Gado Gado Salad

Indonesian version of salad is the one happily drenched with peanut sauce. The sauce should be thick, crunchy, sweet and spicy. There are basically more than ten type of salad using peanut sauce, so even if they all look and sound the same, they taste differently, according to some picky eaters.

This is the famous gado-gado salad, one which can be found in many Indonesian restaurant here and abroad. This post is a re-post from the old one I did back in 2008 when food blogging was naive.

After the new addition in our family, I find less and less time to cook and blog as I used to, with the days of planning and props and shopping, so I do apologize for the lack of styling and propping and the messy kitchen. I tried to cook as fast as I can between baby’s screaming and even less time too take pictures.

The food photography of the end product includes someone standing in the garden (which thankfully, next to the kitchen) and hold the plate. Afterwards we eat in the garden right then and there. No more running around gathering props. Those days are pretty much over. And I am not sure if they are ever coming back. I am still doing the step-by-step images but for those who aren’t interested and would rather get to the recipe straight away, I have included the recipe before the page break. So if you aren’t going to be too happy to load the 20+ images of step by step, please don’t click on the “read more”.


Indonesian Gado Gado Salad

Makes 6 servings


Peanut Sauce

2 cloves garlic
10 g bird's eye chili (green chili)
20 g gula melaka
1/2 tbsp salt
100 g peanuts, deep-fried or roasted
1/2 tbsp kecap manis
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 cup water


200 g cabbage, sliced thinly
75 g bean sprouts, blanched briefly
250 g tofu, fried till golden and cut into cubes
1 medium cucumber, quartered and cut into 1/2 cm thickness
2 stalk Chinese celery, chopped finely
2 spring onion, chopped finely
10 g red and white crackers, deep-fried


To make the sauce
Mix garlic, chili, gula melaka, salt and peanut in a food processor and grind coarsely.
Add lime and kecap manis, mix well.
Gradually add water and stirring at the same time, to a desired thickness.

To serve
Combine all salad ingredients in a big mixing bowl or individual plater.
Add sauce and serve immediately.

The vegetable can be anything that you want. The usual ingredients would be shredded cabbage.

Lettuce and bean sprouts.

Cucumber. Peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise then slice thinly.

Block of tofu

Finely chopped Chinese celery (daun sop) and spring onion.

Next are ingredients for the sauce. Shaved gula melaka and juice of half a lime.

Bird’s eye chili, garlic and salt.

These are the not yet fried red and white crackers. They look transparent at first, but when in contact with hot oil, they would fluff up and become white.

When all the prepping work are done, prepare cooking oil in a wok and deep-fry all the ingredients that need to be deep fried, such as tofu. We cut the tofu into three equal pieces and deep-fried them till golden. Then we cut them into cubes. This way, the tofu will still be juicy inside instead of dry and crunchy.

Deep-fry the peanuts next till golden brown.

Lastly, deep-fry the crackers. Store in airtight container.

For the sauce, I am still using the old-fashioned way of pounding with mortar and pestle. I am yet to invest in a food processor. Which is funny because I seem to prioritize high-end ice cream maker before a processor. Salt, chili and garlic to be pounded coarsely.

Add gula melaka and pound some more.

Add fried (or roasted) peanuts and pound some more.

I like the peanuts to be a mixture of big chunks and smaller chunks.

Transfer peanut base into a mixing bowl.

Add lime juice.

Kecap manis.

And water.

Adjust the water until the consistency you desire. I would prefer the sauce to be not too thick nor thin.

Serve mix of everything in individual plate and generous portion of sauce. Delicious and refreshing.


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17 Responses to “Gado Gado Salad”

  1. 1

    Lorne Marr — January 21, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    I’ve never thought of preparing such exotic salad at home, but you have put a bug in my ear. Thanks for inspiration. Although it seems that the preparation will take a bit longer (compared to common salads) it surely will be worth the time.

