Going Back to Bali…
Earth’s Elements Vegan Version of Gado-Gado Salad
When I ate this salad for the first time, I was at an in between junction, in limbo, learning and trying to decide which way to go in the hustle and bustle of a busy Manhattan restaurant and making healthier food choices, even when eating out. It’s been so long, the name of this one-time dining depot has detached from my memory, but the taste affect remained with me for some time and… being an innate foodie alchemist… I dissected, discerned and soon enough duplicated. This salad, a meal unto itself, had the perfect balance of crunch, creaminess and creativity. Some years later, when I wanted to recapture that experience, I decided to veganize it, giving live salad a whole new meaning…
Gado-Gado is a Balinese dish made with a variety of vegetables, sometimes blanched other times maybe steamed or simply cooked, topped with a creamy peanut dressing and garnished with eggs, tomatoes, crispy onions, cilantro and crushed peanuts.
nappa cabbage: stomach & liver tonic, digestion promoter, brain & kidney nourishment
string beans: harmonizer of vital energy, stomach and spleen deficiency balancer
carrots: digestion improver, worm dispeller, blood pressure maintainer, mercury discharger, vision improver
mung bean sprouts: detoxifier, constipation reliever, and promoter of body fluids circulation
cucumbers: thirst quencher, urinary improver, blood pressure reducer, and inflammation remover
baby spinach: intestinal cleanser, lung lubricator, vital energy adjustor, constipation reliever, blood activation and replenishment
cherry tomatoes: detoxifier
tofu (which is always optional depending on preference). Non-Gmo , organic and in moderation, harmonizes stomach and qi, nourishes yin and treats cardiovascular disease
The key to many live dishes is in the marinade or sauce and this is where the balance of yin and yang is reached. A Cool salad with warm dressing… made with coconut milk, ground hemp seeds, onions, ginger, garlic, organic shoyu, tamarind, lime juice and cilantro…
Instead of peanuts, though I have done it on a few occasions, I prefer hemp seeds, ground to a paste. Why? For one, hemp seeds have the highest essential fatty acids in the plant kingdom (EFAs) that our bodies cannot produce. Hemp seeds are the king of protein, 25%, made up of all 8 essential amino acids and as a healing food has numerous medicinal properties. It is an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, diuretic, hypotensive, nutritious, and used for a variety of ailments, too many to delve into here.
The other ingredient that sets this dish apart from others is the use of tamarind, one of the least recognized healing foods in the West, well maybe except for Worcestershire and barbeque sauces… If you’ve eaten a samosa at an Indian restaurant and dipped it in a brown, tangy mystery sauce, then you have been touched by tamarind. Tamarind, an ancient fruit that goes far back to Egypt, where it was consumed as a sweet drink, is also popular in Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin American cuisine. The debate of whether or not tamarind is a fruit or vegetable is of no bearing, due to various uses in culinary magic and healing high science. Tamarind is an anti-oxidant blood purifier that treats fevers, works as a mild laxative, lowers cholesterol, aids digestion, works as a diuretic and great for treating jaundice and catarrh. The list goes on, as this ancient food can heal us literally, inside out.
All the vegetables are washed, chopped, tossed and dressed in coconut-hemp-tamarind deliciousness…