Neville Lockhart Photography
Simply fried rice made from pre-cooked day old rice that has been highly spiced with a sweet soy sauce, shallots, garlic, ginger, tamarind and chilli
….maybe it is not so simple!
years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Jakarta(Batavia), It is here that I discovered that there was not one recipe, but as many as there were chef’s in the kitchen if not more.
The chef at the Gran Melia in Jakarta got upset one day when he reached his limit after endless complaints of the consistency of the Nasi Goreng in the Hotel.
This national dish was different everyday….it was becoming an embarrassment.
The chef on duty dictated the recipe and the method and this meant that the guest experience was never the same.
So the chef arranged a cook off on a grand scale to determine the best Nasi Goreng in the kitchen, needless to say 80 dishes were presented in the hotels Banqueting kitchen each presented by a chef with pride, old family recipes revealed so many different versions, so many secrets.
None wrong or right but all different, some with nuts, some spicier, some more sour, the room was filled with with strong aromas lime, shrimp paste and lots of hiden secrets….
So from this experience I stole a little from everyone and I created a base recipe based on a paste which I have been using for for years, although not needed, it did make a difference as the dish stayed dry and as never presented to wet. …..it was consistent.
Nasi goreng typically includes chicken and prawns, with either fried egg or egg omelette.
Krupuk (prawn crackers) as well as crispy onions is an included as an accompaniment with tomato and cucumber as a side sometimes lettuce is added.
Kechap manis with chilli is served as a condiment to add extra bite and sweetness as needed.
Nasi goreng is the national dish of Indonesia, with many variations some more exotic some very simple.
The origin most likely from Chinese fried rice, as with bakmie goreng which uses the same ingredients with noodles.
The main difference between Chinese fried rice and nasi goreng is the use of more spice and the use of sweet soya sauce also known as kecap manis.
Like in so many countries recipes are handed down from generation to generation and so many variations appear, it has a lot to do with what is available and what is left over from the night before.
Nasi Goreng is enjoyed at any time of day, my personal favourite is at breakfast, adding a fried egg and a little more vegetables is sheer bliss, we used to add spiced deep fried poached egg when I was working at the Saxon, happiness.
Often other addition are found in the dish especially if served for dinner or lunch, like lamb or beef satays, vegetable pickles and prawn crackers
Ingredients (serves 4)
3 cups long-grain rice (cold cooked)
2-3 tablespoons special paste
1 tablespoon sweet soya
peanut oil for frying
½ onion thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sambal olek or fresh chopped chili
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
60g carrot, peeled, finely julienned
80g cashew nuts
30g bean sprouts
1 tomato concasse (optional)
80g Chinese cabbage shredded
250g chicken thigh, cut into strips or pieces
250g prawns, peeled, de-veined, chopped or halved
3 spring onions sliced
4 fried eggs or very thin omelettes
40g Krupuk + oil for frying
2 spring onion sliced
2 fine julienne chilies
2 Tomatoes cut into 6 wedges each
¼ cucumber cut into batons
Pickled vegetable selection
Sweet soya with chopped chili 2tsp with a 100ml sweet chilie
4 x lamb satays
¼ cup crispy onion rings
Method for Nasi Goreng
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok over high heat.
Add onion and sauté, garlic, ginger and paste.
Stir-fry for 30 seconds to one minute, will be fairly strong and aromatic.
Stir-fry for 30 seconds
Add prawns, cabbage, carrot, sprouts
Add tomato concasse
Add rice continue cooking, everything happens very quickly so ensure that the mixture is kept moving all the time.
Add a little sweet soy if needed add spring onions.
Stir-fry until rice is well heated and cooked through.
Serve in a bowl
Top with fried egg or shredded omelette, sprinkle with fried onions.
Serve with sliced chillies, krupak, tomatoes, cucumber, pickles and lamb satays.
Recipe for paste
3 baby onions or shallots
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp canola oil
8 ea lime leaves
1 lemon grass
20g chopped garlic
1 tsp lime zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1 ea lime juice
1 ea lemon juice
2 tsp sweet soya
4 tsp soya
1 cup water
1 tsp toasted shrimp paste
3 ea coriander root
1 tbsp tamerind paste
1 tbsp palm sugar grated
2 drops fish sauce (optional)
Sauté ingredients, add wet ingredients and liquidise to a fine paste, place back on the stove and reduce further over a gentle heat. Ensure it does not burn. You want to intensify the flavour.
This paste will hold a long time in a closed container in the fridge use when needed,
NB: if the paste is not needed, add
1 tsp chili
1 tsp ginger
½ – 1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp tamarind
2 tbsp sweet soya