Gado gado is by far one of my favorite Indonesian dishes and one that I make quite often. It is full of healthy fresh vegetables and combined with a home made warm peanut sauce it is simply the best. And this gado gado recipe cannot be easier to make.

gado gado recipe

Gado gado recipe

The very first time I tasted a gado gado recipe was actually in Indonesia. We were on a boat sailing towards the Komodo islands to have a look at the infamous komodo dragons. The boat itself was old and battered but well maintained. And inside the boat was a tiny, tiny kitchen. The food that came out of that kitchen though, was so good! I like to complain sometimes that my kitchen is not big enough (and that’s ridiculous cause it is actually quite big) but the lady cooking on the boat definitely showed that it’s not about the size, but what you do with it!

So naturally when I came home I wanted to recreate this delicious gado-gado. Technically gado gado is super easy as it is mainly cooked vegetables that are cooled down and than served with a spicy peanut sauce and usually some hard-boiled eggs. In terms of the raw vegetables you use bean sprouts and cucumber. Green beans, broccoli and cauliflower are cooked but you can easily add or remove vegetables that you either don’t like or that you like a whole lot. It’s a pretty versatile recipe.

Gado gado recipe

Traditional gado gado recipe

Now a traditional gado-gado recipe is all about the gado gado sauce. So the first time I made the sauce I asked my Indonesian friend to supervise the making of the dish. But more importantly the gado gado peanut sauce.  Obviously you can also use store bought peanut sauce but if you want to go for the better option than this killer peanut sauce is a must make.

Gado gado sauce

Now for this peanut sauce recipe you need a small food processor or a pestle and mortar. I like to use the first one as the result is easier and smoother. You need quite a few ingredients too. Garlic, shallots, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), lime juice, shrimp paste, chili flakes, lemon grass, cumin, peanut butter, palm sugar (gula djawa) and sambal.

gado gado recipe

It might seem a bit overwhelming but at the end of the day it is not too complicated to make. If you want to go all out with making it home made you can even make your own peanut butter, but I went with a jar here. Making your own cannot be simpler though. It’s basically adding peanuts (unsalted and roasted) to a food processor and blending it until the oil starts to release from the nuts and you end up with a smooth mix. It’s as simple as that.

​Releasing the aromats

Now the key to a really good gado-gado sauce is the point where the oil starts to separate a bit. That’s when you know it is ready. It’s important to give all the aromats enough time to release their flavor. So use your nose too when creating the sauce. You can add a splash of coconut milk if you like it to be a bit thinner but that is optional. I like the peanut sauce not only on the gado gado but also for dipping with prawn crackers or rice cakes. So good. But then I would like to use peanut sauce on just about everything.

gado gado recipe

Which vegetables to use

For this gado gado recipe I went with broccoli, cauliflower, bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber, tomatoes (which is totally not traditional but I like it) and coriander for serving. Now changing which vegetables to use is easy. If you can get your hand on water spinach that would be great to add. But you can also add roasted bell peppers or courgette if you want. Red cabbage would also be a good crunchy addition. Cooked sweet potato works well too. The dish is naturally vegetarian (not counting the shrimp paste in the peanut sauce!) but you can definitely add chicken to it. To keep it vegetarian you can add fried tofu or fried tempeh to the dish as well. Obviously if you want it to be truly vegetarian you change the sauce as well.

The vegetables that need cooking are briefly cooked and rinsed with cold water to cool them down to room temperature. I like to use one pan and just boil the vegetables one by one in salted water and take them out with a slotted spoon as soon as they are al dente.

Additions and variations

Instead of the shrimp paste you can also use fish sauce. Or – again if you want it to be vegetarian – you leave both of those out. The palm sugar can be replaced with brown sugar or maple syrup. Instead of the lime juice it is also delicious to add a bit of tamarind paste as that also gives it a bit of acidity. 

This Indonesian gado-gado salad is perfect as a healthy weeknight dinner. It’s versatile, quick (more so if you use ready made satay sauce) and super delicious. It’s my favorite food from Indonesia for sure.

Check my paleo version of the gado gado as well.

Can I make the gado gado in advance?

You sure can cook all the vegetables in advance. Or chop them in advance too. Save it in a airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Gado gado recipe

Gado gado recipe with peanut sauce

5 from 1 vote

Decorative clock showing preparation time
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes

4 people



  • 1 head Broccoli
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 250 g Green beans
  • 250 g Carrot
  • 100 g bean sprouts
  • 100 g bamboo shoots
  • 4 eggs

Peanut sauce

  • 3 asian red shallots or regular red onion will do
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1/2 lemon grass stalk cut into small rings
  • 2 large red chili peppers including the seeds.
  • sunflower oil for baking
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 400 ml water roughly
  • 5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp palm sugar gula djawa
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis
  • 2 tbsp dried chili flakes
  • 2 tsp sambal badjak
  • bit of lime juice


  • Cook all vegetables separately and don't overcook them. They should have some bite. Grate the carrot and pour boiling water over it. Leave to drain. Blanche the bean sprouts very shortly and cook the green beans just a bit longer. Leave to cool.
  • Dice the onion and the garlic and put into a small food processor or pestle and mortar together with the lemon grass, shrimp paste and the red chili. Grind until you have a rough paste. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan. Fry until it start to smell but make sure it does not burn.
  • Add the cumin and the coriander and bake shortly.
  • Add the water to it and puree with a stick blender to a smooth puree. Add the peanut butter, palm sugar, kecap, dried chili flakes, sambal and the lime juice and stir until it has the right consistency. If it is too thin add a bit more peanut sauce.
  • Your sauce is ready if the oil starts to separate.
  • Serve the gado gado by arranging all the vegetables on a large plate. Put the sauce in the middle and put the boiled eggs on top


Gula djawa or palm sugar has a unique taste so replacing it with regular sugar is possible but will give another flavor. It is available in blocks or grated at the asian stores. Grated is a lot easier as the blocks are rock hard.
We used sambal badjak because that is what we had but another sambal is fine too.

Nutrition Information per portion

Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 171mg | Sodium: 451mg | Potassium: 1535mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 13523IU | Vitamin C: 221mg | Calcium: 213mg | Iron: 5mg


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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Simone van den Berg

Food blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Likes to create healthy and easy recipes for daily use, but also loves the occasional sweet dish. Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist