Take a foodie journey with us to Northern China
Midweek quick meals or weekend indulgence, fried rice is one of the simplest fulfilling dishes you can make and savour with ease. It’s also the most versatile. Every Asian culture has its own multitude of variants; depending on the local herbs, spices, flavours and cooking styles that are unique to the region. All tasty with a myriad of traditional authentic recipes, and near-endless reinventions. In Asia, no stall, restaurant nor household serves the same fried rice.
But for us at Asian Inspirations, Nasi Goreng is undoubtedly one of our favourite, most delicious and satisfying fried rice. The Indonesian national dish has many versions too; with mutton, chicken, beef, seafood or whatever the chef may try. Some are spicier, while others are sweeter or sourer. Nonetheless, some ingredients are indispensable in all Nasi Goreng recipes; such as the Sambal and Kecap Manis that defines the Indonesian flavour.
So, ready to cook the perfect Nasi Goreng at home? Here’s all you need:
Long grain white rice makes the best Nasi Goreng. When stir-fried, the grains easily absorb the essence and flavours of other ingredients. We recommend Jasmine rice for extra umami fragrance.
Pre-cook the rice and store it overnight in your fridge. Or, if you’re short on time, cool it for at least 2-3 hours before the stir-fry. Cold cooked rice is faster to fry and gives a crispier texture.
The seasoning paste is the main ‘component’ that gives Nasi Goreng its distinctive spicy flavour. The most basic authentic blend is the Indonesian Sambal Oelek with Terasi shrimp paste. For extra spiciness and flavour, add some julienned red chilli, onion, shallot and garlic clove. Use a blender or mortar to thoroughly ground and blend all the ingredients into a paste.
This is also the first thing to fry. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in your wok/pan, and cook the paste for about 2-3 mins in high heat; until you smell the spicy aroma.
Meat and Veggie
Any meat or seafood, accompanied by veggies of your choice is great for Nasi Goreng. The most common are chicken and prawns with cabbage and spring onions. Just chop and slice them to strips or bits. Stir-fry is a fast method that uses high heat, so the smaller the meaty pieces, the better they’ll cook.
Once the paste is hot, fragrant and ready, put in the meat and seafood. Stir well and cook till about three-quarters done. Add in the veggies, and fry till they soften. Then, put in the rice. Make sure the ingredients don’t clump together as you cook. Spread, stir, mix, repeat.
Sweet soy sauce or Kecap Manis is thicker than other soy sauce, with the signature palm sugar sweetness well-blended with its salty flavour. Alternatively, you can also mix other types of thick soy sauce with sugar. But for the authentic Indonesian taste, we recommend ABC Kecap Manis. 1½ tablespoon is enough. Mix it in with the rice, and stir well for 2-3 mins, until the rice turns golden brown.
Traditional Nasi Goreng always comes with a sunny-side-up egg for a fuller, tastier meal – fried separately after the main rice dish is done. You can also go with omelette strips, or crack a fresh egg to blend with the rice as your cook.
For the finishing touch, sprinkle some fried shallot, and add a slice of lime. Want some extra freshness and crunch to balance the spiciness? A few pieces of cucumber and cherry tomatoes would do the job.