If we have a national dish – that is well known all over the world for, it would be “Nasi Goreng Indonesia”. Indonesian fried rice has been popular in and out of the country. If you are stranded in some city or town or village and you stepped into local eateries, and if you happened to be not too adventurous in culinary quest, it is the safest item to order and you can always find it in any decent restaurants in sight. Even when they don’t have it in the menu, providing that restaurant do serve rice, you can request for it.
Indonesians like to fit all sorts of flavors and textures in one biteful. That is what sets the fried rice apart from other version found in the region. The condiments are fried shallots, fried rice / prawn crackers, shredded chicken meat and fresh vegetables such as lettuce, sliced cucumber, sliced tomatoes. The flavor is enriched by shrimp paste, chili, garlic and shallots.
As always, the rice used is day-old rice. Newly cooked rice can also be used, if they are properly cooled. However, the fried rice will turn out to be stickier, so proper care in adjusting the heat is needed to ensure that doesn’t happen. Fried rice with grains sticking together is such a turn-off.
11 (35 grams) red chilies
3 (15 grams) garlic cloves
6 (40 grams) shallots
1/2 teaspoon (2,5 gr) shrimp paste, toasted
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian brand is preferred)
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
950 grams cooked rice
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1/4 cup fried shallots
1 (250 grams) cucumber, peeled and sliced
150 grams gnemon crackers, fried (emping)
50 grams red & white crackers (alternatively can be substituted with prawn crackers), fried
2 (30 grams) leeks, white and green part, finely chopped
10 grams chinese celery, finely chopped
125 grams chicken breast (cooked by pan-frying / deep-frying and shredded)
5 eggs, pan-fried into thin slices of omelette and cut thinly
Shallots and chili pickles (recipe follows)
- Place chilies, garlic, shallots, salt, sugar and shrimp paste in a mortar and pound with the pestle to form a paste
- In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce and sweet soy sauce with the rice, stir well
- Heat cooking oil in a wok till smoky. Add the paste and stir fry for 2 minutes, until the color turned slightly brownish and fragrant
- Add rice, breaking any lumps, until all ingredients are combined evenly and the rice is heated through. This will take 15 to 20 minutes
- Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if needed and toss in chopped celery and leek. Cook for another 3 minutes
- Serve garnished with fried shallots and other condiments
If you don’t like getting physical – electric blender can be used to grind the spices. If you don’t have a big wok, work on it in small batches.
The level of spiciness can be adjusted by reducing the amount of red chili (or thai chillies) called for, or you can always remove the seeds before grinding them
Cooking oil used should be flavorless such as canola, sunflowers or corn oil. Strong smelling cooking oil such as coconut oil would be too overpowering
I did read another version where the spice paste is mixed well in a bowl with rice and then stir-fried. It is an interesting technique worth experimenting with
Indonesian fried rice normally used javanica, which is a medium grain, fat and dry with low sticky character. The better quality rice would be the nicely polished and white ones with no broken grains.
Preparation time 30 minutes
Yield 4 – 6 servings