Welcome to Day 2 of the Ontario Gas Barbecue Recipe Challenge! I hope that you enjoyed yesterday’s recipe, Thai Grilled Salmon, which employed (to great results) an amazing flexible fish basket from the Ontario Gas Barbecue Grill Store!
If you’re not familiar with the #OGBChallenge, I’ve been invited, along with four other foodie bloggers (they’re SERIOUS. I’m the amateur here) to create five recipes with a variety of fabulous BBQ accessories and tools that can be found on the Ontario Gas Barbeque website. We were also given a cuisine, season, and type of meal. At the end of the week, the judges are going to choose one recipe from each of us to be featured on the OGB Recipe Challenge Facebook Voting page. Starting July 1, 2014, you’ll all be able to vote on your favourite grilling recipe. Each week, a prize of a $100 OGB gift card will be awarded to a voter. The winner of the challenge will be announced August 8th, but I think we’re all winners.
So what’s on the menu today? Well, we’re staying in Asia with but moving Southeast to Indonesia. Since I’m totally addicted to Asian flavours, when I was tasked with creating an appetizer incorporating South Asian or Indian cuisine and that used the truly cool cast iron BBQ garlic roaster, my mind instantly went to my absolute top #1 favourite dish: Gado Gado.
I adore fresh flavours, texture, and a hint of spice. And Gado Gado totally fits that bill. It’s an Indonesian salad made up of an assortment of blanched vegetables, tofu, peanuts, potatoes, egg, peanut dressing, and sometimes crispy onions. I created my own version, marinating the tofu and grilling it, and adding roasted garlic to the peanut sauce. Chef’s note: My peanut sauce turned out extremely well (pats self on back). I’m a tiny bit addicted to it.
Of course, I felt compelled to Chicky the whole thing up. Since I love interactive food and eating with my hands, I turned a ubiquitous salad into a fun appetizer for a crowd.
I know that this is the longest recipe I’ve ever written, but don’t be concerned. It might look like there’s a lot going on, but it’s all really simple to make (yah, I know I always say that. This time it’s totally true.)
Inspired Gado Gado lettuce wraps with Roasted Garlic Peanut Dressing
Prep time: 45 minutes
Grill time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: a crowd (you can halve the ingredients to serve 4-6)
1 pkg 454 g extra firm organic tofu
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar
¼ (60 ml) cup soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
One large head garlic
Salt & pepper
4 red thai chilis
2 tbsp tamarind & date chuntey sauce
¼ cup (60 ml) lime juice
1 bulb of roasted garlic
1 cup (240 ml) blanched unsalted peanuts (or natural peanut butter)
1 tbsp coconut sugar
½ cup (60 ml) water
3 tbsp coconut milk
Salad (you can use any combination of veggies. These were my choices):
6 baby new potatoes
1 medium chayote, peeled and diced
2 cups green beans cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup snow peas, cut in bite sized pieces (optional)
½ a small white cabbage, shredded
1lb (454 g) bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrot
1 red bell pepper, cut in small matchsticks
3 cups greens such as baby and spinach & kale blend
½ english cucumber, sliced thinly then cut in half-moons
Pea shoots or mung mean sprouts for garnish
Whole Boston lettuce leaves, washed and dried well
Fried onions (such as French’s) for garnish
Cut tofu into three slabs about ½ inch thick, long end to long end. Place between several sheets of paper towel and put something heavy on top to weight it down. This is to remove excess moisture. Let sit like this for about 20 minutes.
Toast the sesame seeds by placing them in a small skillet on high heat. Keep swirling and tossing them until they’re golden and fragrant. Do not walk away. They will burn. It’s happened (to me)/
In the meantime, combine the marinade ingredients, including the sesame seeds, in a rectangular dish or storage container with a tight lid. Put the tofu in and make sure it’s coated well with the marinade. Leave it for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your BBQ to about medium high heat (About 300°F /150°C).
Cut the top of the head of garlic off. Not too much, just enough so you can see the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Place the whole head in the cast iron garlic roaster (don’t forget to remove the squeezer!)
When the BBQ is hot, place the garlic roaster right on the grill. Turn down the heat slightly on one element, and put the tofu on that spot. Close the lid and check back in a few minutes. When you see grill marks on the tofu, turn it. You can move the garlic roaster around too. When both sides of the tofu are nicely browned, you can remove it from the BBQ and reserve it. When the garlic is nicely caramelized and very soft, take it off the grill.
To make the dressing:
Place all the ingredients into your blender or food processor. Put the head of garlic in the rubber squeezer and using your fingers, squeeze the roasted garlic right into the blender. Put the lid on, and blend until everything is combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. If it’s too spicy, add a little rice wine vinegar or more lime juice. If it’s not spicy enough, add another chili. It should be fairly thick, but if it’s too thick, add a little coconut milk. Chill.
To make the salad:
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Toss the potatoes in and boil until fork tender. Remove them. Throw the rest of the vegetables in and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Immediately run under cold water.
Cut the tofu into cubes. Arrange the vegetables on a large platter. Sprinkle with the pea shoots, tofu, more peanuts, and crispy onions. Drizzle with peanut dressing.
Forget the forks and plates. Serve with the lettuce for wrapping and more peanut sauce for drizzling.