Gado-Gado literally means ‘mix-mix’ in Indonesian. It’s a typical Indonesian salad made up of par-boiled vegetables, tofu, tempeh and hard-boiled eggs, all mixed together with a peanut sauce dressing, and topped with krupuk (crackers) and a sprinkle of fried shallots.
The ingredients used in this veggie salad always varies, but traditionally contains a mixture of some of the following:
- Blanched, shredded, chopped, or sliced green vegetables such as cabbage, kangkung (morning glory), spinach, bean sprouts, string beans or green beans
- Raw sliced cucumber
- Sliced deep-fried tofu and tempeh
- Peeled and sliced boiled eggs
I generally use this as a guideline, but the best thing about this salad is that you can improvise with whatever vegetables you have available. It’s the perfect way of using up random fridge leftovers and it’s ridiculously easy to make:
1. Blanch your vegetables in boiling salted water until just tender – but make sure they are still crunchy! Rinse briefly in cold water, then drain. The veg can also be left raw if you prefer.
2. Boil as many eggs as you need (1 per person), and prepare the sauce.
Satay (Peanut Sauce Dressing)
- 200g ground roasted peanuts
- 50g coconut sugar/palm sugar
- 1 -5 thai chillies depending on how spicy you like things
- 1 teaspoon terasi (dried prawn paste) – leave this out if you’re a vegetarian
- 1 tablesoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
- 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce knows as ‘Kecap Manis’.
- 2 cups of hot water
The traditional way of making this sauce is by using a mortar and pestle. Ground the dry ingredients first, and then slowly add the tamarind pulp, water, lime juice and soy sauce to achieve the desired consistency.
Otherwise place the roasted peanuts, palm sugar, chilies, salt, and toasted shrimp paste in a food processor. Grind until everything is well mixed. Empty out into a mixing bowl. Then add the tamarind, water, lime juice, and sweet soy sauce and mix well. Pour only enough of the hot water to get to the consistency of peanut sauce that you like. I like mine quite thick – but that’s because I’m greedy.
I recently discovered some black rock salt known as ‘Kala Namak’. It’s a salty, pungent-smelling condiment used in South Asian cooking. It basically tastes and smells of boiled eggs. Doesn’t sound very appetising but it’s been a true revelation – perfect for vegans. It’s traditionally added to chaats, chutneys, salads, all kinds of fruits, raitas and many other savory Indian snacks such as Chaat masala. So if you’re avoiding eggs, or simply want to experiment with something new, definitely give this salt a try.
Mix up all the vegetables and throw them together on a plate and top with the peanut sauce an extra drizzle of sweet soy sauce. This salad can be served with rice or boiled potatoes if you’re after a heartier meal.