Nasi Goreng was our favourite dish when we traveled in Bali. It was available anywhere, anytime, for breakfast, lunch or dinner in high-end restaurants or off the street. Later in our trip we became more adventurous in trying different dishes, but at the beginning, my sensitive stomach told me to play it safe. I chose it from menus because it was one of the few things that was familiar, and we knew it was cooked fresh over high heat that would hopefully kill anything my Canadian digestive system wasn’t used to.
Nasi Goreng is simply fried rice and is considered the national dish of Indonesia. In a country where nothing is wasted, leftover rice from the previous day’s dinner is often turned into this flavourful dish the following day by mixing it with seasonings, freshly caught prawns or shrimp and chicken, and it is garnished with cooked egg, green onions, and cilantro. Rice cooked the day before has a better texture for fried rice, as freshly cooked rice is too moist and soft. In a climate of intense heat and high humidity, labouring in a hot kitchen would be unbearable. This dish is cooked very quickly over high heat. It is often served with prawn crackers.
There are lots of different variations of this dish, depending on region and available ingredients. This one is mine.
- 2 cups long grain Thai Jasmine Rice, cooked in 4 cups water or half broth and half water
- 2 beaten eggs
- 2 tsps sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 ozs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 1 cup peeled shrimp or prawns
- 2 tbsps grapeseed oil
- 3-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1 finely chopped shallot or onion
- 2 tsps grated fresh ginger root
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 tsp Sambal Oelek (hot chili paste) (readily available in the import food section in local stores)
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce or fish sauce
- 1 tbsp ketjap manis (dark soy sauce)
- 3 tbsps green onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Boil rice in salted water or broth until cooked. Rinse, drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
- Prepare the rice at least 2 hours ahead, or preferably the day before, chilling in the frig overnight.
- Combine eggs with sesame oil and salt in a small bowl. In a small fry pan, make 2 thin omelettes and cut into strips. Set aside.
- Heat wok over heat until hot. Add the grapeseed oil, and wait until it is very hot and slightly smoking.
- Add the onions, ginger, garlic, and pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then add the chicken and shrimp and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes.
- Now add the sambal oelek, oyster or fish sauce and ketjap manis/dark soy sauce and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Turn onto large serving platter and garnish with the omelette strips, green onions and fresh cilantro. Serve hot.
And picture yourself on this beach.