Nasi goreng means fried rice and it can be cooked in any number of ways. In Indonesia, however, that means the inclusion of spices and seasonings that give the dish a distinctive flavor. Kecap manis, belacan, palm sugar, tamarind paste, shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal and lemongrass are among the traditional ingredients.
Nasi goreng is among the most popular breakfast items in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, just as other Asian-style fried rice dishes are popular in other parts of Southeast Asia.
The Many Variations of Nasi Goreng
There are many variations of nasi goreng and the word that comes after nasi goreng is descriptive of its regional origin, the cooking style, or what other ingredient or ingredients are added to the fried rice. For instance, nasi goreng Jawa is Javanese fried rice, nasi goreng sapi is cooked with beef, nasi goreng ikan asin has salted fish and nasi goreng pattaya is cooked omelet style with the fried rice as the filling.
Day old rice is ideal for fried rice as it is drier, which prevents it from sticking to the bottom of the frying pan or wok. For best results, use long-grain rice as it is the least sticky. Use the least amount of water when cooking the rice so that the grains do not burst and stick together.
Use pure good quality chili powder. Mix with a teaspoon of water and let it stand for about half an hour before use.
- 4 cups cooked rice
- 1 thinly sliced medium onion
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (or belacan)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- Garnish: cucumber
- Garnish: tomato
- Garnish: cilantro
- Optional: prawn crackers
- Heat a tablespoon of oil on low heat in a wok. Add the shrimp paste, and cook until it is brown and fragrant.
- Pour in another tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and onions. Fry until golden brown and the fragrance of the garlic and onions are released.
- Add the chili paste followed by the rice. Turn up the heat.
- Stir fry until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Stir constantly so that none of the ingredients stick to the wok.
- Add the soy sauce and stir until the soy sauce is evenly distributed.
- Add two tablespoons of water if you feel the rice is too grainy and hard. The rice should be nice and fluffy.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of cooking oil in another pan and fry the eggs sunny side up.
- Serve the rice with a few slices of cucumbers and tomatoes. Garnish with some cilantro and an egg for each serving.