Lunch with Rachel Demuth

The World Heritage City of Bath was a very different place when Chef Rachel Demuth set up her artisan bakery there over 25 years ago.

“I remember that you could count the number of restaurants and cafes on two hands. There were lots of small food retailers, including a shop that sold fresh, homemade pasta,” she told a gathering of fellow cooks over lunch at her home today.

Now chains such as Wagamama, ASK, Café Rouge, Carluccio’s, Jamie’s and Pizza Express have opened up, driving out small, family owned businesses from high streets where rents and rates spiral ever upwards.

It is all the more remarkable, therefore, that Demuths, Rachel’s award winning vegetarian restaurant in North Parade Passage, near Bath Abbey, has thrived for over two decades, and her Vegetarian Cookery School, around the corner in Terrace Walk, has become a hub for learning and inspiration.

Assisted by Chefs and cookery teachers Jo Ingleby and Helen Lawrence, Rachel cooked a lunch showcasing seasonal Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese recipes, such as Gado Gado, a mix of seasonal vegetables and eggs served with a spicy and peanut sauce and cassava chips, a Thai salad of green papaya, cashew nuts, tomato, limes, chilli and jaggery, a Tempeh of pressed, marinated and fried soya bean and a Sambale of coconut, chili, coriander and tamarind, all served with a refreshing cucumber puree and mint drink.

Under the shade of a vine covered pergola, overlooking the hills of Bath and beyond, Rachel and her team served a dessert of Onde Onde – glutinous white rice flour, palm sugar and pandan leaf balls rolled in coconut, served with a warm pineapple and chilli salad, fresh mango and rambutan fruit {similar to lychees}.

These recipes are taught in the Thai and Vietnamese classes, and make use of produce sourced from local Somerset shops: a Thai shop in Weston for exotic ingredients, the Sweet Mart of Bristol and Eades the greengrocer in Julian Road in Bath as well as Essentials on Walcot Street. Salad leaves, herbs and greens are all grown in Rachel’s own garden.

Here she shares her Gado Gado recipe.

Gado Gado with Satay Tempeh

Gado Gado is a classic Indonesian dish which literally means “Mix Mix”. It features green beans and other vegetables, hard boiled eggs and a spicy peanut sauce. Traditionally Gado Gado is served with crispy prawn crackers and a good vegetarian alternative is fried rice noodles or cassava chips to give the dish added crunch.

Serves: 4-6

Dietary: contains nuts, wheat free, vegan option


One block of plain tempeh


1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 stick of lemongrass, finely chopped

1 tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg, grated

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp salt

3 tbsp sesame, peanut or vegetable oil

4 tbsp tamari

Juice of one lime

Apple juice to cover

For the salad

4 eggs-hard boiled, peeled and halved (optional)

500g new potatoes, washed

300g green beans

150g cabbage (white, Chinese or spring greens)

20g bean sprouts

Chopped coriander

Chopped red chilli

A handful of prawn crackers or cassava chips

A handful of toasted or roasted peanuts, lightly chopped

Peanut Sauce

100g crunchy peanut butter

2 chopped red chillies

2 cloves garlic

1 stick lemongrass

3 lime leaves

2-4 tbsp tamarind liquid

Juice and zest of a lime

5g ground black pepper

Sugar and salt to taste


To make the marinade for the Tempeh: place all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or Tupperware box and add the tempeh, make sure it is covered with liquid. Mix well so that the tempeh is well coated and leave in the refrigerator to marinade-you can leave it for one hour or up to 12 hours-the longer it is left the stronger the flavor will be.

To make the Peanut Sauce: in a small food processor (or with a sharp knife) chop the chillies, garlic, lemongrass and lime leaves until they are a paste. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and add the spicy paste; stir fry for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add the peanut butter, lime juice and zest, tamarind and black pepper and 2 tbsp water. Stir well and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Taste and add sugar, lime, salt and pepper to your taste

To prepare the vegetables: Top and tail the beans and slice the cabbage into thick strips. Cut the potatoes into quarters and place in a pan of cold water-bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until they are almost cooked. Add the beans to the boiling water for the final 2 minutes, and finally the cabbage for about 1 minute. As you drain the vegetables add the frozen beansprouts – they will cook with the heat of the other vegetables. Leave the vegetables to stand for a couple of minutes and then cool under cold water and set aside.

To cook the tempeh: When you are ready to cook remove the tempeh from the marinade and drain on kitchen towel. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the tempeh, stir fry quickly until it is golden on the outside-this will take 5-10 minutes.

To assemble the Gado Gado place the cooked vegetables on a large serving plate and cover with the peanut sauce, arrange the stir fried tempeh on top and garnish with the hard boiled eggs, chopped coriander, chopped chilli and crispy noodles or cassava chips and toasted peanuts.

Alternatively you can thread the tempeh onto kebab sticks and cook in a frying pan, under the grill or on a bbq-just make sure it is coated in a little oil

Further Information

Rachel Demuth’s cookery school:

Follow on Twitter: @vegcs

Demuth’s Restaurant:

Follow on Twitter: @Demuths

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