Sometimes nothing else will do but the savoury, salty, umami flavours of an Asian fried rice dish. Nasi Goreng is Indonesia’s version of fried rice, flavoured with a spice paste, fried with chicken, prawns and some crunchy vegetables. In Indonesia they eat this for breakfast with a fried egg on top. I could eat this anytime of the day, but for me the comfort factor of this dish really shines through when you’re a bit hungover. You’ve had too many sherberts the night before and your adrenal glands are crying out for salt – this is the ticket, a portion of this and say goodbye to your hangover, washed down with a cold beer of course. This particular recipe is from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey TV series.
The real key to this fried rice is the spice paste and the Kecap Manis, both of which you can get from any good Chinese supermarket. The paste is a mix of several pungent ingredients including shrimp paste, palm sugar and chillies, so a little goes a long way. The Kecap Manis is Indonesia’s answer to soy sauce, but is much sweeter than Chinese soy sauce and gives the dish that sweet salty combination. This is about as authentic as you’ll get in your own kitchen and is such a great home cooked alternative to the greasy take away muck that somehow passes for Asian food. It’s just about putting the love in to a dish, make the effort and you get the love back – cooking is a labour of love, love it, get amongst it!
300g long grain rice
100g green beans, diced
2tbsp vegetable oil
125g chicken cut into small chunks
125g raw peeled prawns cut into small chunks
200g shallots, sliced thinly
2 medium hot red chillies, chopped finely
1 medium carrot, sliced thinly
1tbsp Nasi Goreng paste
1tbsp tomato puree
1tsbp Kecap Manis
1tbsp light soy
8 Spring onions, sliced thinly
2tbsp vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/4 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Crispy fried shallots (fry 350g of shallots in oil until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt)
Put the rice into a large pot and add 250ml of water. Bring to the boil, stir and cover and reduce to a low heat and cook gently for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork and allow to cool.
Drop the beans into a pan of boiling water, cook for a couple of minutes, drain, then run under cold water to refresh.
Heat the oil in a wok or a large heavy based frying pan. When very hot add the chicken and prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the shallots, garlic, chillies and carrots, stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the spice paste and fry for a further minute. Add the tomato puree, Kecap manis, cooked rice and green beans and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Finally add the soy sauce and the spring onions, mix well, remove from the heat and keep warm. I usually cover with tin foil and leave it in a low oven, it will sit there happily for 15 minutes.
To serve, fry the eggs in the oil. Place some Nasi Goreng onto warmed plates, put a fried egg on top of each portion, sprinkle over the crispy shallots and add the diced cucumber and tomatoes to the side.