Nasi Goreng Recipe (Indonesian Fried Rice)
Nasi goreng, also known as Indonesian fried rice, is a beloved and popular dish in Southeast Asian cuisine. This authentic nasi goreng recipe consists of deliciously spiced fried rice, seasoned with sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis) and shrimp paste, and often served with a fried egg on top.
Preparing Nasi Goreng brought back cherished memories of our trip to Indonesia, a country renowned for its vibrant and colorful cuisine.
During our vacation in Bali and Ubud, my family savored the diverse traditional Indonesian dishes, and Nasi Goreng was a constant presence on our dining table, never losing its appeal.
Fortunately, I had the privilege of learning to cook authentic Nasi Goreng from Utari, an Indonesian girl who lived with us, and my whole family adored her cooking.
Whenever we had leftover rice in the fridge, she would whip up her famous vegetable curry (Sayure Lodeh) and Nasi Goreng, which have remained a cherished part of our gastronomic experiences to this day.
This Nasi Goreng recipe, passed down from Utari, is surprisingly easy to make at home and will undoubtedly impress you.
What is Nasi Goreng?
Nasi Goreng, a popular dish in Indonesian cuisine, translates to “fried rice” in English. In contrast, Mi Goreng is a similar dish made with fried noodles.
This spicy fried rice is renowned not only in Indonesia but also throughout Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, for its distinct use of Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce) and Belachan or Terasi (shrimp paste), which provide a unique sweet-savory and spicy taste, as well as a rich umami flavor.
One of the most prominent characteristics of Nasi Goreng is its dark brown color, resulting from the caramelization of the rice during stir-frying with the sweet soy sauce. This Asian fried rice stands out from Chinese fried rice or Thai fried rice due to its signature taste and flavor.
Essential Ingredients and Cooking Tips
Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce)
Kecap Manis, also called as ketjap manis, is a sweeter soy sauce and a staple condiment in Indonesian cooking. It has a thick syrupy consistency. The dark molasses-like flavor comes from the addition of a generous amount of palm sugar.
Soy sauce is the base and the aromatic spices add layers of flavor. Luckily you can find this tasty Indonesian sauce easily in Asian markets or online stores.
Belachan (or Terasi) is shrimp paste and another key ingredient for making classic Nasi Goreng recipe. It is primarily made from finely crushed shrimp that has been mixed with salt and then fermented. It has a strong pungent flavor and aroma.
You can make Nasi Goreng without the belachan if you prefer, but it will lack some flavor and won’t turn out as authentic as it should be.
Day old rice
You can’t succeed at making fluffy and chewy fried rice without using day old rice. Freshly cooked rice will make the outcome sticky and mushy – you won’t like that.
- Tip 1: When I make any kind of fried rice, I actually prefer using leftover rice that has been kept in the fridge over 3 days, so the moisture of the rice has been somewhat dried out. It will make your fried rice very chewy and pleasant to bite on.
- Tip 2: If you have to use freshly cooked rice, one trick is to spread the rice evenly on a tray and freeze for 1 hour beforehand to dry them out. Then rub the rice with greased hands to break the grains apart.
You will also need chicken breast, shrimp, shallot, red chili, cabbage, light soy sauce, cilantro, green onion, and egg. Fried shallot (red onion) is to garnish and it is optional.
How to make Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
Step 1. Make nasi goreng paste
In a mini blender, combine shallot, garlic, red chili and Belachan. Add a tablespoon of water for the blade to run and process everything until pureed smoothly; set aside.
Step 2. Cook protein and nasi goreng paste
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Cook chicken and shrimp until fully cooked. Transfer the protein to another plate and set aside.
Heat 1 more tablespoon of oil, add the reserved puree and fry until it becomes dry, about 3-4 minutes.
Step 3. Stir-fry cabbage
Add cabbage to fried chili paste and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
Step 4. Add rice and season
Add the rice and toss with spatula, separating the rice grains until there’s no clumps.
Return the chicken and shrimp, and add Kecap Manis, soy sauce, and pepper. Stir-fry everything until incorporated. Sprinkle chopped green onion to finish off.
Tips for Serving Indonesian Fried Rice
Indonesian fried rice, or Nasi Goreng, is typically served with a sunny-side-up fried egg on top and fried shallots (optional). Fresh cucumber and tomato slices are also commonly served alongside.
6 Delicious Fried Rice Recipes to Try
If you’re a fan of rice-based dishes, these flavorful fried rice recipes are perfect for you!
- Thai Pineapple Fried Rice: Enjoy the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors with juicy pineapple chunks, shrimp, mixed with fluffy fried rice, flavored with curry powder and fish sauce.
- Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap): This tangy and flavorful Korean-style fried rice features crispy bacon and spicy kimchi, mixed with rice and seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Egg Fried Rice: A classic fried rice dish made with fluffy rice, scrambled eggs, and green onion with soy sauce for a simple yet satisfying meal.
- Thai Basil Fried Rice: Experience the unique and delicious aroma of holy basil leaves, fresh chilies, garlic, and fish sauce in this fragrant Thai-style fried rice.
- Yangzhou Style Fried Rice: A popular Chinese-style fried rice dish made with fluffy rice, scrambled eggs, pork, shrimp, and peas, flavored with soy sauce and oyster sauce for a delicious umami taste.
- Quick Spam Fried Rice: Whip up a quick and easy fried rice recipe with just a few simple ingredients such as Spam, peas, and carrots, mixed with rice and seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil.
Nasi Goreng Recipe (Indonesian Fried Rice)
For nasi goreng paste
- 3 large shallot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 red chili, sliced
- 1 tsp belachan (shrimp paste)
For fried rice
- 3 tbsp oil, divided
- 1 chicken breast, cut into small bite size pieces
- 1/4 lb shrimp, cleaned
- 2 cup shredded cabbage
- 4 cup cooked rice, use day old leftover rice
- 3 tbsp Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 green onion, to garnish
- 4 eggs, fried (sunny side up)
- 4 tbsp fried shallot, to garnish, optional
- cucumber & tomato slices, to garnish, optional
- To make nasi goreng paste, combine shallot, garlic, red chili and belachan in a mini blender or processor. Add a tablespoon of water for the blade to run and process everything until pureed smoothly; set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Cook chicken and shrimp until fully cooked. Transfer the protein to another plate and set aside.
- Heat 1 more tablespoon of oil, add the reserved puree and fry until it becomes dry, about 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the rice and toss with spatula, separating the rice grains until there’s no clumps. Return the chicken and shrimp, and add Kecap Manis, soy sauce, and pepper. Stir-fry everything until incorporated. Sprinkle chopped green onion to finish off.