Gado-gado (Indonesian Salad With Peanut Dressing)

Gado-gado, Flickr CC 2.0
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2

A popular Indonesian salad, gado-gado is unique because it is made with a combination of cooked (blanched, steamed or fried) and raw ingredients served with peanut dressing which is essentially the peanut sauce served with satay.

There is no singular recipe for gado-gado although, among the cooked ingredients, fried tofu, boiled potatoes, blanched mung bean sprouts and wedges of a hard-boiled egg are popular choices. The raw ingredients often include cucumber. The cooked and raw vegetables are tossed and the peanut dressing is drizzled over them or, alternatively, served on the side. 

The key to making good gado-gado is to master contrasting textures. The cooked ingredients must retain their shape after tossing; the raw ingredients must be crisp. 

What You'll Need

  • 7 ounces (200 grams) waxy potatoes
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) firm tofu
  • 2 cups cooking oil
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 cup (or more) mung bean sprouts
  • a medium bunch of Chinese cabbage
  • 1 hard-boiled egg

How to Make It

  1. Scrub the potatoes under running water. Place in a pot and pour in enough water to cover. Boil until tender but not mushy. To test, pierce with a skewer or a thin pointed knife at the thickest part. If the skewer or knife goes through without resistance, the potatoes are done. Drain and cool.
  2. While the potatoes cook, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cut the tofu into slices about an inch thick.
  4. Heat the cooking oil until fine wisps of smoke float on the surface. Over high heat, fry the tofu until golden on all sides. Flip for even cooking. Drain on a stack of paper towels. 
  1. Boil water in a shallow pan.
  2. Fill a bowl with ice cubes and cold water.
  3. Cut the Chinese cabbage leaves horizontally into two (into three if they are rather large). Place the cut cabbage in a kitchen spider and lower into the boiling water for half a minute. Lift and dump into the iced water. Leave for a minute. Scoop out and drain on a stack of paper towels.
  4. Place the mung bean sprouts in the kitchen spicer and blanch for 10 seconds. Transfer to the ice bath, leave for half a minute, scoop out and drain on paper towels.
  5. Cut the cucumber into strips about an inch thick.
  6. Cut the egg into wedges.
  7. Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces.
  8. Peel off the potatoes' skins and cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces.
  9. Lightly toss all the ingredients together and divide between two plates. Serve with peanut dressing. 
  10. Tip: Satay peanut sauce is spicy. While it goes well with grilled meat, it might be too strong and overpowering for the vegetables. Reduce to amount of chilies for a milder dressing.