After seeing the mouth-watering photos of this dish made by Carrie from thePatternedPlate, as well as reading other rave reviews about this yet-another Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, I couldn’t wait to try this dish.

Gado-gado is essentially a salad dressed with a satay sauce. As far as satay sauces go, this is perhaps the most complex recipe I have ever come across! There are quite a lot of steps involved, not to mention quite a lot of ingredients. As you can see from my photos below, I used small red onions in place of shallots. I have a tendency to gather a small collection of different coloured onions and shallots and recently decided that, as a compromise, small red onions should do the trick whenever “onions” or “shallots” are called for. The sauce takes about an hour to make, so you will have to factor this time in when making this dish or perhaps even make the sauce the day before.

But is the result worth the effort? In a word, yes. As with any complex recipe, I am always skeptical about whether it will be a bad science experiment with unfortunate food waste, particularly when I was cooking the crushed peanuts in water and the mixture looked like … let’s not go there. But I was relieved when the sauce came together in the end and actually looked like a satay sauce.

And the taste? Pretty delicious. I don’t know if it’s the best satay sauce I’ve ever tasted, but it is no doubt the best satay sauce I have ever made!

The first time I served this dish, I was making it for a vegetarian friend. I used salad leaves instead of cabbage, and fried some pieces of firm tofu. I also cooked some potatoes in water with turmeric (as per the recipe), and whilst the turmeric gave a nice orange hue to the potatoes, I’m not sure if I really liked the taste. But I definitely added some hard-boiled eggs to the salad – there is something about hard-boiled eggs that make a dish so homely and comforting.

On the second occasion, I simply pan-fried some pieces of chicken breast to serve in place of the tofu. And as the satay sauce was not that hot (much depends on how hot the sambal oelek is), I added some freshly chopped chillies. I love ordering chicken satay skewers whenever I go to Thai restaurants and this is a nice variation in salad form. Also, this confirmed that the satay sauce went beautifully with chicken.

The recipe makes quite a lot of sauce, but it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Simply reheat in a small saucepan over medium heat. If it is too thick, you can thin it by adding some coconut milk.

Overall, I really enjoyed this recipe. I’m not a big salad person but with the addition of potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and tofu or chicken, it’s a pretty substantial meal. Another winner of a recipe from Ottolenghi.


  1. chicaandaluza 2 September 2011

    Fantastic – this looks and sounds amazing. I have some of our free range chicken and eggs and some beans from our vegetable garden…so think this one is on the agenda over the weekend!

    • eat little bird 2 September 2011

      This sauce will definitely jazz up any salad. In fact, I did find myself snacking on raw beans dipped in this sauce as a quick lunch the other day! Please let me know if you end up trying this recipe and what you thought of it 🙂

  2. shazza 2 September 2011

    Made this dish the other day, and felt that I needed a bit more of a heat kick in the satay sauce… obviously my Sambal oelek is a mild one… so next time will add some more chilli to it, but it deffinatly is a good recipe, with the left over satay sauce I did chicken satays last night, and think it improves with age…. kids loved it too….

    • eat little bird 2 September 2011

      Hi Shazza! Oh I agree about the spiciness of this sauce. The recipe calls for quite a bit of sambal oelek but I think mine was a mild one too! But in a way, it’s good for those who don’t like too much heat because you can always add to the spiciness individually. I do wonder how long it can keep in the fridge … surely more than a few days?

  3. Anita Menon 2 September 2011

    Sounds like a yummy sauce. Should go well with Indian Biryani I feel. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  4. kankana 3 September 2011

    This sauce sounds really yum and I think it will go well with some sandwich spread too. I love that dish with boiled eggs on top !

  5. At Anna's Kitchen Table 3 September 2011

    That sauce looks so beautiful and the texture too!
    I’d be tempted to use it in a stir fry, yum!

    • eatlittlebird 4 September 2011

      Ooh I didn’t think of using this sauce in a stir-fry – that’s a brilliant idea! I have a bit of sauce leftover and now I know what to do with it this week 🙂 Thanks for the idea 🙂

  6. Amelie Rzeznik 15 August 2015

    This dish is originally from Indonesia. In my country, we’d like to use bird’s eye chillies to add the spiciness to the sambal oeleg. You can try this option.

    • Eat, Little Bird 16 August 2015

      Thanks for your tip! Since I first published this post, I have found a more spicy sambal oelek which I use in nearly everything I eat! I’ve made Gado-gado quite often as well as it is such a versatile dish.


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