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Gado-Gado - Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce

Indonesian salad served with a super awesome peanut sauce with a tang of tamarind, sweetness of palm sugar, the umami of shrimp paste, and a kick of chili.

Gado-gado is my favorite Indonesian salad. This Sundanese dish is a national favorite, and it consists of lightly boiled and blanched vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, fried tofu and/or tempeh cubes, and lontong (steamed rice cakes) served with spicy peanut sauce. For most Indonesian, gado-gado is pretty much our national salad, and apparently, since 2018, gado-gado has been designated as one of Indonesian five national food (the other four being soto, sate, rendang, and nasi goreng). Personally, whenever I return home to Indonesia, gado-gado is definitely one of the food that I must eat, and this is one of the foods I make whenever I’m feeling homesick. ♥

Gado-Gado - Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce

Gado-Gado - Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce

What are the typical ingredients in a gado-gado?

The literal translation of gado-gado is mix-mix, so basically it is a dish made of a mixture of ingredients. And, although I have translated gado-gado as a salad, this dish is more like a complete meal on its own. A proper gado-gado should have the following ingredients:

  • lontong/ketupat (steamed rice cake), this is the carb
  • boiled potatoes, also a carb
  • hard-boiled eggs, the protein
  • fried tofu and/or tempe cubes, another protein
  • an assortment of lightly blanched and raw vegetables
  • kerupuk udang (prawn crackers) and/or emping (melinjo crackers)
  • bawang goreng (fried shallots)
  • spicy peanut sauce

The more popular vegetable choice for gado-gado include:

  • long/snake beans (Indonesian: kacang panjang)
  • mung bean sprouts (Indonesian: tauge)
  • spinach (Indonesian: bayam), or water spinach (Indonesian: kangkung)
  • chayote (Indonesian: labu siam)
  • cabbage (Indonesian: kol)
  • cucumber (Indonesian: timun)

Aside from the cucumber, the rest of the vegetables are typically lightly blanched, or boiled to the point they start to wilt. Although these vegetables are what we commonly use in our gado-gado, feel free to use any vegetables you have at home. Some of the vegetables that I have personally used include:

  • green beans (perfect to sub for long/snake beans)
  • sweet potato (perfect to sub for regular potato)
  • red cabbage, lettuce, or napa cabbage (perfect to sub for regular cabbage)
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • tomato
  • radishes, if you prefer this to cucumber, or use both

How to prepare gado-gado peanut dressing/sauce?

There are so many foods in Indonesia that have peanut sauce, not just gado-gado. Each food has its distinct mixture and even texture of peanut sauce. For gado-gado, these are the ingredients that go into a typical gado-gado peanut sauce:

If you order a gado-gado from an Indonesian restaurant that specializes in selling gado-gado, your sauce is typically made from scratch once the order is placed. Sometimes, the seller even grinds the sauce right in front of you. And as he/she makes the sauce, you can request to tweak the sauce a bit, like, adding more garlic, reducing the chilies, e.t.c., which I think is quite cool. At home though, I typically make a big batch of peanut sauce at once since it’s easier. Here is how to prepare the peanut sauce:

  1. Using a food processor, grind peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, chilies, terasi/belacan/shrimp paste, and salt. Try to stop when the peanuts still have some chunks and not completely turned into a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer the peanut mixture into a mixing bowl, add tamarind juice, lime juice, and sweet soy sauce.
  3. Then add enough hot water to the mixture while stirring to get the consistency of the peanut sauce that you like.

Make-Ahead Gado-Gado Peanut Sauce

Whenever I’m in the mood to make some gado-gado sauce, I always make them in a big batch. Usually,I make four times the amount listed here! Here is how I do it:

  1. Follow the sauce prep up to step 2.
  2. Gather the peanut sauce mixture and shape into several blocks, for ease, I usually make sure that one block is enough for one serving.
  3. Wrap each peanut sauce block with a saran wrap and refrigerate/freeze. The sauce should last for up to 1 week if refrigerated, and can last up to 2 months if frozen.

