Learn how to make Indonesian Gado Gado salad like how the local Indonesian would with an amazing gado gado sauce to go with.
INDONESIAN GADO GADO
Gado gado is absolutely one of my favorite Indonesian salad. The salad is usually built on mainly cooked vegetables, though sometimes there’s a mixture of raw veggies like cucumber too. Sometimes lontong pieces are used in gado gado too. The gado gado is then served with delicious and creamy gado gado sauce and toppings like prawn crackers and emping crackers. Gado gado means everything mixed together. Gado gado can be a complete meal of its own because it usually includes meatless protein like tofu and eggs.
WHAT VEGETABLES TO USED IN GADO GADO?
The vegetables you want to use is really up to you. In Indonesia, they usually prepared gado gado with blanched cabbage, boiled potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, blanched beansprouts. You can have all of these or any combination of these, or your own favorite veggies. These are just what typically seen in Indonesian gado gado. In this photo, you can see that I use a combination of chopped Romaine lettuce and blanched green beans,tomatoes, and cucumber. I actually like crunchy lettuce over boiled cabbage, but it’s just my personal preference. My point is, you can use what you like.
GADO GADO SAUCE
Gado gado sauce is made with ground peanuts, spices, herbs, kecap manis and coconut milk. Doubled up on the recipe for the dressing then you can have gado gado again without having to go through all the prep. You can store the extra in the refrigerator for up to a week.
CAN I USE PEANUT BUTTER TO MAKE GADO GADO SAUCE?
Yes, you certainly may. In fact, it’s a great short cut. You can use either chunky peanut butter or smooth peanut butter. Just adjust the amount of coconut milk so that you get the consistency for the sauce you like, not too thick, not too thin.
TOP TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE GADO GADO AT HOME
1. Prepare things ahead
You can make boiled eggs, boiled potatoes and blanch the veggies like cabbage, beansprouts, and green beans the day before. They can be kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the gado gado the next day
2. Only pour the gado gado sauce right before serving. This will prevent your gado gado from looking like a big watery mess.
3. Do not boil the coconut milk on high heat. This will “break” the coconut milk and make the gado gado sauce not smooth
PUTTING GADO GADO TOGETHER
There’s no hard and fast rule here, but here’s how I build my gado gado from beginning to finish
1. Pile on the lettuce or cabbage (if that’s what you use)
2. Add the rest of the veggies: tomatoes, green beans, sliced cucumbers
3. Add the protein: in this case tofu and eggs
4. Drizzle with gado gado sauce generously
5. Drizzle with kecap manis (optional, I like it)
6. Add some crispy fried shallots (bawang goreng)
7. Some prawn crackers or emping crackers on the side and TUCK IN!
Gado gado can be a satisfying meal of its own.
How To Make The Best Gado Gado Salad
- 450 gr extra firm tofu cubed
- 2 medium size potatoes
- 2 hard-boiled eggs peeled and quartered
- 100 gr cabbage sliced and blanched, sliced
- 125 gr bean sprouts blanched
- 125 gr green beans cut into 2-inch length and blanched
- 1 large tomato quartered
Gado gado sauce:
- 100 gr raw roasted unsalted peanuts see notes
- 3 Tbsp Indonesian sweet soy sauce kecap manis or more to taste
- 80 gr coconut sugar or more to taste
- ½ tsp salt
- 50 ml water or more if you like the sauce a bit thinner
- 300 ml coconut milk
- 1 inch galangal or use 2 Tbsp of galangal powder
- 4 red chilis optional
- 4 shallots peeled
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 Kaffir lime leaves tear the edges to release flavor
- Fried shallots crisp bawang goreng
- Prawn crackers
- Emping crackers
- Juice of fresh lime optional
Things you can prepare the day before:
- Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Peel the skin and cut into bite-size pieces. C. Place the eggs in a water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover and let it sit for 10 minutes. Drain off water and submerge in cold water and peel when the eggs are cool (easier to peel)
- While potatoes are cooking, preheat about 1 Tbsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add in the cubed tofu and pan-fried until golden brown on all sides. Set aside
Preparing gado gado sauce:
- Place the aromatics in a food processor and finely chopped them. Preheat about 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a saucepan. Stir fry the ground aromatics for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add all the gado gado sauce ingredients and the herbs
- Bring to a gentle simmer. Do not boil or the coconut milk will turn frothy and break. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.Have a taste. It should be more at the sweet side. Add more palm sugar/coconut sugar if needed.
On the day of serving:
- Arrange the cabbage/lettuce on a large serving platter. Topped with bean sprouts, green beans, tomatoes, potato cubes, tofu cubes, and slices of hard-boiled eggs. Pour the dressing on top of the salad right before serving. Garnish with fried shallots crisp and some crackers if you want to
Delicious! I didn’t have galagal on hand, so used ginger. I also only had 50g coconut sugar, but found it plenty sweet.
Hi Mary, I’m glad the substitution worked out for you. Thank you for your feedback 🙂
Made this dish yesterday and it received rave reviews. Will definitely see this again. Thanks for the recipe
Hi Alicia, I’m so happy to read that you guys loved this 🙂 Thank you for trying and for letting me know!! Cheers!
Hmm….I wonder if I could use the dry roasted chunky peanut butter to speed up the process? any thoughts?
Oh yes, I definitely think you can. Just sub the peanuts with peanut butter. You may need to play a little bit with the amount of coconut milk to get it to the consistency you like, but it should work too!