Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Recipes/ Salad/ Side Dish

Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Peanut Sauce

18/11/2020

One of the BEST salads you’ll ever eat with peanut satay flavours smothered over fresh vegetables. Indonesian Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce is a deliciously cooling recipe for a hot Summer’s day.

Gado gado salad topped with spicy peanut sauce and chopped chilli.

Why We Love This

This is our go-to recipe for a healthy yet savoury and filling meal that is super easy too!

It’s such a versatile salad recipe. You can literally use any combination of your favourite salad or veggie ingredients, both raw or cooked.

There’s a little bit of prep time involved, but it’s 100% worth it because the end result is a big bowl of gado gado salad. It’s not just super satisfying, but leaves you feeling so healthy too!

You can feel extra good knowing you’re literally eating a big pile of veggies – but instead of being bland or boring, they taste amazing due to the must-have spicy peanut sauce.

What is Gado Gado? 

Gado Gado literally means ‘mix mix’ in Indonesian. You’ll often find it dished up by street vendors from their hand-drawn carts, where they’ll freshly blanch the ingredients before your eyes and cover them in a generous slather of spicy gado gado sauce (very similar to a peanut satay sauce).

Typical ingredients in traditional gado gado include boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, bean sprouts and green beans alongside super satisfying, protein-packed tofu and tempeh (more about this tasty vegan ingredient below). But the best part about homemade ‘mix mix’ salad is that you can use any mix of raw or blanched veggies to use up what you have on hand.

This recipe is like the summer salad version of our Japanese Shabu Shabu (meaning swish swish) – which is a winter warming hotpot with fresh vegetables, tofu and meat.

Where We Learned This

Our wandering, eating adventures turned up seemingly endless varieties of this popular salad dish while travelling across Bali.

One version consisted of mainly fried tofu and bean shoots doused in that mouth-watering homemade peanut sauce, dished up by our new friend Usman from his hawker-style street cart.

Then there was a completely different version at a local warung (food stall), which was packed with potatoes, beans, lettuce and crispy krupuk crackers (similar to prawn crackers). The flavours in this bowl were so good we literally begged kindly asked the owner for her recipe. (Fun fact: Laura speaks Bahasa Indonesia, from back in her Uni days)

Leading us into her kitchen, she pointed out each of her ingredients and showed us how to blend peanuts, spices and seasonings for the peanut sauce using a traditional Indonesian mortar and pestle. She was so excited to share her recipe, she couldn’t stop smiling and laughing the entire time! It was one of the best conversations and experiences we had in Bali.

If you do ever want to check out her little warung, it’s opposite Kayun Hostel on JL Patih Jelantik, Bali, Indonesia. Say hello from us!

Top view of Indonesian gado gado salad with eggs and vegetables.

What You’ll Need

Inspired by all the incredible versions of Gado Gado out there, we decided to create our own ‘mix mix’ of ingredients and pile up the veggies for a deliciously healthy salad. Recreating the dish in our kitchen at home, the hardest part was to stop taste testing the sauce until it was juuuuust right!

  • Fried Tofu – We’ll sometimes buy tofu that is already fried, as it’s firmer than regular tofu and will hold its shape much better. If you can’t source it pre-fried, look for firm tofu rather than silken or soft tofu.
  • Tempeh – This is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soy. It’s full of protein with the deliciously chewy texture of a meat patty – without the meat! So it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Head to the fridge section of your nearest Asian grocery, and pick yourself up a pack. Slice, fry and add to your Gado Gado for a satisfyingly spicy treat. And if you can’t find it – no worries, just leave it out and/or double the amount of tofu to compensate.
  • Veggies – We’ll typically use blanched green beans and bean sprouts along with sliced or grated carrot, fresh spinach, crispy lettuce or cabbage leaves, cucumber and tomatoes.
  • Fillers – Boiled potatoes are absolutely stunning paired with the spicy sauce, as are boiled eggs.
  • Sauce – When using a blender or food processor, the sauce ingredients are easier and quicker to prepare than you might think.

