Nasi Goreng ~ Indonesian Fried Rice
Nasi goreng means fried rice in Indonesian. It is a common breakfast usually prepared with leftover or pre-cooked rice with kecap manis which is a sweet soy sauce, shallots, garlic, chilies & shrimp paste. The dark brown color of the rice comes from kecap manis. Nasi goreng is served with many add-ons, fried egg, chicken, shrimp, sambal & veggies such as cucumber & scallions.
Nasi goreng is one of the national dishes of Indonesia & also a popular street food. It is ubiquitous that it is sold by street vendors and is also served in fancy restaurants. This fried rice is equally popular in Malaysia, Singapore & Netherlands. Indonesian food is common in Netherlands has it has many Indonesian descendants from their colonial ties to the country. There are variations to the fried rice from nation to nation and region to region depending on the inhabitants in the region.
I adapted my version of nasi goreng from three sites. The base for the recipe is Rasa Malaya which has the basic nasi goreng from the Indonesian island of Java. She says authentic nasi goreng is plain and simple rice stir fried with flavoring paste. Chicken, shrimp and vegetables are rarely added. This recipe used red chilies & tomatoes. Then I came across this nasi goreng from Indonesian eats which uses green chilies & green tomatoes. Both these recipes were similar while the former used red chilies & kecap manis while the latter used green chilies & no kecap manis. Then I came across Pavani’s version which has vegetables as well. I used carrots & beans though it is not added in authentic nasi goreng. Since I did not have red chilies, I used green chilies instead & substitutes kecap manis with dark soya sauce.
I had some leftover rice & made nasi goreng for lunch. It was enough to serve one person. I reluctantly and hesitantly shared some with Mr.U. He loved it & wanted me to make it again for dinner that night. Oh, I almost forgot terasi or belacan (in Malay) or shrimp paste, a common ingredient in Indonesian cuisine and even this recipe calls for some. Shrimp paste smells terrible but enhances the flavor of the food it is added to. It took me some time to get use to the smell. I am slowly warming up to shrimp paste and would have added some but for my meatless day or meatless Wednesday. Half way into prepping I realized it was Wednesday and had to skip shrimp paste. For those of you who are not used to shrimp paste, use sparingly as it is an acquired taste. Check my note below.
- 1 cup dry Rice, cooked or 3 cups cooked rice (check note below)
- 2 tbsp. Oil
- 1 Shallot, chopped or ¼ cup chopped Shallot
- 10 Green Beans, chopped or ⅓ cup chopped Green Beans
- ½ Carrot, chopped or ⅓ cup chopped Carrot
- 2 tbsp. Kecap Manis or 2 Dark Soy Sauce + 2 tsp palm sugar or jaggery (I used only dark soy sauce)
- 1 Shallot or ¼ cup chopped Shallot
- 4 – 6 small Green Chilies (I used 6 chilies from the Indian store and adjust the chilies to heat tolerance level)
- 1 small Tomato or ½ cup chopped Tomato
- 4 – 6 medium sized Garlic Cloves
- ¾ – 1 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ – ½ tsp. Shrimp Paste ~ Belacan ~ Terasi (I did not use. Check note below)
- 1 Cucumber sliced
- 1 Fried Egg
- 1 Green Onion chopped
- Soy Sauce + 1 Chili
- Leftover rice is preferable for this fried rice. If cooking rice fresh, cook it at least 2 hours before preparation and let the rice cool completely.
- Chop the vegetables and keep aside.
- Prepare the paste and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan and saute onions until translucent.
- Add paste and cook until the paste becomes dry and oil begins to separate. Raw smell should be almost gone. This will take about 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add chopped vegetables and continue frying until vegetables and soft, about 2 – 3 minutes. I like my vegetables crunchy in fried rice. If you prefer softer veggies, cook a little longer.
- Add rice, soy sauce and give it good stir. Fry until flavors blend into the rice, about 2 – 3minutes.
- Make a fried egg.
- I served nasi goreng with fried egg, cucumbers, scallions and some chilies soy dipping sauce. It can also be served with some sambal.
- I used 1 cup dry rice and the measuring cup used is the cup that comes with the rice cooker. For measuring the cooked rice and other ingredients, I used the standard US measuring cup.
- I did not use shrimp paste but if using, I would have used teeny bit, ⅛ tsp perhaps. Shrimp has a strong smell and if one is not used to it,I would suggest using very little. Though it smells awful, once cooked it lends a nice flavor to food. Again, this is an acquired taste. I am just beginning to acquire the taste. I still can’t stand too much of shrimp paste.