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January 10, 2011

This fabulous Indonesian salad is “structured”. That is, it is made in layers on a large plate.  If you are eating it by yourself, divide in four and only pour a quarter of the quantity of the peanut sauce over the portion you are eating.  Serves 4.

1 cup raw loose baby spinach leaves (tightly packed)

3 cups yellow rice

Now choose four or five of the following cooked or fresh vegetables to layer:

1 cup cooked potatoes (cubed)

1 cup steamed broccoli florets

1 cup fresh green beans – lightly steamed

a cup raw sugar snap peas (halved)

1 cup shredded raw cabbage – purple or green

1 cup grated fresh carrot

1 cup raw brussels sprouts (sliced finely)

spring onions (chopped)

1 cup bean sprouts (loosely packed)

1 cup raw celery sliced into thin batons

1 cup sliced cucumber

1 cup cooked sweet potato

1 cup raw cauliflower florets

To add to the top of the salad

4 hard boiled eggs quartered

Peanut Sauce


Yellow Rice

2 cups rice

5 cups water

1/2 teaspn tumeric

1. Put rice into the boiling water and add tumeric.  Cook until rice is tender.  Drain and refresh by running under cold water.

2. Layer vegetables on a large plate starting with a layer of fresh baby spinach leaves and then a layer of yellow rice.  Layer so that colours will be attractive eg purple cabbage on top of green beans etc. Top with sliced hardboiled eggs.

3. When you are ready to eat the salad, pour over the Peanut Sauce.

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tbspn grated ginger

1 tbspn minced garlic

1/2 tbspn brown sugar

1 1/2 cups hot water

2 tbspns lime juice

1 tspn minced chillis (or fresh chopped chillis if you have them)

1 tbspn soy sauce


Place the peanut butter in a cold pan along with the brown sugar, garlic, ginger, chilli and 1 1/2 cups hot water.  Now start the pan heating while you stir the mixture.   It will look strange at first but simmer gently on a low heat, stirring all the time.  Simmer until sauce reduces to required consistency.  My favourite consistency is a little on the thick side so I cook it until  a wooden spoon pulled through the mixture leaves a line in the pan. (The traditional Gado Gado sauce is fairly runny) Then stir through the lime juice and soy sauce.    Allow to cool before pouring over salad.  If sauce is too thick stir through extra lime juice until you get the consistency you desire.


A traditional Gado Gado has toppings consisting of finely chopped onion fried in oil, finely sliced fresh ginger cooked in oil or peanuts.  Personally I think this is gilding the lily.

Variations:  You can use basically any cooked or fresh vegetable you like in this structured salad so it is great for clearing out the vegetable drawer.  Add a layer of sliced cooked meat or fried tofu as well if you like.

Health Tip: Use a low salt peanut butter.

Inspired by and adapted from a recipe in  the New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Franzen.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    June 28, 2011 7:45 pm

    Mollie Katzen is the author of the book that inspires this post; she’s well-known in the food world as one of the founders of the Moosewood Restaurant and a pioneer in advocating simple, delicious vegetarian cooking that appeals to many Americans who aren’t necessarily vegetarians. She also has had her own cooking show on PBS. Crispy brown shreds of shallots contribute a great deal of flavor to Thai dishes, the texture, richness and savory-sweet qualities truly complementing peanuts!

  2. June 29, 2011 12:44 am

    Thank you Elizabeth. Mollie Katzen is an absolute heroine of the kitchen! I wish we had her cooking show here.

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