Gado-gado Jakarta recipe

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Gado-gado was one of the street food that I used to enjoy a lot. Maybe because I love vegetables and I love peanuts. So the way gado-gado mix the peanut sauce over a bunch of vegetables is too tempting for me. I can’t recall if I ever said no to gado-gado whenever I was offered with this Indonesian salad.

What is gado-gado?

The word gado-gado means a mix of so many things. And I was also told that this name derives from the word “gado” which means to snack. So gado-gado can also mean something to snack. Although in reality, it’s a dish that you can have as a proper meal for lunch or dinner, and just as a snack.

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Anyway, gado-gado is like a salad with peanut sauce, and it’s originally from Jakarta. Traditionally, it is made with boiled Kangkung (water spinach), kacang Panjang (yardlong beans), carrots, and eggs, fresh raw lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, and beansprouts. And it’s topped up with spicy peanut sauce and kerupuk (prawn crackers).

If you go to west Java region, you may find a similar thing called lotek. The difference is that lotek doesn’t use fresh raw vegetables, all the vegetables are boiled first. It only uses Kangkung, kacang Panjang, cabbage, potato, chayote, and beansprouts. Its peanut sauce is mashed and mixed with a little bit of boiled potato and it tastes slightly sweeter.

I prefer gado-gado any day.

The way you enjoy Gado-gado

You can enjoy gado-gado on its own as a salad. But originally the Indonesians enjoy gado-gado with carbs like plain rice or hard-boiled rice called ketupat or lontong.

In Indonesia, rice is the main staple in a big way. It’s like people have everything with rice. Not only they have meat dishes, vegetable dishes, or fish dishes with rice, they’ll also have noodles with rice. I used to be like them too 😄. Though I don’t have my noodles with rice anymore now 😊.

Gado-gado can be vegan too

Apart from a little tiny shrimp paste or fish sauce that you mix in the peanut sauce, gado-gado is pretty much vegan-friendly dish. As every ingredient it uses is plant-based stuff.

So if you’re a vegetarian/ vegan, you can still enjoy gado-gado without. You just have to skip the shrimp paste/ fish sauce bit or use the vegan version of this ingredient. 

Gado-gado Jakarta recipe

Before I go on telling you the recipe, let me remind you not to use peanut butter to make your sauce. Because the recipe I’m sharing here is quite original and based on what the real Gado-gado that sold by native Jakartan (Betawi people) and the food gawker in Jakarta. 

Although there are places that sell gado-gado with improvised peanut sauce which is mixed with peanut butter and coconut milk. But in this recipe, I’m sharing what the real Gado-gado is like. It uses proper peanuts and fewer spices just like what I get when I buy this yummy salad mix from the native Jakartan.

As for the vegetables, I changed the variety to make life easy. Because it’s way too difficult for me to get the Indonesian vegetables here in the UK. It is possible. But it’s too way hassle for me to go to the Chinatown just for vegetable 😊. I think as long I nail the peanut sauce flavour, it doesn’t matter what vegetables I put on the plated for this gado-gado, it’ll be delish anyhow.

Gado-gado recipe from Jakarta

Gado-gado Jakarta

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Unlike other gado-gado recipes, this simple and easy to make recipe uses real peanuts. With hard-to-resist flavour, this gado-gado will soon be your go-to salad when you fancy a bit of nutty sauce with it.


  • For the peanut sauce:
  • 400 gr Roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar.
  • 1 tsp Tamarind paste.
  • ½ tsp Salt.
  • 1 Fresh bird’s eye red chilli, or
  • ½ tsp Chili powder (or according to your taste).
  • ½ tsp Dry shrimp paste (or 1 tsp of fish sauce) - optional.
  • ½ cup Water.
  • 2 tsp Lime juice.
  • 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce.
  • The vegetables:
  • 125 gr Baby spinach.
  • 150 gr Bean sprouts.
  • 1 Lettuce gem.
  • ½ Small cabbage.
  • 100 gr Green beans.
  • ½ Cucumber.
  • For garnish:
  • Prawn crackers.
  • Fried onions (optional).


For the sauce:

Using pestle and mortar, grind the peanuts with chilli, tamarind paste, sugar, salt, and shrimp paste (if using) until the nuts resemble breadcrumbs. 

Add in lime juice, and water little by little as you mix it. 

Add more water if the sauce is too thick. But do it little by little as you don’t want the sauce to become runny.

You can use the food processor if you wish. Just put everything together except the water, and give it a blitz. When the peanuts become sticky breadcrumbs, you can put the water in little by little. What you want is a nice thick peanut sauce with a slightly grainy texture.

For the vegetables:

Blanch the spinach with hot boiling water for a minute or two, drain and set aside.

You can blanch the bean sprouts too if you like, I prefer them raw.

Cut the lettuce in thick slices.

Slice the cabbage, and give it a quick blanch. 

Cut the green beans into 1-inch lengths, and parboil them. Set aside.

Slice the cucumber.

Arrange the vegetables on a plate in however way you like, then pour the peanut sauce over the veggies, and sprinkle some fried onions on the top if you use.

Enjoy your gado-gado with prawn crackers.


* You can use raw peanuts just like the Indonesians do, and deep fry them yourself. I’m lazy. So I shortcut with using the shop-bought roasted peanuts.

* You can skip the shrimp paste/ fish sauce to have vegan Gado-gado.

* You can substitute the lime with lemon, it will have the similar tanginess with a subtle different fragrant.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1 Amount Per Serving Calories 859Total Fat 61gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 41gCholesterol 27mgSodium 1693mgCarbohydrates 54gFiber 12gSugar 23gProtein 37g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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