Gado Gado (Indonesian salad in peanut sauce)

Gado gado – the Indonesian salad with peanut sauce. Does it not ring a bell and bring back all your Bali memories? I remember it as the most delicious way to consume my vegetables.

It indeed is perhaps the most delicious salad where even the boiled/blanched vegetables taste so yummy. This is definitely a way to trick into eating healthy vegetables. I have to say the secret to this salad lies in its lip-smacking peanut sauce.

Did you also think the name Gado Gado is so much fun and tempts you to try it? By the way it means “mix mix”, exactly what you do it with all the vegetables, tempeh and tofu – mix all together with peanut (and chilli) sauce!

The only ingredient that might sound unfamiliar is Tempeh – it’s a fermented soybean product that vegetarians like me love! Its texture is firmer than tofu, is grainier and slightly on the nutty side. It’s easily available in Singapore/South East Asia/Australia that I am aware of. If you can’t find it, add any other crispy stuff – tofu, potato fries, or crunchy cucumber.

Check out the recipe of Gado Gado now and bet you’d want to try it soon. This peanut sauce btw can be repurposed in so many other dishes, more on it later!


Peanut sauce

  • 1 cup peanut
  • Oil
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 big red chili padi (thick red chili fresh)
  • 1 candle nut or Indian walnut
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar / equivalent gula melaka (better to use it if you can find)
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • Salt to taste

Chili sauce

  • 2 fresh red chili
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice

Fried stuff for salad

  • Tempeh
  • Tofu

Boiled/ blanched vegetables:

  • Long beans
  • Carrot
  • Bean sprout
  • Kang Kong (Any greens like spinach will also do)
  • Potato (optional)
  • Egg (optional)


  • In a pan, fry peanuts in oil and blend them to a powder upon cooling and keep aside
  • Saute big red chili padi, onion and garlic for a minute on low flame. Blend upon cooling to a paste and add candle nut while blending
  • Now mix the powdered peanut and this paste in pan with 1 tbsp oil (on low flame) together and add brown sugar/gula melaka, water (2-3 spoon) and coconut milk. The paste should become smooth. Add sugar and salt to it as well and pour in a bowl after it comes to a good boil (test of which is a layer of oil starts to separate, coming from peanut)
  • To prepare chili sauce, boil 2 fresh red chilli and 2 garlic. Then blend in a pestle and mortar and add to it vinegar, salt and 3-4 drops of lemon juice. Keep this in a separate small bowl
  • In parallel, boil/blanch all the vegetables separately in slightly salted water and when al dente, drain out the water and keep in separate pans. Boil eggs and slice them in halves, if you like
  • Deep fry tempeh and tofu separately as well. Before frying, do put them in salted water for a better taste
  • You can also add rice crackers or any crunchy crackers with it
  • Plating is an important part of gado gado – put the peanut sauce in a bowl and surround it by the vertical stacks of each veggie and fried stuff

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