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Vegetables and Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce

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Serves two to three.

  • by Dabney Gough from Fine Cooking
    Issue 99

On the Indonesian island of Java, this hearty, main-course salad—known as gado-gado—is sold by street vendors, who carry the ingredients on yoke-like poles, assembling each serving to order. It’s surprisingly easy to make.

  • 4 medium red potatoes (12 oz.), cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 2 medium carrots (4 oz.), peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 7 oz. package pressed, baked tofu (regular or Thai flavor), sliced into 1-inch-square pieces, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 small crown broccoli (7 oz.), cut into 1-inch florets
  • 3 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup natural unsalted peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Asian chile paste, such as sambal oeleck; more to taste
  • Kosher salt

Put a steamer basket in a large pot and fill the pot with water to just reach the bottom of the basket.

Put the potatoes in a single layer in the steamer basket, set the pot over medium-high heat, and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and cook for 4 minutes, then carefully remove the lid, move the potatoes to one side of the pot, and add the carrots in a snug, slightly overlapping layer. Cover the pot and steam until the carrots and potatoes are just tender, another 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the potatoes and carrots to a platter. Put the tofu, broccoli, and beans in the steamer; cover and cook until the tofu is hot and the broccoli and beans are just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the platter with the other vegetables.

In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, chile paste, and 1/2 cup hot water from the pot. Whisk to combine, adding more water as needed to create a thick but fluid sauce. Add more chile paste and salt to taste. Serve with the sauce on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 530; Fat (g): 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): 4; Protein (g): 30; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0; Carbohydrates (g): 41; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 1070; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 10;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I love how precisely this recipe is laid out. If you follow it to the letter, you have a foolproof meal. I've served this at least a half a dozen times, at home to guests, while on vacation, camping. It is a hit every time.

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