), this is the carb
boiled potatoes, also a carb
hard-boiled eggs, the protein
fried tofu and/or tempe cubes, another protein
an assortment of lightly blanched and raw vegetables
The more popular vegetable choice for gado-gado includes long/snake beans (Indonesian: kacang panjang), mung bean sprouts (Indonesian: tauge), spinach (Indonesian: bayam), or water spinach (Indonesian: kangkung), chayote (Indonesian: labu siam), cabbage (Indonesian: kol), and cucumber (Indonesian: timun).
Aside from the cucumber, the rest of the vegetables are typically lightly blanched, or boiled to the point they start to wilt.
Although these vegetables are what we commonly use in our gado-gado, feel free to use any vegetables you have at home.
Some of the vegetables that I have personally used includes green beans (perfect to sub for long/snake beans), sweet potato (perfect to sub for regular potato), red cabbage, lettuce, or napa cabbage (perfect to sub for regular cabbage), broccoli, carrots, tomato, and radishes.
How to prepare gado-gado peanut dressing/sauce?
There are so many foods in Indonesia that have peanut sauce, not just gado-gado. Each food has its distinct mixture and even texture of peanut sauce.
A typical gado-gado peanut sauce is made from fried/roasted peanuts, garlic, palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa), bird-eye chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit), toasted terasi/belacan/shrimp paste, salt, tamarind (Indonesian: asam Jawa), lime, sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis), and water.
If you order a gado-gado from an Indonesian restaurant that specializes in selling gado-gado, your sauce is typically made from scratch once the order is placed. Sometimes, the seller even grinds the sauce right in front of you. And as he/she makes the sauce, you can request to tweak the sauce a bit, like, adding more garlic, reducing the chilies, e.t.c., which I think is quite cool.
At home though, I typically make a big batch of peanut sauce at once since it’s easier. Here is how to prepare the peanut sauce:
Using a food processor, grind peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, chilies, terasi/belacan/shrimp paste, and salt. Try to stop when the peanuts still have some chunks and not completely turned into a smooth paste.
Transfer the peanut mixture into a mixing bowl, add tamarind juice, lime juice, and sweet soy sauce.
Then add enough hot water to the mixture while stirring to get the consistency of the peanut sauce that you like.
Make-ahead gado-gado peanut sauce
Whenever I’m in the mood to make some gado-gado sauce, I always make them in a big batch. Usually,I make four times the amount listed here!
Follow the sauce prep up to step 2. Then, gather the peanut sauce mixture and shape into several blocks, for ease, I usually make sure that one block is enough for one serving.
Wrap each peanut sauce block with a saran wrap and refrigerate/freeze. The sauce should last for up to 1 week if refrigerated, and can last up to 2 months if frozen.
When I want to eat some gado-gado, I simply remove one block of the peanut sauce and mix it with hot water. I think it is a very neat trick. 🙂
Other Indonesian dishes with peanut sauce
If you love dishes with peanut sauce, you may want to try these Indonesian recipes, each with its own unique peanut sauce: