How. do. people. do. it ?

When I first learned to cook, I was living at home with my parents and three siblings. So, as one can expect, I learned to cook on a massive scale. Big pots of curry, trays and trays of roasted veggies, and pans of lasagna, were all I knew. I could feed a small army, or a football team, at least.  When I moved out to attend college, I shared a house with five of my closest friends. Our place was the hang out house; full of instruments, dance parties, laughter, and loads of food. Originally, I had intended to learn the delicate art of how to cook for one, but being the hospitable hippies we were, I ended up learning how to cook for more and more people. It wasn't rare that I'd feed anywhere form 13-25 hungry musicians and students at a time. Pots of rice and quinoa would cover the stove, every dahl you can imagine would bubble away, and pot after pot of vegan chili would satisfy the masses.  
After living in a series of community oriented homes, I moved out with my partner, who also happens to be a professional chef. Turns out, he has the same issue as me (when he makes soups, he makes 120 litres at a time!). We became the couple who would always make enough to freeze, resort to eat the same thing all week, or force food upon our friends (are you sure you don't want to come over for dinner? Are you sure you're sure?)

So, this brings me to this startling realization that, at almost thirty, I will be living and cooking for one. This summer I have the amazing opportunity to intern with V.K Rees here in New York, so a couple of weeks ago I picked up shop and moved to Brooklyn. And then the learning began. For the first little while I ended up making myself an odd array of dinner options: toast, hummus and crackers, kale with stuff on it and stuff with kale on it, and of course breakfast for dinner. Lots of breakfasts for dinners. As I grew tired of pancakes and kale, I thought more and more about how, if there were someone else to share a meal with, I would be inclined to put in more time, energy, and love. But why not do it for myself? 

Having to learn to scale back and cook just for one is hard, but manageable. And when it comes to finding the balance of making food with love, but still being easy, I think we've found the perfect fit. 

So, what is Gado-gado? 

Hailing from Indonesia, Gado-gado is basically the ultimate big salad. Meaning "a mix of stuff", or "mix mix", the salad is comprised of raw and cooked veggies, protein, and a tasty nut butter sauce. Basically, everything I love. Some veggies are a staple to the dish including potatoes, cabbage, bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber, tofu, and hard boiled eggs. But it's certainly not limited to these. Greens such as spinach, zucchini noodles, or kale can replace the cabbage, sweet potato or beetroot the potato, even things like broccoli or cauliflower would be delicious. For my version I added some sliced cherry tomatoes that I had on hand, omitted the egg to make a vegan version (although you could easily add it), and opted for a  multigrain tempeh over tofu. Basically, this is the essential dish to use seasonal and available produce or whatever is hanging out in the crisper draw. The recipe is up to you. 


No Recipe Indonesian Gado-Gado

(This recipe makes enough tempeh and sauce for two people. That way you don't have to make more later in the week.)

Recipe: (Serves 1) Print it Here


2 New Potatoes, scrubbed
1 Large handful Bean Sprouts, about ½c cup
1 Persian Cucumber, or ¼ of an English Cucumber, sliced
1 Cup Shredded Savoy Cabbage
1 Handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 Handful Green Beans
Handful Cilantro, chopped (some stems reserved -See below)
½ Recipe Indonesian Tempeh (See below)
½ Recipe Coco-nut-butter Sauce, warmed  (See below)

  1. Begin by bringing a pot of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and continue at a rolling boil until they are easily pierced by a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, as the potatoes boil, heat a frying pan to medium and sauté the cabbage just until soft (you may need to add a splash of water). Set aside and continue to cook the tempeh in the same frying pan.
  3. Arrange the cabbage, bean sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, and tempeh in a bowl. Once the potatoes are cooked, chop and add them as well.
  4. Finally, add the green beans to the potato water and blanch for a mere minute. Add them to the salad.
  5. Serve with the Coco-nut-butter Sauce, cilantro, and lime.

Coco-nut-butter Sauce

Recipe: (Serves 2)

¼ plus 2 tablespoon Coconut Milk (use the rest in a smoothie or porridge)
⅓ cup Almond Butter, or nut butter of choice
1 Tbs. lime juice
2 ½ teaspoon Tamari
1 ½ teaspoon Honey or Liquid Sweetener of Choice
1 teaspoon Grated fresh ginger
½ pinch chili
1 tablespoon Chopped Cilantro stalks
1 Small Garlic

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until they come together. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. Sever as is or gently heat on the stove top to warm it up before serving.

Indonesian Tempeh

Recipe: (Serves 2)

2 Tbsp. Tamari
1 tablespoon Honey
2 Cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp. Liquid Coconut Oil
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
½ tsp. Cumin
¼ tsp. Coriander
8 oz Tempeh, cubed.
1 teaspoon Coconut Oil, for frying

  1. Combine the tamari, honey, garlic, 1 teaspoon oil, vinegar, and spices in a dish.
  2. Add the cubed tempeh and let sit to marinate for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  3.  Set a frying pan to medium heat and once hot, add the other tsp. oil and tempeh. Toss for about 5 minutes or until crispy and brown.
xox Sophie


  1. Keep up the great work, I read few content on this website and I think that your web blog is real interesting and holds circles of good info .

  2. Hello i am from Indonesia and i love your recipe about traditional food of Indonesia Gado Gado ... have you ever visited Indonesia? There are many traditional food which you should try it and you will get happiness.

    1. Thank you, Obat! I've never been to Indonesia but I hear the food is amazing. I'd love to add more of it to my diet <3

  3. HI Sophie.. I do not believe this . typical food of our country of origin could be famous and great again you post an article on how to make gado gado . Gando Gando has been introduced thanks to the world .

  4. Thanks, Katie! I'm so happy you like the dish! Wow, I'm so jealous of your time in Bali, I hear it's amazing. And oh my gosh, isn't tempeh just the tastiest?! I absolutely adore it <3

  5. Awe thank you so much, Kimberly! That's so kind of you!!! <3 I am having such a blast so far. It's amazing to see all the cool toys the professionals have. It totally beats my little rickety set up, but I plan to try to recreate it at home 🙂

  6. This looks delicious. And excited for you. Living in New York will be a blast and VK Rees. I mean WOW. Well done. Awesome.

  7. This looks delicious. And excited for you. Living in New York will be a blast and VK Rees. I mean WOW. Well done. Awesome.

  8. I loved reading your story and what a great opportunity you have in NY! This no-recipe gado-gado looks insanely good and brings back wonderful memories of my time in Bali. I make similar baked tempeh and can never get enough of it, so next time I make it, it's going into this bowl!

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