For the peanut sauce you’ll need:

  • Roasted peanuts
  • Palm sugar
  • Garlic and ginger – we usually use minced, but you can finely chop/grate these or just pop in the food processor.
  • Chillies – we use the small Thai red chillies but they do pack a punch. You might like to start with 1/2 a chilli and work your way up from there once you know your heat tolerance.
  • Fish sauce
  • Kecap Manis – A thick, sweet and sticky soy sauce that really brings the salty, golden caramel flavour to the sauce.
  • Lime juice – Fresh or bottled is fine. You can substitute for lemon or leave it out if needed.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves – These pack a big flavour punch. Depending on where you live, you might source them fresh from your local market or import store, or they may be dried or bottled in the Asian section of your local supermarket. You can also find dried kaffir lime leaves online. If you have no luck, just omit or add a teaspoon of lime zest instead.

P.S. While you’re at the Asian grocery picking up supplies, feel free to pick up a bag of krupuk or emping (Indonesian chips similar to prawn crackers) for extra crunch. Not essential, but they do add a delicious texture to the final dish!

Plate of fresh and blanched vegetables with peanut sauce in background.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Peanut Sauce – No need to make the peanuts super smooth, a little texture is perfectly fine!
  • Make it in Bulk – Feed a crowd with a huge gado gado platter. Or, pre-chop all the ingredients. That way you can assemble a fresh salad each day through the week for a quick and easy lunch.
  • Dunk In Ice Water – After blanching the green beans and bean shoots, you can dunk them in ice water to stop them cooking and help them stay crunchy. We don’t usually worry about this, but the option is there if you feel like it!

FAQs

Is gado gado served hot or cold?

This Indonesian salad is traditionally served hot and freshly cooked. However, we usually eat it at room temperature and enjoy it just as much.

How long does this salad last?

This salad will easily last a day or two in the fridge, but for the freshest results, cook each portion of veggies you need on the day. The peanut satay sauce on the other hand, will last much longer. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or make a big batch and freeze in portions that you can reheat on the stove.

Can I serve gado gado as a main meal?

Absolutely! With boiled eggs and tempeh for protein, plus boiled potatoes for a little extra bulk, this veggie packed salad is super satisfying as a main meal. To make it more filling for extra hungry eaters, you could serve it with freshly cooked rice (white or brown would both be amazing). Or top with slices of leftover bbq chicken, grilled chicken or fried haloumi for extra decadence.

Is gado gado salad vegan?

It’s easy to make a vegan gado gado salad, just swap out the fish sauce and shrimp powder for 2 teaspoons of soy sauce for the peanut sauce. Then select vegan friendly vegetable and tofu options to cover with the peanut sauce.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Mix Mix – You can use any mix of veggies and proteins in this salad so feel free to go nuts! It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies like cucumber, tomatoes and green beans.
  • Stir Fry Instead of Blanch – Instead of blanching, why not stir fry the veggies. Try it with green beans, broccolini, carrots, bean shoots etc for a more caramelised flavour.
  • Prawn Crackers – Known as ‘krupuk’ in Indonesian.
  • Double the Fillers – Such as tofu, tempeh, potatoes or eggs to feed extra hungry eaters.
  • Save Time – Use pre-chopped coleslaw mix as the salad base.
  • Optional Garnishes – Top with more crunchy roasted peanuts, fried garlic and/or fried shallots, fresh coriander/cilantro leaves or chilli powder. (We’re addicted to our Japanese 7 Spice blend)
  • Make it an Indonesian Feast – Serve as a side dish with Indonesian corn fritters, chargrilled pork skewers or sambal telur. Yum!
  • Peanut Butter – If you don’t have peanuts or a food processer, substitute with crunchy or smooth peanut butter.
  • Vietnamese Peanut Hoisin Sauce – For a different flavour profile, you can make our peanut hoisin sauce to use instead.
Fresh plate of Indonesian gado gado salad topped with peanut satay sauce.

More of our favourite refreshing Asian salads:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and star rating below!

Plate of Indonesian gado gado salad.

Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Peanut Sauce

Take your taste buds on a Southeast Asian adventure with this crispy, crunchy, and oh-so-satisfying, Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce. It’s a deliciously cooling salad for a hot summer’s day, packed with healthy nutrients, protein and incredible spicy peanut flavour.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 555kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Ingredients

For the sauce:

For the salad:

