Gado Gado is an Indonesian cold salad of blanched, steamed or fresh vegetables of your choice, plus hard-boiled eggs & homemade rice cakes served with a peanut satay sauce.


There is no strict rule about what vegetables you choose to add to Gado Gado, so have fun customising your selection of veggies.

You can throw in some cubed pineapple or apple pieces to add some sweetness.

Satay Peanut Sauce – easy or authentic

The following peanut satay sauce is an easy version of the “authentic” satay sauce for Gluten-Free Chicken Satays. In comparison, it is lightning quick to make and very tame in spiciness, so children will also enjoy this sauce with almost any vegetables. A good way to get your kids to eat their veggies!

If you are after more spice and would prefer the authentic recipe, allow for some extra work to roast the peanuts, grind the spices and nurture the satay sauce as it cooks gently over the stove.

KETUPAT – Indonesian Rice Cakes

A traditional and popular addition to Gado Gado salad is some cubed Ketupat rice cakes. These are compressed rice cakes that have been cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves.

In Indonesia, these cakes are packed into woven palm leaf pouches  They are sold as a side for many local dishes including satays.  These are perfect to dip into the peanut sauce as they absorb the flavour without losing their shape.

Woven palm pouches holding rice cakes (ketupat) in them at the market stand
Ketupat rice cakes cut into cubes with satay sticks to dip in peanut sauce
Pandan Leaves

Also known as fragrant screwpine or vanilla grass.

These are used extensively in South East Asian cuisine and give a unique vanilla taste with a hint of coconut. It’s used in both savoury and sweet dishes.

To release its flavour, the ends are cut, washed and tied in a knot. At the end of cooking, the leaf is removed and discarded.

Check the chilled section at Asian supermarkets and store it in the fridge vegetable compartment. It keeps for 2-3 weeks wrapped in plastic.

Pandan essence (also at Asian supermarkets) mimics the flavour quite well, but there is nothing better than the real thing.

Pandan leaves on display and one is tied in a knot for cooking purposes

Gado Gado Indonesian Salad with Rice Cakes (Ketupat)

by Sandra - Fun Without Gluten
Gado Gado is a naturally gluten-free Indonesian cold salad of blanched, steamed or fresh vegetables of your choice, including hard-boiled eggs, rice cakes & tofu, served with a peanut satay sauce. There is no strict rule about what vegetables you choose to add to Gado Gado, so have fun creating your own platter of veggies. You could even add fresh pineapple as a fruit option.
A traditional and popular addition to Gado Gado salad is some cubed rice cakes called Ketupat in Indonesian and Malay. These are compressed rice that has been cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. These are perfect to dip into the peanut sauce as they absorb the flavour without losing their shape. They are also served together with Gluten-Free Chicken Satays.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Rice cakes cooling time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Kids' Meals, Main Course
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4


  • medium wooden/bamboo skewers for dipping certain veggies, tofu and rice cakes into the satay sauce


Gado Gado Salad

  • 20 string green beans, ends removed
  • 1 red capsicum/bell pepper, sliced lengthways
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into small chunks
  • 2 potatoes, boiled until just soft & holds its shape, cooled & cut into small chunks
  • 3 eggs, boiled, cut in half
  • 1/2 packet smoked tofu, cubed
  • 1 packet store-bought prawn crackers (optional)

Gluten-Free Easy Peanut Sauce

  • 6 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 125 ml full or light coconut milk
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp coconut, palm or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Tamari gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
  • salt & white pepper, to taste

Rice Cakes (Ketupat in Indonesian and Malay)

  • 180 g Jasmine rice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 500 ml coconut milk or water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 strands fresh pandan leaves, or
  • 1 tsp pandan extract


Gado Gado Salad

  • Boil the potatoes (with or without their peel) for 15 minutes or until just cooked. Set aside to cool. Try not to overcook the potatoes as the potatoes should hold their shape for easy dipping into the sauce.
  • Boil the eggs for 8 minutes. Drain the water away and run the eggs under cold water for easy peeling of the shells. Set aside to cool.
  • Cook the green beans in simmering water for 8 minutes. Drain the beans and submerge them in iced water for a few minutes. Drain again and set aside.
  • Cut the remaining fresh vegetables and smoked tofu.
  • Arrange the vegetables, tofu & potatoes on a large platter. Cover and set aside.

Gluten-Free Easy Peanut Sauce

  • Gather the ingredients to make the easy satay sauce.
    Ingredients needed to make easy satay sauce
  • In a small pan, mix the peanut butter, coconut milk & optional fresh chilli gently over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until it thickens into a “dipping sauce” consistency.
    The early stages of cooking the easy satay sauce
  • Add the lime juice, sugar, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
  • Gently simmer for 15 minutes, keeping the "dipping sauce" consitency constant. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more coconut milk. Too thin, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid off until the sauce reduces down and thickens. Alternatively, add a bit more peanut sauce as a faster step.
    The finished appearance of the easy satay sauce
  • Taste the peanut sauce before adding the pepper and salt to your liking.
  • Allow to cool down slightly before serving at room temperature.
  • Serve the peanut sauce in a large bowl in the centre of the salad platter and provide satay sticks to pierce the Gado Gado salad ingredients individually to dip into the sauce. Additionally, serve with optional rice cakes and prawn crackers.

Rice Cakes

  • Wash and drain the rice several times.
    Washing the rice for the rice cakes
  • The rice should be visible in the water after several rinses.
    After several rinses the rice is can be seen in the water
  • Add the rice, salt, coconut oil and water to the rice cooker or stove pot.
  • Tie the pandan leaves into a knot and place them in the rice or mix the pandan essence in the rice water.
    Adding the knotted pandan leaf to the rice mixture
  • Cook the rice in the rice cooker or bring the water to a boil and simmer gently in the stove pot for 15 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated.
  • Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork.
    Fluffing the cooked rice with a fork
  • Discard the pandan leaves.
  • Transfer the warm rice to a plastic-lined square 23cm tray.
  • Press the rice firmly down into the tray using a spatula, pushing the rice towards the corners and sides of the tray.
    Smoothing the rice mixture in a plastic lined tin
  • Cover the rice-filled tray with plastic and using a skewer or satay stick, make several holes for the steam to escape.
    Poking holes into the rice mixture for steam to escape
  • Allow to cool in the fridge for at least one hour before cutting the rice cakes into 1 ½ cm squares using a warm knife by dipping the knife in warm water and wiping it dry with a clean tea towel.
    Cutting the compressed rice cakes into bite-size cubes
  • NOTE: If you would like more "compact" rice cakes, place several milk cartons or tins on their sides on top of the plastic-covered rice cake tray for an extra hour.
    Weighing down the rice cakes to set with heavy milk cartons


  • Keeps for 3 days
  • Peanut sauce and rice cakes are suitable to freeze
Keyword gluten-free easy peanut sauce, gluten-free salad, gluten-free vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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