  2. 2

    Meg — February 27, 2013 @ 11:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing this step-by-step recipe! I can get gado gado everywhere here in Jakarta, but I wanted to be able to share a recipe with my family and friends back home in America… I will link them to yours!
    Terima kasih banyak!

  3. 3

    al — April 19, 2013 @ 10:01 am

    Your gado-gado looks like karedok (Sundanese raw salad)! Anyway, try using some cashew nuts to supplement your ground peanuts sauce. It will make the sauce more savoury. :)

  4. 4

    Valerie crouch — April 20, 2013 @ 3:59 am

    What a great reminder and will try as soon as I restock with necessary sauces! Thanks Rosemary

  5. 5

    Alexander van Loon — May 6, 2013 @ 3:46 am

    Thanks for the recipe and the gorgeous photos which accompany it. However, I thought it turned out way too sour. I used slightly more than 200 grams peanuts, so I also doubled the other ingredients and used a whole lime. Judging from your picture, my lime was just as big as yours. Possibly I extracted more juice from it, or my lime has a stronger taste? Am I the only one having this problem?

    Also, I’d recommend others to take the recipe’s advice to “add the sauce and serve immediately” serious: I poured the sauce over the salad long before it was served and noticed the sauce had dried out, with the water sinking to the bottom of the serving bowl.

    • Jun replied: — July 12th, 2013 @ 2:29 am

      Our limes are slightly under 5 cm in diameter

  6. 6

    Samantha — May 10, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    I was in Indonesia for the first time in March. I fell in love with many Indonesian dishes particularly Gado-Gado. I am going to try to make this at home! Thank you. ~Samantha

  7. 7

    Norberto Shawgo — June 3, 2013 @ 1:39 am

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about Indochine Kitchen » Gado Gado Salad .

  8. 8

    New Recipe #47 of 104: Gado Gado | An American in Antwerp — August 28, 2013 @ 6:53 am

    [...] with a lot of photos and instructions, Indochine Kitchen, and after searching a while I settled on Gado Gado. I chose this recipe for a number of reasons – I love peanut sauces and dressings, kroepoek, [...]

  9. 9

    Sharmila — September 23, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    I chanced upon your blog while blog hopping and am so glad I found you. Am having the most wonderful time going through your archives. Love this salad. Also the dried shrimp sambal. I have to try them both soon.

  10. 10

    Morgan — November 20, 2013 @ 12:55 am

    IYA. Terima kasih BANYAK! I am very excited about discovering this blog as I live in Indonesia currently, and will dearly miss some foods… Mainly gado-gado, lotek, and ronde. Haha! Now I will be able to bring back some of my favourites to share with family and friends!

  11. 11

    Daniel — January 6, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

    What would you recommend as a birds eye chilli substitute? I can’t find them in the US. Could Serrano chillies work? They are less spicy, but share the green color.

  12. 12

    Eugene — February 16, 2014 @ 8:42 am

    I’m craving for gado-gado lately. And already made up my mind to make it rather than buy it since I really loves cooking. Then here I am LOL. This recipe resemble with my mom recipes. Thanks a lot ♥

    @daniel: I think you can using any kind of chili as long as don’t have much bitter taste. Like small chili, jalapeno or red pepper.

  13. 13

    westperth2 — June 20, 2014 @ 1:55 am

    I’d like to try the recipe when i have the time. This looks so delicious and easy to prepare. Try visiting indonesian take away perth for authentic indonesian cuisines.

  14. 14

    Leina — April 7, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

    mmm lovely salad

  15. 15

    Leina — April 7, 2015 @ 2:27 pm

    would it spoil the recipe if I was to skip garlic ? I have allergies on garlic but I’d really love to try this recipe, my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired, outside the cooking games so im not really sure what ingredients could I use instead of garlic ?

    • Jun replied: — June 12th, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

      No need to add anything. Just omit it. Thanks!

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