Sweet, Sour, Salty, Hot
By Renee Schettler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 23, 2004; Page F07
An occasional series in which staff members share a recipe we turn to time and again:
This time of year brings about a strange behavior in me. Despite crates brimming with early-summer stone fruits and berries, I hoard Granny Smith apples.
The fault lies in a recipe I first dog-eared a couple of steamy Washington summers ago. It's a version of green fruit gado gado [GAH-doh GAH-doh] from a British cookbook author. He tosses unripe tropical fruits with lime and sugar, drizzles them with a dressing of sorts pounded together from crushed peanuts, fresh lime, sweet palm sugar, garlic, chili peppers and pungent cilantro, basil and mint. Like many street foods from Southeast Asia, it is a jumble of textures and is explosively, overwhelmingly, simultaneously sweet, salty, sour and hot. Rather than track down unripe papaya or mango, I took a tip from another author and chef, Mai Pham, who swaps crisp, juicy green apples for out-of-season tropical fruit.
But the season for this salad is short. It commences when the weather becomes muggy and ends by mid-summer, when Granny Smiths lose their sour smack. Some nights, I toss in shredded cooked chicken breast. But mostly I prefer to savor it just as it is.
Green Apple Gado Gado
6 first-course or 2 main-course servings
Adapted from a recipe in Alastair Hendy's "Cooking for Friends" (Ryland Peters & Small, 2000):
2/3 cup salted or unsalted peanuts, coarsely crushed
1 clove garlic
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 small red chili peppers, seeded and chopped
6 tablespoons palm sugar* (may substitute brown sugar)
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
© 2004 The Washington Post Company