Recipe for Indonesian Gado Gado salad

Now that the weather is beginning to turn, we’re really missing the summer months in the HT office. So we spoke to our pals promoting watercress and got this stunning salad recipe from chef Keri Astil-Frew. Make this for your mid-week meal and you can stretch summer out into autumn.

Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Crunchy Tiger Prawns and Selada Air (watercress)

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

This typical Indonesian street food staple combines a delicious spicy peanut sauce with fresh, crunchy ingredients including plenty of watercress which is known in Indonesia as selada air.  This recipe suggests topping with crunchy bread-crumbed tiger prawns, but you could easily substitute with pan-fried tofu or salmon fillets.


1 x 85g bag watercress

200g cooked new potatoes

6 tiger prawns, tails left on, but head and legs removed

3 free range eggs

A little plain flour

75g Japanese breadcrumbs (penko)

1 large tomato, sliced

1 small handful radishes, cut into quarters

½ a small cucumber, sliced

½ a bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

1 handful of beansprouts, washed

500ml vegetable oil for frying

For the peanut sauce

25g soft dark brown sugar

75g peanut butter

Juice of one lime

1 tsp light soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp fish sauce

1 red chilli


  1. Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Place in two of the eggs and simmer for 6 minutes 30 seconds for soft boiled, or for 10 minutes for hard boiled.  Once the eggs are cooked, carefully pour off the boiling water and fill the pan with cold water to cool them down.  Once cooled, peel and cut in half.  Set aside until ready to serve.
  2. Next take three small bowls. Crack the remaining egg into one, then whisk for a few seconds until scrambled.  Add the plain flour and breadcrumbs into the other two bowls.  Breadcrumb the prawns by dipping each one first into the flour, then into the egg, then into the breadcrumbs.  Keep the breaded prawns in the fridge until you are nearly ready to serve the salad.
  3. Make the sauce by blending all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust by adding more lime juice and soy sauce if necessary.  The sauce should taste beautifully zingy with a fire coming through from the chilli and a hint of saltiness.  Remember the sauce will be spread throughout the salad so you need to make sure it has lots of flavour.
  4. Add the vegetable oil into a frying pan and heat to 180°C. If you don’t have a temperature probe you can test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a couple of breadcrumbs.  If they sizzle and float on the surface of the oil then it is hot enough for frying. Carefully drop in the bread-crumbed prawns and use a metal slatted spoon or fish slice to keep them moving until they are a beautiful golden brown.  Remove from the oil, drain on kitchen towel and sprinkle over some sea salt.
  5. Finally, assemble your beautiful salad by piling up the watercress in a large bowl before taking a little of everything and arranging neatly on top. Add on the fried prawns and drizzle over the lovely peanut sauce.  Serve and enjoy!