Mixed Salad with Spicy and Tangy Peanut Sauce (Gado-Gado)

Although very much a traditional Betawi dish, gado-gado is a signature Indonesian salad and a meal in itself. I first tasted gado-gado in my early teens from a Jakartan street vendor. Thanks to her incredible performance in assembling the dish, the experience was as much visual entertainment as enjoyment of flavours and textures. She placed a fresh chilli on a large stone mortar and, with a rhythmic rocking motion to her pestle, she ground it with garlic and deepfried peanuts. She continued to add grated palm sugar, roasted shrimp paste and tamarind water to create a thick, creamy paste.


She then tossed together boiled vegetables, tofu, tempeh and compressed rice cakes (lontong) with the sauce. The final dish was topped with a boiled egg, crispy shallots and prawn crackers and wrapped in a banana leaf. I paid for my first takeaway meal and enjoyed it on my walk home.

This recipe captures gado-gado’s authentic flavours but I’ve added dry-roasted (rather than deep-fried) peanuts. I also combined a medley of blanched and fresh vegetables to add vibrancy, colour and texture.

This recipe was extracted from 'The Indonesian Table' by Petty Elliott (published by Phaidon Press)

MORE: Try Petty's Indonesian spice pastes or Bagor Tempeh Laksa. And read her exclusive Q&A with Sous Chef on what makes Indonesian food so exciting.

For the sauce Serves: 4

  • 2–3 red bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100 g/3½ oz (scant ½ cup) Peanut-Cashew Butter (page 39)
  • 3–4 tablespoons Tamarind Paste (see linked article)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • Salt, to taste

For the salad

  • 12 new potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g/1¾ oz long beans or green beans (optional)
  • 50 g/1¾ oz (2⁄3 cup) shredded white or red cabbage
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 60 g/2¼ oz (1¼ cups) baby spinach
  • 20 g/¾ oz (scant ½ cup) bean sprouts
  • 1 cob sweetcorn, kernels only

For the tempeh and tofu

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g/3½ oz tempeh, cut into 1-cm/½-inch cubes
  • 150 g/5½ oz tofu, cut into
  • 1-cm/½-inch cubes
  • 200 ml/ 7 fl oz (generous ¾ cup) sunflower oil, for deep-frying

To serve

  • 2 tablespoons Crispy Shallots 
  • 4–8 Rice Crackers, cassava crackers or prawn crackers (optional)

Gado Gado Method

  1. To prepare the sauce, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  2. Gradually add 150 ml/5 fl oz (2⁄3 cup) of water and mix until smooth.
  3. It should be creamy, tangy, spicy and sweet. Season with salt and set aside.
  4. For the salad, boil the new potatoes in salted water for 15–18 minutes until softened. Drain, then set aside to cool. Halve the potatoes.
  5. Meanwhile, put the eggs into a small saucepan of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. When cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and cut them in half.
  6. Bring another saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with iced water. Add the long beans to the saucepan, if using, and cook for 3–4 minutes, then immediately transfer to the bowl of iced water and cool for 2–3 minutes (to preserve the vivid green colour).
  7. Drain, then cut the beans into 1-cm/½-inch lengths. Add the cabbage to the water and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain.
  8. Combine the cooked vegetables in a large bowl and toss. Add the carrot, baby spinach and bean sprouts and toss again.
  9. For the tempeh and tofu, combine the garlic, coriander, salt and 100 ml/3½ fl oz (scant ½ cup) of water in a large bowl and mix well.
  10. Divide the marinade equally between two bowls, then add tempeh to one and tofu to the other.
  11. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. The oil is ready when a cube of bread dropped in sizzles on contact and turns golden in 10–15 seconds. (Alternatively, use a thermometer and heat to 180ºC/350ºF.) Carefully lower the tempeh into the oil and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tempeh to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the tofu for 3–4 minutes.
  12. Spread the sauce onto four plates, then add the mixed vegetables. Add the tempeh, tofu and eggs. Sprinkle with crispy shallots and serve with the extra sauce and rice crackers on the side.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024


  • Bali-Style Gado-Gado (Tipat Cantok)
  • Add 10 g/½ oz finely chopped kencur or 15 g/½ oz fresh root ginger
  • to the sauce.
  • Gado-Gado Crudité (Gado-gado lalapan)
  • Gado-gado can also be served as a crudité. Omit the tofu. Replace
  • all the vegetables, except the potatoes, with 12 baby carrots,
  • 2 endives (separate the leaves), 1 pack of cherry tomatoes, 1 small
  • cucumber (cut into sticks) and fried tempeh (cut into chips and
  • fried). Arrange the vegetables and tempeh on a large serving
  • platter and serve with the dipping sauce in a bowl.


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