Nasi Goreng is widely regarded to be Indonesia’s national dish. Though as the name translates simply as “fried rice” you can imagine just how many different versions of it there are.
As is often the case with the more exotic recipes I publish I feel I should add a few important notes. First and foremost I live in the UK and like to cook the food that I enjoy eating, often taking inspiration from many sources along the way. I’ve never been to Indonesia, so whilst I don’t have the authentic experience to guide me I do have the imagination. This dish is based this on the food I’ve been served in restaurants, read about in cookery books and seen online. Lots of ideas coming together to form what I find to be a tasty bowl of food. Some of my food may not be authentic but trust me when I say it sure is tasty!
So, back to this recipe for Nasi Goreng. I’m led to believe that it’s commonly served as a breakfast dish in Indonesia, as a way of using up food left over from dinner the night before – with a few more ingredients added to perk things up a bit. To a British palate that’s a little too much of a kick to start the day and therefore I served my version as an evening meal.
The key flavours in Nasi Goreng, which separate it from many other fried rice dishes are the use of a sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis) and shrimp paste. Both are available in larger supermarkets here in the UK, though you might need to shop around a little. I had no issues finding the ketjap manis but the store had sold out of shrimp paste. On that basis I’ve swapped it out for a dash of fish sauce added later in the recipe, but if you do find it add it with the garlic earlier on. If you can’t find ketjap manis I would think that a little more soy sauce and a tablespoon of unrefined sugar would probably give a good, if not identical flavour.
From here it feels like the remaining ingredients are a bit of a free-for-all. I’ve gone with a combination of chicken and prawns which does make this a bit of an indulgent dinner. When you can’t decide between the two why not have both? These are fried together with the spices, the pre-cooked rice and a selection of vegetables. With preparation the cooking process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.
This is a dish of many textures and flavours that all work together harmoniously. It may look simple but the flavours are anything but. For a bit of a flourish I’ve topped this off with a fried egg and some crispy fried shallot rings, but as with everything else about this dish it’s really up to you.
Chicken Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng translates as "fried rice" and with this dish that's exactly what you get - helped along the way with chicken, prawns and a selection of tasty vegetables.
- 150 g Basmati Rice cooked and cooled
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 150 g Shallots peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 medium Carrot thinly sliced
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 Red Chilli deseeded and chopped
- 5 cm Root Ginger peeled and grated
- 200 g Chicken Breast cut into bite-sized pieces
- 150 g King Prawns
- 1 tbsp Ketjap Manis see notes
- 1 tsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 50 g French Beans blanched
- 50 g Frozen Soya Beans (Edamame)
- 4 Spring Onions finely sliced
- 2 Large Free Range Eggs
- 1 Lime
Cook the rice according to the pack instructions. Spread out on a tray and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the shallots and carrots, then stir fry for a few minutes until slightly softened.
Add the garlic, chilli and ginger then stir well, cooking for an additional minute or so until fragrant. Make sure they don't burn.
Add the chicken to the pan and stir fry for a further 4-5 minutes until sealed and browned on all sides. Then add the prawns to the pan and heat through (or cook until pink if using raw prawns).
Pour the Ketjap Manis, fish sauce and soy sauce into the pan, followed by the cooked rice and mix well. Add the green beans, soya beans and sping onions, then mix again. Stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes until everything is warmed through, the meat is cooked and the vegetables slightly tender.
When cooked remove from the heat and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, fry two eggs to your liking. Divide the Nasi Goreng between two bowls, spritz with juice from the lime, then top with the fried eggs. Serve immediately.