  • 2 large lettuce leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs boiled and halved
  • 2 potatoes cubed and boiled
  • 1 carrot julienne sliced
  • 1 handful green beans blanched
  • 1 handful bean sprouts blanched
  • 50 g tempeh ½ cm / ¼ inch slices
  • 50 g fried tofu cubed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Place the peanuts into a mortar or food processor. Onced crushed to as smooth or crunchy as you like, add the palm sugar, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime and chilli and grind for a minute or two until well combined.
  • If using a mortar and pestle, transfer to a mixing bowl, otherwise place the following wet ingredients straight into your processer. Add fish sauce, shrimp powder, kecap manis, lime juice and coconut milk. Mix well and add more coconut milk if needed until the sauce has a smooth consistency.
  • Put peanut sauce into a small saucepan over a low heat and cook for a few minutes until warmed up then remove.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Add tempeh and cook for a few minutes until browned. Add fried tofu and continue to cook until heated through (around a minute or two).
  • Arrange salad ingredients onto serving plates and liberally coat with peanut sauce.
  • Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Fried Tofu – We’ll sometimes buy tofu that is already fried, as it’s firmer than regular tofu and will hold its shape much better. If you can’t source it pre-fried, look for firm tofu rather than silken or soft tofu.
  • Tempeh – This is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soy. It’s full of protein with the deliciously chewy texture of a meat patty – without the meat! So it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Head to the fridge section of your nearest Asian grocery, and pick yourself up a pack. Slice, fry and add to your Gado Gado for a satisfyingly spicy treat. And if you can’t find it – no worries, just leave it out and/or double the amount of tofu to compensate.
  • Veggies – We’ll typically use blanched green beans and bean sprouts along with sliced or grated carrot, fresh spinach, crispy lettuce or cabbage leaves, cucumber and tomatoes.
  • Fillers – Boiled potatoes are absolutely stunning paired with the spicy sauce, as are boiled eggs.
  • Sauce – When using a blender or food processor, the sauce ingredients are easier and quicker to prepare than you might think.
  • Peanut Sauce – No need to make the peanuts super smooth, a little texture is perfectly fine!
  • Make it in Bulk – Feed a crowd with a huge gado gado platter. Or, pre-chop all the ingredients. That way you can assemble a fresh salad each day through the week for a quick and easy lunch.
  • Dunk In Ice Water – After blanching the green beans and bean shoots, you can dunk them in ice water to stop them cooking and help them stay crunchy. We don’t usually worry about this, but the option is there if you feel like it!
  • Mix Mix – You can use any mix of veggies and proteins in this salad so feel free to go nuts! It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies like cucumber, tomatoes and green beans.
  • Stir Fry Instead of Blanch – Instead of blanching, why not stir fry the veggies. Try it with green beans, broccolini, carrots, bean shoots etc for a more caramelised flavour.
  • Prawn Crackers – Known as ‘krupuk’ in Indonesian.
  • Double the Fillers – Such as tofu, tempeh, potatoes or eggs to feed extra hungry eaters.
  • Save Time – Use pre-chopped coleslaw mix as the salad base.
  • Optional Garnishes – Top with more crunchy roasted peanuts, fried garlic and/or fried shallots, fresh coriander/cilantro leaves or chilli powder. (We’re addicted to our Japanese 7 Spice blend)
  • Make it an Indonesian Feast – Serve as a side dish with Indonesian corn fritters, chargrilled pork skewers or sambal telur. Yum!
  • Peanut Butter – If you don’t have peanuts or a food processer, substitute with crunchy or smooth peanut butter.
  • Vietnamese Peanut Hoisin Sauce – For a different flavour profile, you can make our peanut hoisin sauce to use instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 589mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 5mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Peanut Sauce

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Ilona @ Ilona's Passion
    25/03/2016 at 2:03 pm

    Yummy salad… and these sauce is incredible. I need to make it:)

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/03/2016 at 9:06 am

      It’s so nice to have such incredible flavours and all from real, natural ingredients. No need to run to the store for a pre-made mix now!

  • Reply
    Boastful Food
    25/03/2016 at 1:33 pm

    Sounds delish, gals!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/03/2016 at 9:04 am

      Tastes even better 😉 Hahah

  • Reply
    Sherri @ Watch Learn Eat
    25/03/2016 at 12:27 pm

    5 stars
    Wow! This salad looks incredible! And I enjoyed reading the story behind its creation! Awesome recipe! 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/03/2016 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Sherri! 🙂

  • Reply
    Bella B (xoxoBella)
    25/03/2016 at 10:58 am

    What a great post! Your photos are fabulous. I am always looking for new salad ideas to try. 🙂

  • Reply
    Camilla @FabFood4All
    25/03/2016 at 10:35 am

    5 stars
    Love this tasty recipe and all the glorious flavours, seriously tempted to try this:-)

  • Leave a Reply

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