Two years ago CNN conducted a poll among 35,000 individuals to determine the world’s 50 most beloved foods. The results were unexpected. Guess what ranked #2? You got it, Nasi Goreng!
Nasi Goreng, the national dish of Indonesia, translates as “fried rice.” A few weeks ago Heidi requested a “great fried rice recipe” (“Make a Request!”). That was my only parameter, so I got to take whatever culinary license I wanted ;) Heidi, wherever you are, I believe you’ll find this recipe fits the bill!
Fried rice, a cuisine enjoyed by many nations, stems from an effort to avoid wasting precious food in the days before refrigeration was available. Frying rice helps prevent the formation of illness-causing microbes and enabled people to enjoy leftovers. Nasi Goreng still traditionally uses leftover rice from the previous night’s dinner.
Believe it or not, in Indonesia Nasi Goreng is a breakfast food! That’s right, this spicy chicken and shrimp fried rice is traditionally served at home, by street vendors, in restaurants and in hotels for breakfast. Nasi Goreng is also a popular dish in the Netherlands through its colonial ties with Indonesia.
What makes Nasi Goreng unique from other fried rice dishes is its use of Ketjap Manis, a sweet Indonesian soy sauce. Ketjap Manis can be purchased in most Asian stores, but I’ve provided a recipe for it so you can make it yourself!
There are four key steps to achieving good fried rice: 1) Long-grain rice must be used, it’s less sticky, 2) The rice must be refrigerated overnight, 3) The rice must be dry, so spreading it out across a baking sheet as it chills is paramount, and 4) When added to the other ingredients, toss the rice to heat it through – try to avoid stirring it as much as possible or the rice will clump.
As noted in the recipe, use as many or as little of the hot chile seeds as you desire. Just be careful – they pack a punch! I remember the first time I made this dish, my son was 18 months old. He was a typical picky eater but he really showed a lot of interest in what we were eating, much to my surprise. So I gave him a little spoonful…and another…and another…and finally gave him his own bowl full. He loved it! Spiciness, fish sauce, and all! While I can’t guarantee your young kids will like this, I am confident YOU will!
- 1½ cups long-grain white rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 2 cups shallots or onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2-3 fresh hot red chiles, use or discard seeds according to desired hotness
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 3-4 tablespoons ketjap manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce, see recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 4 fried eggs to serve with the rice (optional)
- Ketjap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce):
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbs dark molasses
- ¼ tsp grated fresh ginger
- ⅛ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- Bring the rice and chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is done and the moisture is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and spread the rice out on a baking sheet. Let it cool and then transfer it to the refrigerator to sit overnight, uncovered. The next day, break up the rice with your fingers to separate the grains.
- Heat the oil in wok or heavy skillet over high heat until hot. Add the onions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the garlic and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Add chicken and stir-fry until cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Add the shrimp, red chiles, and salt and stir-fry for another 3 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will be tough. Add the cold rice, ¼ cup chicken broth, 3 tablespoons of ketjap manis, and fish sauce. Continue to toss until the rice is heated through. Add more ketjap manis according to to taste. Add the green onions and toss to combine. Serve immediately with a fried egg placed on top of each serving (optional).
- To make the Ketjap Manis:
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Increase to a rapid boil and boil until the sauce reaches a temperature on a candy thermometer of 200 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 2 minutes. Makes about 1 cup and will keep in the refrigerator Yields approximately 1 cup. Will keep in the refrigerator for at least a month.