When I want to eat some gado-gado, I simply remove one block of the peanut sauce and mix it with hot water. I think it is a very neat trick. :)

Other Indonesian dishes with peanut sauce

If you love dishes with peanut sauce, you may want to try these Indonesian recipes, each with its own unique peanut sauce:

Gado-Gado - Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce


5.0 from 11 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Gado-gado spicy peanut sauce
  • 200 gram peanut, deep-fried or roasted
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 50 gram palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 1 to 10 Thai chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit), seeded - use as much or as little as you like
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi, Malaysian: belacan), toasted, omit to make a vegetarian sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp, soaked in 2 tablespoon of warm water to get the juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • 2 cup hot water
  • The carbs
  • 4 potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled
  • ketupat/lontong/steamed rice cake
  • The protein
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and cut into quarters
  • deep fried tofu
  • deep fried tempeh
  • The vegetables
  • blanched cabbage (Indonesian: kol)
  • blanched bean sprouts (Indonesian: tauge)
  • blanched snake beans (Indonesian: kacang panjang)
  • blanched spinach (Indonesian: bayam)
  • boiled chayote (Indonesian: labu siam)
  • raw cucumber (Indonesian: timun)
  • Garnish and accompaniments
  • fried shallots (Indonesian: bawang goreng)
  • prawn crackers (Indonesian: kerupuk udang)
  • melinjo crackers (Indonesian: emping)

Instructions

  • Gado-gado spicy peanut sauce
    1. Using a food processor, grind peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, chilies, terasi/belacan/shrimp paste, and salt. Try to stop when the peanuts still have some chunks and not completely turned into a smooth paste.
    2. Transfer the peanut mixture into a mixing bowl, add tamarind juice, lime juice, and sweet soy sauce.
    3. Then add enough hot water to the mixture while stirring to get the consistency of the peanut sauce that you like.
  • To serve
    1. Arrange all gado-gado ingredients in a plate/bowl, the carbs, the protein, and the vegetables. Garnish with fried shallots and crackers. Serve the peanut sauce in a separate bowl.
    2. Just prior to eating the salad, pour the peanut sauce and mix well.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Morgan Morgan says:

    Today is a happy day. Saya menemukan blog Anita! Saya sangat suka makanan Indonesia. Termia kasih untuk membuat resepnya! :]

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thank you for checking out the blog, Morgan. I always feel happy when people say they like Indonesian food. ♥

  • Yayoi Yayoi says:

    Excellent recipe!

  • Emma Emma says:

    Great recipe! My grandmother and my great aunts never made it with potatoes OR eggs- just cabbage, sprouts, and whatever other vegetables she had laying around. I think they add lots of heartiness to the dish though! Definitely will be making it that way from now on.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks Emma! For most Indonesians, gado-gado needs eggs and potatoes. When the salad lacks these two ingredients, we'll probably make pecel instead of gado-gado. But since the peanut sauce is super delicious, you are right that it will still be more than delicious even without the eggs and potatoes :)

  • Dannii Dannii says:

    I had this when I was in Thailand and it's so good. Such simple flavours too.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Wow, I didn't know you can get Indonesian gado-gado in Thailand. But they do taste delicious, don't they? :)

  • Danielle Wolter Danielle Wolter says:

    omg that peanut sauce, it sounds incredible. the flavors in this are some of my favorite. this is a great dish!

  • Jen Jen says:

    I love trying new dishes and this sounds fabulous! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Demeter Demeter says:

    This peanut sauce is so good! Really adds so much flavor. Loved it!

  • Noelle Noelle says:

    Peanut sauce goes with so many thing, I love to add it to veggies or even a salad! This one is so simple, thank you!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    The peanut sauce was so flavorful and delicious! We all loved it!

  • Pam Greer Pam Greer says:

    I have never heard of this salad before! The peanut sauce is just amazing and I use it on so many things!

  • Iryna Iryna says:

    Love the ingredients in this peanut sauce! I'm sure this salad tastes incredible with the sauce!

  • Chichi Chichi says:

    This dish is my kind of thing. I love everything in it, especially the peanut sauce. 😋

  • Galih Tanu Galih Tanu says:

    Mbak kacangnya jangan terlalu halus giling ya. Supaya sensasi mengunyah butiran kacangnya tetep ada.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Terima kasih atas masukannya Galih. Iya, aku suka terakhirnya tambahin lagi taburan kacang goreng giling kasar, hihi, dasar terlalu suka dengan kacang ini. :)

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