Indonesian Gado Gado Salad

There are countries that just know how to do salad right. 

Prime example? Way back, when our sorry asses in the UK we were still thinking that iceberg lettuce and a slice of unripe tomato constituted a salad, other, more palate-aware countries like Indonesia were dishing up tasty salads like gado gado. 

Gado Gado Salad

Which would you rather? A heady concoction of fresh vegetables, bursting with flavour, dressed in an unctuous coconut and peanut sauce… or some limp lettuce and wet tomato? 

I won’t even make you answer that. There’s no competition.

Gado gado literally means mixed mixed – and that’s really what this salad is, a mix of vegetables, a mix of flavours and a mix of textures that come together in one big party in your mouth. 

I learnt how to make this gado gado in Bali but the ingredients are relatively easy to find elsewhere – just plan ahead to buy more unusual ones like the tempeh, galangal and candlenuts (though you can easily substitute other nuts instead). 

Practical Tips for Making Gado Gado

Alternatives for Tempeh

Most of the ingredients in this recipe are easy to find, if you know where to look. These days I can pick most of them up in the supermarket or a local Asian store, but tempeh can still be a bit elusive. If you can’t find tempeh (or you don’t like it), you can easily substitute it with more tofu – it will have slightly less bite but it’s just as tasty. 

How to Make Vegan Gado Gado 

Vegetables  for the gado gado

The recipe I’ve included below isn’t vegan because it includes an egg, as is traditional but the good news is it’s super-easy not to make it vegan, just don’t include the egg. 

What to Serve it With?

This gado gado is easily enough to serve two people as a main course. Want to add some carbs? Have it with brown rice. 

Want to make it as part of a larger Balinese dinner feast? I’d recommend cooking it with a Balinese Curry, some Sweet and Sour Tempeh and some sambal on the side. 

How to Make Gado Gado Peanut Sauce 

Making the peanut sauce for gado gado is relatively easy. Heat the coconut milk in a pan and add the peanut paste, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thick.

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