Gado gado recipe


Gado gado

With peanut dressing and kaffir lime, this Indonesian salad is bursting with flavour.

Gado gado translates as a 'jumbled mix' so choose any vegetables you have. Bulk it out with tofu, boiled potatoes, ribbons of fried tempeh and prawn crackers if you want a more substantial meal. Or strip it back to just the blanched vegetables and dressing.

Serves: 2


  • 100g snake beans or green beans, cut into 3cm lengths
  • 2 bok choy, sliced
  • large handful water spinach
  • large handful spinach leaves
  • ¼ Chinese cabbage, cut into 2cm slices
  • 2 handfuls beansprouts
  • 150g silken tofu, cut into small cubes
  • oil, for frying
  • 2 eggs

Peanut dressing

  • 75g (½ cup) raw peanuts, skin-on, or unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 tbs oil (if using raw peanuts)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dark palm sugar shaved (you can substitute with brown sugar or maple syrup)
  • 1 tbs kecap manis
  • 2 tsp crisp-fried shallots
  • juice of a kaffir lime or ½ lime

To serve: prawn crackers or rice crackers


  1. Start by preparing all your ingredients for the salad. Trim and slice the vegetables. Fry the tofu in a little oil for about 15 minutes, until golden. Soft-boil the eggs for 6 minutes and peel under cold water.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. First add the beans. After 1½ minutes add the bok choy, water spinach and spinach. After half a minute more, add the cabbage and beansprouts and immediately turn off the heat. Drain and run cold water through the colander to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  3. If you are using raw peanuts in the dressing, you’ll need to fry them to bring out the toasty flavours. Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat until shimmering, add the nuts and stir-fry for a minute. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the nuts are deep golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  4. Using a large pestle and mortar, food processor or high-speed blender, grind the peanuts (and their skins) with the garlic, salt and palm sugar. Keep going; the oils in the peanuts will eventually come out, turning the rubble into a smooth peanut butter. You can thin it with a little water, but the dressing should be thick and fragrant. Mix in the kecap manis, crisp-fried shallots and juice from the kaffir lime.
  5. Spoon the dressing into serving bowls and spread it up the sides. Arrange the vegetables and tofu on top, along with halved boiled eggs and a few crackers. Drizzle over a little kecap manis and let everyone toss together their own portion at the table.

This is an edited extract from Fire Islands by Eleanor Ford (Murdoch Books). Photography by Kristin Perers.


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