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
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.
If you enjoyed reading this recipe, feel free to share it and pin it. You may also want to check my other recipes that you’ll love.
- The best Indonesian sweet soy chicken.
- Perkedel jagung – Indonesian sweetcorn fritters.
- Indonesian vegetable curry in coconut milk with hard-boiled rice – lontong sayur.
- Perkedel kacang Hijau – Indonesian mung bean fritters.