Nasi goreng is one of Indonesia’s most renowned dishes, next to rendang and satay. It’s a favourite for breakfast, because it’s a great way to use up cooked rice from the day before.
There are many many recipes for nasi goreng, and this one is Padang-style – from west Sumatra. This particular recipe has been cooked for me many times by a close friend who is from west Sumatra, and so most of my Indonesian recipes will come from him.
So I need to credit Alius for this recipe – and we’re working on a vegan version of rendang! Rendang Nangka! Watch this space – it’ll be a corker!
So what can we say about this dish? Well firstly, people from west Sumatra eat their food very spicy! They really like chilli in their food – do not for one minute think you have to put this many chillies in – we do, because we don’t mind the heat. For tips and tricks about working with chillies, click on the link.
You may note that I’ve suggested fermented bean paste as an optional ingredient. This is to replace shrimp paste that is commonly used in south Asian cuisine. Fermented bean paste is easy to pick up in Asian supermarkets, especially Chinese and Oriental supermarkets – there are many different types, you could experiment with one that you like.
The suggestion of putting deep fried shallots on top is simply a suggestion. If you go to a Chinese or Asian supermarket, you can easily pick up tubs of crispy fried shallots or garlic (either would work). In Indonesia, they like to sprinkle their rice with this, and it just gives it an extra texture.
You’ll also find many recipes where a fried egg is placed on top – it gives the dish protein, which can be easily lost in vegan recipes. If you’re an ovo-vegetarian, then this is an option, but for vegans – why not stir in a few cubes of tofu or tempeh?
Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
- 10 green chillis Thai Birds Eye chilli, deseeded and deveined for a milder flavour
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 small shallots or 1 medium white onion, chopped
- Bunch spring onions also known as scallions; chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt course grain
- 4 cm ginger peeled
- Leftover rice or cook 400g basmati rice
- 2 tbsp Kecap manis sweet soya sauce - if you can't get it, use standard soya sauce and add a tsp palm sugar
- 2 tbsp oil such as rapeseed oil or canola oil
- 1 tbsp fermented bean paste optional
- 2 kaffir lime leaves or use finely grated zest of one half lime, one half lemon
- In a pestal and mortar, grind down the garlic, shallots, ginger, chilli, and salt to a paste
- Heat the oil in a pan and saute the paste
- Add the lime leaves or zest, whichever you're using. As the oils separate from the paste, add the spring onion, bean paste (if using) and rice. Keep stirring the rice to avoid it sticking to the bottom.
- Add the kecap manis or soya sauce.
- Fry until the rice starts to turn colour and is hot all the way through (recooked rice must be cooked very well)
- Serve with a scattering of deep-fried shallot. You can also dress the nasi goreng with a well done fried egg if non-vegan.
Seb is a nutritionist registered with the Association for Nutrition and a writer specialising in plant-based nutrition and men’s health. He graduated from Chester University with a masters degree in human nutrition and loves discovering new and vibrant plant-based recipes.