Indonesian salad

Indonesian salad


Cooking from memory
Mark Roper

There are several varieties of gado gado, an increasingly popular Indonesian salad with peanut sauce. Then there are local varieties of gado gado, such as its Javanese form (Batavia–old Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya styles) and the Sumatran style. Even various suburbs can have their own choice of ingredients and methods of cooking. Lotek is a fresh-tasting hawker-style variety with an uncooked peanut sauce. The traditional ingredients kencur and prawn paste can be safely left out.



Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon tamarind juice
or 1 lime or lemon, juiced
1 small cube palm sugar, dissolved
1 tablespoon mild chilli paste
200ml hot water
1 cup peanuts, fried and ground
or 3 heaped tablespoo peanut butter


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
250g tempeh, cubed
300g tofu, cubed
1/2 iceberg lettuce
1 head broccoli, steamed
1/4 cabbage, steamed
1 cup bean shoots
2 potatoes, steamed
1 lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 cup fried chopped spring onions or fried crackers
spring onions, fried and chopped, to garnish
hot chilli sauce, to taste (optional)


  1. To make the dressing, grind the tamarind juice, palm sugar and chilli paste with a mortar and pestle until it forms a paste. Add hot water to dilute it, then add the peanuts and mix to a smooth, thick emulsion, the consistency of cream. Add water as needed.
  2. To make the salad, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the tempeh and tofu cubes until they are golden brown, then drain them on absorbent paper. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Cut the broccoli into florets and slice the cabbage. Blanch the bean shoots for a few seconds in boiling water. Cool the cooked vegetables under tap water to avoid wilting, then dry them with paper towels. Cut the potatoes into fine slices.
  3. Arrange the cucumber slices with the other vegetables on a plate. Add the tofu, tempeh, egg and potato. Pour the dressing over the salad and sprinkle the spring onions over the top. Add hot chilli to taste.
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