Gado-Gado (Gado-Gado Salad With Peanut Sauce)

December 10, 2021
4 Ratings
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
Author Notes

There are many dishes served with peanut sauce in Indonesia, but none is more famous than gado-gado, which literally translates in Indonesian to "mix-mix." It also comes from the word "menggado, "which is to consume something without rice, a rarity on these islands. You can easily substitute the suggested vegetables with whatever you have to hand; the key to this dish is a good peanut sauce and a hefty helping of kerupuk or prawn crackers. The peanut sauce will last for up to 5 days, but once tossed together, gado-gado is best eaten on the same day.

Homemade Kecap Manis recipe

Slightly adapted from Coconut & Sambal by arrangement with Bloomsbury Publishing. Copyright © 2020, Lara Lee.Lara Lee

Test Kitchen Notes

This wonderful gado-gado recipe has a lot of different components, from tofu to potatoes, broccoli, fried shallots, and a peanut sauce and spice paste, but each is very straightforward to put together, and the final dish is a showstopper that friends and family alike will enjoy. You'll find yourself making more of the separate components than you need, as you'll soon see that you could use them in a variety of dishes. Who couldn't use more fried shallots, right? They go with basically pretty much anything. as well as tempeh, tofu, carrots, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes—your plate will be a rainbow of colors, and you can feel free to incorporate whatever produce you have on hand if you're looking to use something up. Side dish, main dish, or a DIY build-a-bowl, this recipe works for any kind of setup, from a fun dinner to an impressive party feast.

Making your own kecap kanis also couldn't be easier. All you need is some light soy sauce or gluten-free tamari, as well as palm sugar or brown sugar. Simply combine the soy sauce and sugar in a small saucepan and then bring to a simmer of medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and and continue to warm through until the mixture thickens to the consistency of maple syrup. This should take no longer than 5 minutes. Let cool before using. It makes such a difference in flavor when adding to the peanut sauce. The sauce also comes together quickly thanks to using a food processor. —The Editors

What You'll Need
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Gado-Gado (Gado-Gado Salad With Peanut Sauce)
  • 60 grams fried, firm, or smoked tofu, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • 150 grams baby potatoes, halved
  • 100 grams tender-stem broccoli

  • 100 grams green beans, trimmed

  • Coconut or sunflower oil, for frying
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 60 grams tempeh, sliced into 3-by-1-centimeter chunks (optional, or replace with more tofu)

  • store-bought or homemade kecap kanis (see headnote)
  • 2 quantities of peanut sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into long, thin matchsticks
  • 75 grams bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced into thin rounds

  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled for 10 minutes, halved

  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots, optional (recipe below)
  • Sambal Kacang (Peanut Sauce)
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • 75 grams unsalted, raw peanuts, preferably with their skin on (or 75 grams unsweetened, unsalted smooth peanut butter)
  • 2 long red chiles, seeds removed and very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 4 teaspoons kecap manis (see headnote)
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste (or 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice mixed with 2 teaspoons brown sugar)
  • 1 pinch flaky sea salt
  • Bawang Merah Goreng (Fried Shallots)
  • 500 grams small banana shallots or Thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

  • Flaky sea salt
  • Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • Rempeyek (Peanut and Makrut Lime Kerupuk)
  • 125 grams rice flour
  • 75 grams unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped 

  • 5 makrut lime leaves, stems removed, very thinly sliced

  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • Spice Paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 candlenuts or macadamia nuts (or 4 cashews or almonds), toasted for best flavor 

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  1. If the tofu is wet, spread in a single layer on top of several layers of paper towels, then cover with additional paper towels. Let the tofu sit, pressing down occasionally to squeeze out any excess moisture, for 15 minutes.
  2. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil over a high heat and add the potatoes. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool.
  3. Refill the pan with salted water, bring to a boil, and blanch the broccoli and beans for 1 to 2 minutes, until bright green, crisp, and just cooked through. Drain and let cool.
  4. In a wok or large pan over high heat, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil with a large pinch of sea salt. When the oil is shimmering, add the tempeh and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden. Drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Alternatively, if you prefer to grill the tempeh, brush with a mixture of 1 tablespoon each of the oil and the kecap manis and grill on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  5. Loosen the peanut sauce with water until it reaches a pourable consistency. Transfer the peanut sauce to a pan and heat over low heat until just warmed through.
  6. Arrange the potatoes, broccoli, beans, tofu, tempeh, carrot, bean sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, and eggs on serving plates or bowls. Sprinkle with the fried shallots and place the crackers on one side of the plate. Serve the peanut sauce on the side in a serving bowl or jug or drizzle generously over the top of each plate, as I like to do. Serve immediately.
  1. Sambal Kacang (Peanut Sauce)
  2. If using raw peanuts, in a deep saucepan over high heat, heat 150 milliliters of the oil to 160°C (325°F). (If you do not have an instant-read thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 25 to 30 seconds.) Carefully lower the peanuts into the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Fry the peanuts, stirring continuously as the peanuts can easily burn, for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden. Remove the peanuts from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb any excess oil.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Fry the chiles and garlic, tossing, for about 4 minutes, until softened.
  4. Place the fried peanuts or peanut butter in a small food processor with the cooked garlic and chiles, kecap manis, tamarind paste, and salt. Pulse briefly, then add a splash of water to loosen the sauce and pulse again. Gradually add water (about 4 tablespoons) and continue to pulse until the sauce is a pourable consistency. Season with salt or kecap manis as needed.
  5. Bawang Merah Goreng (Fried Shallots):

    Toss the sliced shallots with a little salt. Fill a deep saucepan one-third full with oil. Heat the oil to 140°C. (If you don't have a thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 40 to 45 seconds.) Add the shallots and, stirring occasionally, gently cook for 10 to 12 minutes. When more than half of the shallots are golden, remove from the heat and let the shallots brown in the residual heat. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and spread on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  6. Keep the shallot oil in an airtight container, as it is utterly delicious. I like to stir a little through rice before serving to give a lovely depth of flavor.
  7. Rempeyek (Peanut and Makrut Lime Kerupuk):

    Place the spice paste ingredients in a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine paste (alternatively, you could use a small food processor, adding a small splash of water to help grind the paste).
  8. Once the batter has rested, fold in the peanuts and kaffir lime leaves.
  9. Add enough oil to cover the base of a large deep pan, to the depth of about 1 centimeter. Heat the oil to 175°C. (If you do not have a thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 20 seconds.) Pour a dessert-spoonful of the batter into the hot oil to make a thin cracker, roughly 5 centimeters in diameter. Repeat until you have as many crackers as will fit in the pan, but keeping them apart so they do not stick together. Fry the crackers until hard at the edges, which will take a few minutes, then turn them over to brown the other side. Small holes should form inside the cracker. Once a light golden color all over, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  10. Store in an airtight container, separating the layers with baking parchment, to keep them crisp.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Antonia Chan
    Antonia Chan
  • eyah2137
Lara Lee

Recipe by: Lara Lee

Lara Lee is a Chinese-Indonesian and Australian chef and food writer. She is the author of Indonesian cookbook Coconut & Sambal, and a contributor for Food52, Bon Appetit, the Guardian and New York Times. Her book was named one of the best cookbooks of 2020 by the NYT, Guardian, Eater, National Geographic and more. When she's not cooking, you'll find her teaching Indonesian words to her toddler Jonah.

2 Reviews

Antonia C. March 31, 2021
When do you prepare the batter for the Rempeyek?
eyah2137 October 20, 2020
Delicious! Just as good with half-boiled eggs too.