Indonesian vegetable salad


Hi everybody! I’m very excited to introduce you to another non-Korean recipe that I filmed with my reader Mariksa in Jakarta, Indonesia! Gado-gado! Mariska is showing us how to make the west Java style gado-gado because she was born and raised in West Java province. There are many regional variation for gado-gado, just like Korean kimchi. Mariska created her own cooking show channel on YouTube!

The other day, I followed the recipe and  made delicious gado-gado. I’m always happy to learn a new dish that I am not familiar with. Making gado-gado sauce is very easy if you use a food processor like I did. Following her recipe is my version.

The cameraman is Mariska’s cousin Reginald Evan. I hope Mariska keeps posting her authentic recipes on YouTube so that we can learn Indonesian home cooked food. I think all of you are just like me and very interested in homecooked recipes. Grandmothers and mothers make food for their family. You know why? Their cooking is based on true love! When you make food with love, the food should be delicious!


(for 2 servings)

1 thinly sliced medium sized fresh cucumber, 2 fried tempeh (soybean patties), 2 pieces of fried tofu, and a hard boiled egg cut into 4 pieces.
 tempeh and fried tofu

For blanched vegetables:
1 cup of string beans cut into 4 cm long pieces, 1 cup of shredded cabbage, 1 cup of mung bean sprouts, 2 small chayotes cut into wedges (2 cups’ worth), 1 cup of water spinach (“ong choy”), 1 cup of Chinese spinach

Chinese spinach

water spinach (ong choy)

For the sauce:
ground roasted peanuts, bird’s eye chilis, dried shrimp paste (terasi), palm sugar, salt, tamarind, and water

For garnish:
fried shallots, shrimp crackers, emping (gnetum gnemon chips called “Melinjo” in Indonesian)

1 medium sized steamed potato cut into bite size pieces


  1. Blanch and strain Chinese spinach, water spinach, string beans, mung bean sprouts, cabbage and slice 1 cucumber.

Make sauce using a mortar and pestle
cooking time: 20-30 minutes

  1. Grind these ingredients with a mortar and pestle until they’re smooth: 1 ts salt, 2 ts dried shrimp paste, 3 red bird’s eye chilis, and ¼ cup’s worth of palm sugar.

  2. Add 1 cup of finely ground roasted peanuts (or 1 cup of peanut butter) and grind it all some more until it’s mixed well. If you use peanut butter instead of ground roasted peanuts, add less salt because there’s salt in the peanut butter.
  3. Mix 1 tbs (about 20 grams) of tamarind with ¼ cup of hot water in a small bowl. Add the juice to the sauce.
  4. Add ½ cup of water and mix it well.
  5. Transfer the vegetables to a serving plate and pour the sauce on top of it or mix all the vegetables with the sauce in the mortar before serving.
  6. Add a sliced hard-boiled egg on top and garnish with fried shallots, shrimp crackers and emping.
  7. Serve with steamed rice.

Or make sauce using a food processor
cooking time: 15-20 minutes

  1. Grind 1 cup of roasted peanuts, 1 ts salt, 2 ts dried shrimp paste, 3 red bird’s eye chilis, and ¼ cup’s worth of palm sugar in a food processor until smooth.
  2. In a bowl, mix the blanched vegetables with the sauce. Transfer to a serving plate.
  3. Garnish with fried shallots, shrimp crackers, and emping.
  4. Serve with steamed rice.

Maangchi’s gado-gado

I used my food processor to make the sauce which was very easy and turned out great. For those of you who are not familiar with some of the ingredients used in the sauce, I’m posting some photos of the key ingredients below. You can find dried shrimp powder, tamarind, palm sugar, and fried shallots in Chinatown.

Enjoy the recipe!

I bought palm sugar, fried tofu, dried shrimp powder, fried shallots, tamarind paste, and prawn crackers

Fried shallots

tamarind paste

1 chunk of palm sugar (about 1/4 cup). To use this, put it in a small pot, add 1/4 cup water, and heat it up. Break it into small pieces with a wooden spoon until it’s well melted.
*tip: I learned this method from Tanya who taught us Thai papaya salad (som tam)

Frying krupuk (prawn crackers) in heated vegetable oil. This is very fun to make. You will be surprised how rapidly it grows.

I used skinned roasted peanuts

Gado-gado sauce



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