The Emerald of the Equator, part III: gado gado

This week we’re going to have to cheat. I said I would always publish some Indonesian recipes as my mum used to make them, but this week, for gado gado, that’s just not practical. Let me tell you why.

My mum’s gado gado, as I remember it, is a bunch of stir-fried vegetables, served with white rice and the ubiquitous peanut sauce. I have to admit I didn’t actually like the gado gado itself very much when I was little, but it was still on of my favourite dinners, because 1) it came with boiled eggs, my favourite thing in the wide world, 2) I always slathered it with peanut sauce, which instantly became the flavour of the whole thing, and 3) I really enjoyed saying the name. Gado gado. Try it. It feels good.

Anyway, I asked my mum for the recipe, and it turned out that of all the vegetables she recommended, I had none in the house. What we did have in the house, was about 5 kilos of courgettes and carrots that we had been given by some friends in the country side and that needed finishing. You can see where this is going.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to google gado gado, just to see if my choice of vegetables was incredibly unorthodox or still in the realm of the acceptable. This led me to accidentally discover that gado gado  is actually considered a salad, more or less, and that it isn’t usually wokked or fried or anything. Seeing that I was already ignoring all the ingredients that my mum had mentioned, I figured I’d go all out and just settle for something completely different. We’d been fed barbecue all weekend long, anyway – something a little lighter wouldn’t hurt.


I honestly have no idea if an Indonesian person would even vaguely recognise gado gado in this, but it was kinda nice so I’m gonna settle for it, anyway. For 3 or 4 people:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 5 medium carrots
  • at least one egg per person – but better go for 1.5 egg per person
  • 4 or 5 medium potatoes
  • 300 gr greens beans
  • one cucumber
  • enough white rice
  • some kecap manis
  • some lemon juice

Then, for the peanut sauce:

  • one small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 big tsp of sambal (technically terasi, but I used ulek)
  • 3 big tbsp of peanut butter
  • a large dash of kecap manis
  • 2 tsp (brown) sugar
  • juice of .5 – 1 lemon
  • some water for diluting purposes

Prepare your rice as you normally would.

Wash your vegetables, peel your carrots and potatoes, prepare everything to be boiled, in short. (Exclude the cucumber from the boiling, of course.) Chop your carrots into thin slices, halve your courgettes and slice them up, slice up your potatoes, and halve the green beans too, if you feel so inclined. Then boil everything – you can use the same water for everything and save yourself a bunch of hassle, water, and washing up. Start with the  carrots (1 minute) and remove them, then do the courgettes (1 minute) and again remove them, now do the beans the beans (7 – 8 minutes), possibly together with the potatoes ( seeing as they’ll also take 7-8 minutes), and finally the eggs (8 minutes). Peel your cucumber and slice it into slices or wedges (I like mine in wedges because the shape maintains the crisp better).

In the picture the gado gado looks all clean and separated, but in reality I tossed everything in a bowl together. So do that, then top it with some more kecap and some lemon juice, and mix. Leave to soak up each others’ flavours whilst you make your peanut sauce.

To make the peanut sauce, fry the chopped onion and sambal gently in a wee saucepan. Add the peanut butter, kecap, lemon juice, and sugar, and stir. Then add as much water (I used the boiling water from the veggies because it has flavour, unlike tap water which only dilutes) as you need to in order to get a nice, liquid (but not thin) sauce.

Finally, peel your eggs, quarter them and top the salad with them. Serve with white rice and slather the whole thing with peanut sauce.

IMG_3493 IMG_3488

This entry was posted in asian, cooking, Food, indonesian, recipes, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Emerald of the Equator, part III: gado gado

  1. Pingback: Return from the Emerald – at least we’ve still got the gado gado | La dittatrice della cucina

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