Gado Gado… meet this Javanese Salad feast. Taste the rainbow on a plate, a medley of different colors, flavors and textures. Yes simple salad that turns into a super tasty complete meal with a good dose of protein, carbs and loads of nutrients on your plate.
This mega giant salad is how it’s eaten at any time of the day in Indonesia, treated not as just a side dish, but a whole meal. Well, your bowl of salad never looked that inviting right? Thanks to that perfect sweet, savory and spicy peanut sauce that get drizzled generously all over the crunchy veggies and perfectly cooked chicken.
Make Gado Gado, one of the most popular foods from Indonesia. It’s simple, yet very impressive. It’s versatile and customizable, and is naturally so so healthy and tasty… much better than your green smoothie.
Who would like to eat something healthy and nutritious, but with delicious flavors rather than plain old salad and a blanched piece of protein? Eating a big bowl of veggies guilt free is what dreams are made up of.
Well, this salad has loads and loads of veggies and they taste so great with that super delicious peanut sauce all over. You can use any veggies that are available in your fridge. Don’t want potatoes? Try cabbage or zucchini. Don’t have red cabbage? Try Napa cabbage or carrots. Use snap peas instead of sprouts.
You can fill up that Gado Gado platter with anything and everything. Having giant platter full of veggies is the whole idea behind this Indonesian favorite salad.
What is Gado Gado ?
Gado gado’s literal translation is “mix-mix” in Indonesian language. It’s a mix mix of all the ingredients on a platter. As mentioned earlier, it’s treated as a whole meal, rather than just a salad. It has all the different components of carbs, protein and veggies to make a complete meal.
For most Indonesians, gado gado is their beloved national salad. Apparently, since 2018, gado gado has been designated as one of Indonesia’s five national food, the other four being sate, rendang, nasi goreng and soto.
What are Typical Ingredients in Gado Gado?
- Most versions of Gado Gado have some form of protein. Fried tofu, fried tempeh or some form of seafood or chicken is usually seen in bowls or platters. Boiled eggs are also very common protein.
- Carbs, usually in the form of boiled or roasted potatoes.
- An assortment of blanched or raw vegetables.
- Spicy and savory peanut sauce.
- It’s sometimes served with prawn crackers, steamed rice cakes or fried shallots.
How to Prepare Gado Gado Peanut Dressing/Sauce?
Peanut sauce accompanies many foods in Indonesia. It’s one of their favorite dressings, and there are hundreds of versions from one place to another.
A typical gado gado peanut sauce is made from fried or roasted peanuts, garlic, palm sugar, bird-eye chilies, shrimp paste, salt, tamarind, lime, sweet soy sauce and water.
If you order gado gado from an Indonesian restaurant that specializes in selling it, your sauce is typically made from scratch once the order is placed. Sometimes, the seller even grinds the sauce right in front of you. And as they makes the sauce, you can request to tweak it bit, like, adding more garlic or reducing the chilies.
Using peanut butter instead of grinding the peanuts to a smooth consistency is a great hack to make super tasty peanut sauce.
This is What We Used in Our Gado Gado
- Protein – chicken thighs, eggs
- Veggies – cucumber, red cabbage, spinach, beans sprouts, green beans
- Carbs – baby potatoes
- For peanut sauce – peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, red chili flakes, sugar
- For chicken skewers – turmeric, salt, pepper, fish sauce, oil
- For garnish – red chili, cilantro and peanuts
How to make Gado Gado
Gado Gado is made up of simple, yet individual components. Most of the prep work is cutting the veggies. Once your veggies are prepped, it’s matter of cooking eggs, chicken and whipping up a quick peanut sauce.
1. Start by prepping potatoes, as they take maximum time for roasting. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sliced potatoes onto a parchment paper lined baking tray, then drizzle with the oil and season with salt. Roast for 45 minutes, until soft and deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.
2. For chicken skewers, mix chicken pieces with turmeric, salt, pepper and fish sauce in mixing bowl and mix well until meat is evenly coated. Thread chicken pieces onto soaked bamboo skewers. Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stove top over a medium-high heat. Drizzle oil and fry chicken skewers for about 6-8 minutes, until you see some nice color and caramelization. Flip the skewers and cook on the other side for a further 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked all the way through.
3. For the peanut sauce, place all of the ingredients of peanut sauce in a small food processor and blitz until very smooth.
4. For the rest of the of veggies, you can use sprout beans straight from the package or blanch them for 2 minutes in boiling water. Take them out with the help of strainer. In the same pot of boiling water, blanch green beans for 3-4 minutes or till the doneness you like.
5. For eggs, in the same pot, boil eggs. We like to boil eggs for 7-8 minutes for soft boiled eggs. Peel the eggs and cut into halves.
6. Assemble Gado Gado: On a big platter, arrange spinach, bean sprouts, red cabbage, cucumber, potatoes, eggs and chicken skewers. Drizzle peanut sauce all over before serving.
Can You Make This Indonesian Salad Ahead of Time?
Yes, absolutely… This a great meal prep idea if you have all your veggies prepped ahead of time. Make a giant batch of chicken and eggs and a good batch of peanut sauce. Then all you need is to make up your gado gado bowl whenever you want, for a week’s supply of healthy lunches.
So here it is… Gado Gado. Make this salad for your every day lunch, or make it as a center piece next time you’re entertaining. We assure you, people will love this new display of beautifully arranged colorful salad.
It would be a great conversation piece, as you would simply even enjoy saying “Gado Gado” a few times. It rhymes well, and people will be all ears to hear about this new salad all the way from the exotic land of Bali, Indonesia… Make Gado Gado and have loads of fun times…
Gado Gado, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
For Chicken Skewers
- 1 lb chicken thighs
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp oil
For Peanut Sauce
- 5 Tbsp peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp coconut milk
- 4 Tbsp lime juice
- 1.5 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 garlic, minced
- 1.5 tsp red chili flakes
- 1.5 Tbsp brown or regular sugar
For Gado Gado Salad
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 4-5 boiled eggs, halved
- 7 oz green beans blanched
- 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
- 7 oz baby spinach
- 5-6 baby potatoes roasted
- red chili for garnish
- cilantro for garnish
- peanuts for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the sliced potatoes onto a parchment paper lined baking tray, then drizzle with the oil and season with salt. Roast for 45 minutes until soft and deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- For chicken skewers, mix all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix well until meat is evenly coated. Thread chicken pieces onto soaked bamboo skewers.
- Heat cast-iron skillet on the stove top over a medium-high heat. Drizzle oil and fry chicken skewers for about 6-8 minutes, until you see some nice color and caramelization. Flip the skewers and cook on the other side for a further 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked all the way through.
- For the peanut sauce, place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor and blitz until very smooth.
- You can use sprout beans straight from the package or blanch them for 2 minutes in boiling water. Take them out with the help of strainer. In the same pot of boiling water blanch green beans for 3-4 minutes, your preferred doneness. Remove. In the same pot, boil eggs. We like to boil eggs for7-8 minutes for soft boiled eggs. Peel the eggs and cut into halves.
- Assemble Gado Gado: On a big platter, arrange spinach, bean sprouts, red cabbage, cucumber, potatoes, eggs and chicken skewers. Drizzle peanut sauce all over before serving.
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