Home > Pecel (Madiun Vegetable Salad in Peanut Sauce Dressing)

Pecel (Madiun Vegetable Salad in Peanut Sauce Dressing)

Posting Date: 12/21/18

Pecel (Madiun Vegetable Salad in Peanut Sauce Dressing)

Pecel (Madiun Vegetable Salad in Peanut Sauce Dressing) originated in East Java, specifically in Madiun or Ponorogo. Even though it originated in East Java, it can be found all over Java. Indonesians also have other vegetable salad in peanut sauce dressing, called Gado Gado (Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce Dressing). The differences are in the peanut sauce and salad ingredients. Peanut sauce for pecel uses kencur (Kaempferia Galanga) while gado gado doesn't. Gado gado has protein in the salad ingredients, such as tofu, hard boiled egg, and tempeh and carb ingredient, such as potato. Pecel salad ingredients are solely vegetables without protein or carb ingredients. The vegetables are blanched with the exception of the cucumber. You can blanch the veggies according to your preferred doneness. I like my veggies crispy and crunchy, so I normally blanch in a shorter time (about 1 to 2 min). The vegetables used are normally spinach, long bean, bean sprouts, and water spinach. However, you can use any vegetables you like, such as asparagus, cabbage, etc. In Indonesia, pecel is sometimes serves with rice, making it a meal rather than a salad. So, you can serve it with rice if you want.

As mentioned before, pecel uses kencur (kaempferia galanga) in the peanut sauce. It is hard to find fresh kencur outside Southeast Asia. So, I use kencur powder which can be found in Asian stores that sell Indonesian items. However, if you cannot find it at all, you can use fresh or frozen galangal. It tastes different but it is a good substitute. It is also hard to find Thai chili pepper or red chili pepper in my stores, so I normally use sambal oelek. However, you can also use jalapeno pepper instead.

The peanut sauce of pecel may contain shrimp paste. If you are vegetarian, skip the shrimp paste. This dish is definitely good for vegetarians with all the vegetables used.

The recipe serves 2-3 people.


  • For peanut sauce: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to fry garlic
  • For peanut sauce: 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • For peanut sauce: 76 grams palm sugar or to taste
  • For peanut sauce: 1/2 cup water to soften palm sugar. If you cannot find palm sugar in Asian stores, you can use brown sugar instead.
  • For peanut sauce: 1.5 cups (about 220 grams) roasted unsalted peanuts. In Indonesia, raw peanuts are used. If using raw peanuts, fry them first including the skin, i.e. you don't need to peel the skin.
  • For peanut sauce: 3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced after discarding the stem on the middle
  • For peanut sauce: 1 tablespoon concentrated tamarind or to taste
  • For peanut sauce: 1.5 tablespoons sambal oelek or to taste. Instead of using sambal oelek, you can use jalapeno pepper and Thai chili pepper. If using Thai chili pepper, use 1 or 2 first since it is very hot. If it is not enough heat, add more Thai chili pepper.
  • For peanut sauce: 0.5 to 1 teaspoon kencur (Kaempferia Galanga) powder depending on your taste preference. I use 1 teaspoon but it can be too strong for some people. So, start with 1/2 teaspoon first and see if you want to add more. In Indonesia, fresh kencur is used. However, it is hard to find it outside Southeast Asia. You may be able to find kencur powder in Asian stores that sell Indonesian items. If you cannot find the powder, you can use Galangal instead. It is sold fresh or frozen. Use 1" of fresh galangal, peel the skin, rinse it, and slice it before putting it into the blender together with the other peanut sauce ingredients.
  • For peanut sauce: Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of roasted shrimp paste (terasi in Indonesian language) or to taste. If you are a vegetarian, skip it. If you use raw shrimp paste, make sure you roast it first before putting into the blender.
  • For peanut sauce: 2 pinches of salt or to taste
  • For peanut sauce: 1 cup boiling water. The amount of boiling water is flexible depending on the consistency of the peanut sauce you want to achieve. So, start with adding 1/2 cup first to check the consistency. If it is still to thick, add more boiling water.
  • For peanut sauce: Optional: granulated or brown sugar if it is still not sweet enough for you
  • 3 cups of bean sprouts, blanched
  • 15 long beans, sliced into 2" long and blanched after slicing. If you cannot find long beans in Asian stores, you could use green beans instead.
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 3 cups sliced cabbage, blanched
  • 6 cups spinach, blanched
  • Optional: shrimp chips (kerupuk udang). You will have to fry it before you can use it. So, as a shortcut, I use shrimp snack instead since it has already been cooked. Shrimp snack can be bought in Asian stores in the snack section. Skip it if you are vegetarian.


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on a small pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute it until it becomes fragrant. Remove from the heat. Place the garlic on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.
  2. Place 1/2 cup of water and palm sugar in a small pot. Bring the liquid to boil. Break the palm sugar off with a spoon or fork during cooking so that it will be easy for the blender to process it. Once the sugar has become soft and broken off into small pieces, remove from the heat.
  3. Place peanuts, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind, sambal oelek, kencur, roasted shrimp paste into a blender. Add the palm sugar along with the liquid into the blender. Process until it becomes smooth paste. During the process, you may need to stop the blender several times and use spatula to scrape off inside wall of the blender to make sure everything is processed and the sauce becomes smoother. After it becomes smoother, add 1/2 cup of boiling water and salt into the blender and process it again. The boiling water is used to thin the sauce down. You don't want the sauce to be very thick but you don't want it to be very runny either. Check to see if it has reaches the consistency you want. I use 1 cup of boiling water. However, some people may like it slightly thicker and some might like it thinner. If it is still to thick for you, add another 1/2 cup of boiling water and process it again. Once it has reaches the consistency you want, taste it and add salt, tamarind, sambal oelek, kencur powder, or granulated/brown sugar if needed. If you add anything, process it again in the blender to make sure it is mixed well. Pour the sauce into a small bowl.
  4. To serve it, divide bean sprouts, long bean, cabbage, cucumber, and spinach into 3 equal serving. Spoon some peanut sauce over the top of the vegetables. Mix the peanut sauce with the vegetables. I normally let people spoon the peanut sauce themselves so that they can decide how much sauce they want. Top with shrimp chips if used. You can serve it with rice to make it a meal.

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