Nasi Goreng literally translates to fried rice in Indonesia. I have had several versions of this delicious dish in India and Thailand. But the one you get in its place of origin, i.e. Indonesia is at a different level.
My recent trip to Bali consisted of eating Nasi Goreng for almost every meal. I just couldn’t stop eating it wherever I went. It was just so darn delicious! I had to learn the basics there and make it for myself.
What makes this Nasi Goreng unique?
Making Nasi Goreng is really simple and you do not really need to hunt down for any ingredients. The Indonesian addition to this unique fried rice is the Sambal. Sambal is a hot sauce or a paste made with chilies, garlic, oil, salt, sugar, and a few other spices. You can call it the Indonesian version of a Schezwan paste. You can either make your own or get it directly from the store. I used the store bought Sambal which was quite good.
I learned this recipe from a local chef in Bali. And that’s when I realized Nasi Goreng is pretty much like any fried rice. Only the addition of Sambal sauce gives it an edge.
Nasi Goreng is usually served with an egg on top, some cucumbers on the side and some prawn crackers. It is spicy and sweet at the same time. The dark brown color of the sauce comes from sweet Indonesian soy sauce, which can be replaced with regular dark soy sauce mixed with some sugar.
How to make the perfect fried rice every time
Fried rice might be a simple dish but it requires a few things done right every single time. Since Nasi Goreng is also a version of fried rice, the same rules apply to this as well.
- Always use a wok for making fried rice because it helps is faster and uniform cooking.
- Make sure your wok is really hot before you add oil and other ingredients.
- Make sure the vegetables you add are chopped finely so that they can cook quickly.
- The rice that you add to any fried rice should always be cold. Otherwise, it will stick to the wok and become lumpy.
- If you add any protein like chicken or shrimp, cook them before you add the vegetables.
- Add the soy sauce and vinegar just before you remove the wok from the gas stove.
There are obviously many variations of Nasi Goreng like every other recipe. This is my homemade version for a comforting weeknight dinner. This version is also without shrimp, and just with some moist chicken and lots of vegetables. And the best part? It’s all done at lightning fast speed in 20 minutes.
Why this version of Nasi Goreng?
- Delicious and super easy!
- Healthy and quick
- Better than takeout
- You need 20 minutes to make this
- Made with basic Chinese pantry essentials, except the Sambal sauce.
- Highly customizable!
- Top it off with toasted sesame seeds for extra crunch.
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cook time – 25-30 minutes
Serves – 3
- 200 g chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
- 250 g rice
- 50 g butter
- 8-9 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 100 g green beans, thinly sliced
- 100 g carrots, thinly sliced
- 100 g cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp Sambal Paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a wok. Add the butter and mix the oil and butter.
- Add the sliced garlic and mix it together.
- Add in the chicken pieces and cook for about two minutes. Season with some sugar and mix well.
- Once the chicken is cooked 90 percent, add one beaten egg into the oil and cook till it’s done.
- Next, add the beans, carrots, and cabbage and saute for a minute. Do not overcook the vegetables as they need to remain crunchy.
- Add the Sambal paste and mix well with the vegetables.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the boiled and cold rice to the mixture. Mix well till the rice is heated through and everything gets mixed together perfectly.
- Pour in the soy sauce and mix well until every grain of the rice gets stained in the sauce.
- Fry an egg sunny side up, one for each plate.
- Transfer the nasi goreng onto a bowl and serve it on a plate upside down, as shown in the picture. Top it off with a fried egg.
- Serve with cucumbers and tomatoes on the side.
I hope you try this version of Nasi Goreng! Super simple and easy. Please feel free to substitute the chicken with any protein of your choice. If you are a vegetarian, you can skip the steps where I add chicken and egg, and substitute with tofu and more vegetables.
Related recipe – 30 Minute Stir Fry Noodles