Balinese gado gado with saffron rice

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a light meal
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

When I first flew to Indonesia in 1985, it was to Bah that I headed. They have the most delicious food, but it’s gado gado I will always associate with the island. I ate it every day and it ranged from the most delicious salad to the most awful stewed cabbage. In its delicious format, it is made up of cold crisp vegetables, chunks of tofu (both fresh and deep-fried), grilled tempeh (another soya bean product), hard-boiled eggs and peanut sauce, and occasionally with toasted fresh coconut. It’s a lovely summer dish – and the only recipes you’ll need here are the rice and the simplest peanut sauce ever. Otherwise, all you have to do is select really fresh vegetables and then decide whether to serve them raw or blanched, although a mix of both works best.


  • 2 kg selection of trimmed raw or blanched fresh vegetables, as on the right
  • 3–4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and halved
  • prawn crackers
  • coriander sprigs

For the Saffron Rice

  • 1 cup of white rice (although not traditional, try using basmati)
  • 2 good pinches of saffron
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Quick Peanut Sauce

  • 200 ml unsweetened coconut milk
  • 5 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


First prepare the saffron rice: rinse the rice really well in a sieve and then put in a pan with 2 cups of cold water. Add the saffron and salt and bring to the boil, then cover and cook on the lowest heat for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave, still covered, for 10 minutes more.

Make the quick peanut sauce: whisk everything together to combine, adding extra coconut milk if too thick – it should be spoonable.

Serve the vegetables nicely arranged on plates alongside a pile of the rice. Garnish with the halved eggs, prawn crackers and sprigs of coriander. You can either serve the sauce in little individual pots as here, or spoon it over the top of the vegetables.