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Warm Indonesian Peanut Salad

For me, layers of flavour and texture make cooking with vegetables exciting. And this hearty dinner salad has more layers of flavour (sweet, mellow, sour, buttery, hot, grassy) and texture than any salad I know. On a trip to Indonesia a few years ago, I couldn't help but eat this gado-gado for almost every meal. Indonesians have a light hand with vegetables: their salads are carefully and simply blanched veg with punchy dressings - just how I like to cook. The satay sauce brings some serious flavour to early spring veg.


10 new potatoes

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

100g firm tofu, sliced

Salt and black pepper

Olive oil

100g baby carrots (I like the yellow ones), washed and tops removed

A small fennel, cut into eighths

100g asparagus, bottoms snapped off

70g sprouts and shoots (I use a mixture of alfalfa, beetroot, mung and lentil sprouts)

3 tablespoon coriander leaves

A handful of crispy, fried shallots (optional)

For the satay sauce

4 garlic cloves, peeled

6 small shallots, peeled

1 stalk of lemongrass, bashed, chopped

A thumb-size piece of galangal or ginger

2 tablespoon sambal oelek chilli paste

4 tablespoon vegetable oil

200g roasted peanuts, bashed in a pestle and mortar

2 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar

tablespoon sea salt

tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

200ml coconut milk

Preparation Method

First, make the satay sauce. Put the garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, chilli paste and oil into a processor and whizz to a thick paste

Tip the lot into a pan and slowly sizzle on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often, taking care not to let it brown too much

Meanwhile, put the peanuts into a pan with 200ml water and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until quite thick

After the lemongrass mixture has had 20 minutes, add the sugar, salt, paprika and tamarind to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes

Now, add the peanut mixture and the coconut milk

Stir well, and your satay sauce is done

To make the salad, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the potatoes and turmeric, then cook until just tender (10-15 minutes)

Meanwhile, season the tofu with salt and pepper, then fry in a little olive oil until crisp

Set aside and keep warm

For the last 5 minutes of the potatoes cooking time, throw in the carrots and fennel and, for the last 2 minutes, the asparagus

Then drain the lot - you want the veg still nice and crunchy

Carefully scatter the potatoes and veg on to a plate, breaking up the potatoes a little with the back of a spoon so they can absorb the flavours

Top with the rest of the vegetables, the sprouts, shoots and tofu, then spoon over a generous amount of the satay sauce (you won't need it all)

Finally, scatter over the coriander leaves and the crispy shallots if you like.


Serves 4

Recipe: Anna Jones is a chef, writer and author of A Modern Way to Eat and A Modern Way to Cook. (Fourth Estate); annajones.co.uk; @we_are_food




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