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Gado-Gado - Uniquely Indonesian

Updated on August 20, 2014

Indonesian salads

Mention Indonesia and Bali comes to mind. But it's not only for this world famous resort that Indonesia is known for. Cultural diversity, arts and ancient traditions is another and with these comes exotic food which are unique and truly Indonesian in flavor.

Within Indonesia's vast pantry of exotic cuisine is it's very own brand of salad, prepared entirely from local fruits and vegetables. This salad is called gado-gado.

What is gado-gado exactly ?. Gado-gado (Indonesian ethnic group Betawi dialect) means mixed. Gado-gado is a mixed vegetable salad seved with peanut sauce.Vegetables used in the preparation of gado-gado includes but not limited to are kangkung (Ipomoea aquatica*), bayam (amaranth**), cabbage, eggplant, corn, young jack fruit, cucumber,etc.

Variants of gado-gado are pecel (also known as pecal), karedok, lotek and ketoprak. Their similarities are:

- using vegetables (raw or bolied) as the main ingredient

- using peanut sauce as dressing

- served in pincuk (banana leaf shaped into a cone) with peanut sauce on top.

- served with your choice of prawn or tapioca crackers, emping melindo, rempeyek. ***

The difference is in the type of spices mixed into the peanut sauce, combination of vegetables and method of preparation.

Gado-gado is not a stand alone salad, rather it is served with lontong/ketupat**** or rice as a meal set.

A plate of gado-gado
A plate of gado-gado | Source


This is a native Jakarta dish that uses blanched vegetables (kangkung, cabbage, bean sprouts), cucumber, hard boiled eggs, fried potato, fried tofu/tempeh as ingredients. These are all mixed together with peanut sauce added.

Gado-gado maybe be eaten as a stand-alone dish but may also be served with rice or lontong/ketupat with fried shallots and emping.The gado-gado may have gotten it's name from the fullness of it's ingredients (vegetables, eggs and tofu) and is filling when eaten with white rice or lontong. As a stand-alone it is most ideal for brunch or snacks.

The main difference with karedok is that vegetables used in gado-gado are blanched.


This variant of gado-gado is a authentic West Java dish that closely resembles American salad, with raw vegetables as the main ingredient. The vegetables include but are not limited to string beans, shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, lettuce, watercress, basil leaves (for aroma) and green eggplant.The sauce or dressing is a blend of red chili pepper, garlic, kencur (Lesser Galangale)1*, roasted peanuts, Javanese palm sugar and shrimp paste.

Karedok is traditionally served on a banana leaf-lined plate. When eating the sauce is poured on top and mixed into the dish. It is served with warm boiled rice sprinkled with fried shallots and prawn crackers.

The raw vegetables, roasted peanut sauce and aromatic basil leaf all combine to give the karedok a distinct, unique taste most fitting for lunch during on warm days.

Karedok | Source


Like gado-gado, vegetables in lotek are blanched. The difference lies in the sauce where shrimp paste is used either as an alternative or addition; and boiled potato is also added to the sauce to make it thicker and tastier. But unlike the gado-gado; no eggs, fried potato or tofu/tempeh are added to the vegetables.

Lotek is usually served with lontong/ketupat.

Lotek | Source


Ketoprak is a authentic Indonesian food easily found in all town and cities in the nation. It is usually sold by mobile street vendors.

A unique feature in ketoprak is that it doesn't contain leafy greens. It's ingredients include bean sprouts, fried tofu, bee hun (rice) noodles and hard boiled eggs, complemented by peanut sauce, soy sauce and fried red onions. Sometimes tempeh is added to the whole. Ketoprak is served with kerupuk or emping.

Ketoprak | Source


Pecel is a mid and east Java dish made from blanched bayam (amaranth), bean sprouts, string beans, basil leaves, turi leaves and krai, a type of cucumber. Other vegetables may be added according to preference.

Serving is similar to European salad where mayonnaise is poured onto fresh vegetables, but in pecel sambal sauce is used instead of mayonnaise. The sambal sauce also distinguish pecel from the other variants of gado-gado.The sambal, more specifically known as sambal pecel, is a chilli based sauce made from cabe rawit2* (bird's eye chili), ground nuts, jeruk purut (kaffir lime), onions, tamarind, pepper and salt.

Pecel is usually served with rempeyek kacang (peanut chips), rempeyek udang (shrimp chips), or lempeng beras ( a type of rice cake).

Pecel is usually served on a banana leaf cone with white rice and other chicken dish or specially cooked innards.

The stinging hot taste of the sambal sauce is a unique characteristic of pecel

Nasi pecel (Pecel with rice)
Nasi pecel (Pecel with rice) | Source

Making gado-gado or pecal vidoe


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    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 6 years ago from USA

      YOu're welcome.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Very interesting recipes. Thanks for expanding my world of food.

    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 7 years ago from USA

      wow...She can share her recipes here...

    • syamra33 profile image

      syamra33 7 years ago from Cimahi

      hmm.. yummy, the truth is, my mother selling karedok and lotek at home.. and i miss it :)

    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks. YOu have to try karedok..absolutely delicious

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It was very interesting to learn about Indonesian salads and ingredients, many of which were new to me. The salads sound delicious, especially when eaten with their sauces. Thank you for the information.