You probably don’t need another salad recipe. That’s why I’m sharing a salad idea. Gado Gado, which translates to “mix mix,” is made up of surprisingly ordinary ingredients – raw or cooked vegetables, greens, eggs, tofu or tempeh, and peanut sauce are typical.
But with variations throughout Indonesia, there is no one way to prepare the dish or a set list of ingredients to adhere to. In fact, Gado Gado is one of the most popular dishes in Indonesia, and I’m betting that’s because of the versatility. Or maybe because it’s just a great way to toss together leftovers.
Gado Gado: An Indonesian Salad
- Cooked rice
- Your choice of vegetables, either raw or cooked or a mix of both – such as broccoli, beans, cabbage, snow peas, carrots, or sprouts
- Protein – tofu, tempeh, eggs, shredded chicken or pork
- Peanut sauce
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- Salt, if needed
However, a good peanut sauce is at the heart of Gado Gado. It’s probably the one thing you need to pay attention to here. I referenced Mollie Katzen’s recipe in The New Moosewood Cookbook, though based on other peanut sauces I’ve made, the ingredients here are pretty standard.
Just combine peanut butter with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, water, and red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor until smooth.
I love peanut sauces because they encompass so many of our basic tastes – sweet, sour, salty, umami, and maybe even a little bitter. It could be why I could put the sauce on almost anything.
Play with the ratios of these ingredients to make the sauce flavored to your liking. It’s easy to up the red pepper, for instance, and transform it into a really spicy peanut sauce if that’s what your feeling. Or increase the sugar for a sweet version. Experiment and customize it to the food you’re putting it on.
I’ve also seen peanut sauces amplified with coconut milk, fish sauce, and/or lime juice. You could try adding these in too, but I think the ingredients listed here make a good start.
Finally, drizzle on the peanut sauce. Don’t skimp. Toss, or perhaps I should say mix, it all together. If you want, throw on a topping. I chose pea shoots, but chopped peanuts could work, or how about some fresh herbs? And that, folks, is all there is to Gado Gado.