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.