Nasi Goreng

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By Robert Harland

What’s Cooking?

Monday, August 4, 2014

NOT a dish if you are dieting, but Nasi Goreng, Indonesia's national dish, is very tasty and well worth the occasional high calorie treat.

Nasi Goreng literally means "fried rice" in Bahasa Indonesia and Malay. It can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir-fried rice in a small amount of cooking oil typically spiced with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), tamarind and chillis and accompanied by other ingredients, particularly egg, chicken, and prawns.

In Indonesia, Nasi Goreng is traditionally served at home for breakfast; usually made with leftover rice from the night before.


On my many visits to Indonesia in the 80s and 90s, I always looked forward to a plate of Nasi Goreng. And its popularity has spread internationally with the dish being offered on menus in many countries around the world. Interestingly, it's hugely popular in the Netherlands through its colonial ties with Indonesia.

In 2011, an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose Nasi Goreng as the number two of their 'World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods' list.

Nasi Goreng is easy to make and shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to prepare.

Regardless of upbringing or financial background, 230 million Indonesians eat Nasi Goreng regularly.

It can be found at the simplest of warung street stalls and on the most expensive menus in fine restaurants. Although cheap and easy to prepare, Nasi Goreng was seen fit to serve to US President Barack Obama during his 2010 visit to Indonesia. As a child in the 1960s, Obama lived in Indonesia and said he always loved the dish.

Try this recipe.


Serves six

2 cups uncooked white rice
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
250 gr boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch strips
200 gr raw shrimp, peeled
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 Tbsp dried shrimp paste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp chilli bean sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tsp finely chopped spring onions
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


Boil the rice in plenty of salted water until cooked. Rinse, drain and spread the rice to cool. Do this at least two hours ahead, or preferably, leave overnight in the ref. Combine eggs with sesame oil and salt, and put aside.

Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add oil, and wait until it is very hot and slightly smoking.

Add the onions, ginger, shrimp paste, garlic, and pepper, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, squashing the shrimp paste as you go.

Then add chicken and shrimp and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Add rice and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes.

Now add the chilli bean sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Finally, add the egg mixture and continue to stir-fry for another minute. Alternatively make 2 thin omelettes from the egg mixture ahead of time and cut into strips. These can then be used as garnish on the finished dish.

Turn onto large serving platter and garnish with the spring onion and fresh cilantro, and serve hot.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 04, 2014.


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