Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Nasi Goreng

The first time I ever tasted Nasi Goreng was whilst at University. D was sharing University accommodation with a number of Indonesian students at the time. On this one day evening, the Indonesian student were having a 'get together' and cooked up a big meal, so we were fortunate enough to be given a bowlful of Nasi goreng to try. Nasi Goreng is a spicy Indonesian fried rice dish. The sauce was not made from scratch, but came out of a sachet (well we were students). I learned later that the sachet sauce contained dried shrimps, a bit like some Thai green curry sauces you find at the supermarkets. Anyway, since then I never got round to tasting a vegetarian version of Nasi Goreng or any other Indonesian dish as there were no Indonesian restaurants around here.

I was prompted to make this dish simply because I had a few sad looking cabbages sitting on my vegetable shelf, crying out to be used. So I flicked through a few of my cookbooks and decided to make my own Nasi goreng with fresh ingredients - the green cabbage, onions, garlic, red chillies (dry), spring onions and peas (albeit frozen ones) were all mine.
D had reservations, in fact he thought the dish would be a bit on the dry side, but it wasn't and in the end he really did end up enjoying it saying ‘you can make this again’. He does make me smile.
Nasi Goreng
Serves 3 - 4
For the chilli sambal
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 inch piece fresh root ginger, minced
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 red chillies, fresh or dry, chopped (and deseeded if you wish)
For the rice
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small green or white cabbage, finely sliced
200g, long-grain rice, boiled
2 red chillies, fresh or dry, sliced (and deseeded if you wish)
60g cooked peas
1 – 2 tablespoons of ketjap manis (Indonesian soy sauce)
4 spring onions, sliced (for garnish)
For the chilli sambal, blend together all the ingredients in a blender to form a smooth paste. Set aside. For the rice, heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion and garlic till translucent, then add the cabbage and cook until the cabbage is tender. Stir in the chilli sambal and mix well. Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add the cooked rice and chilli. Cook gently for 5 minutes until the ingredients look well combined. Stir in the peas and ketjap manis, stir well, before serving with some sliced spring onions. The original recipe says to serve it with plum sauce and a fried egg, but I did neither as it was tasty without. Adapted from Paul Gaylers Vegetarian cookbook.

The Indonesian students had also introduced me to what I now call a guilty pleasure: Sriacha Hot Chilli Sauce. It’s rather naughty of me, as it contains a lot of E numbers, but I do like it now and again squirted over fat potato chips, the spice kick is a guilty pleasure of mine truly.


  1. I like a little kick to a meal, Mango, and this Nasi Goreng sounds delicious. I think I saw a sad little cabbage head in the garden, so maybe I can rescue it for this dish.
    BTW, what do you mean by "E numbers" in the scriacha hot chili sauce?

  2. Thanks Barbara.
    E numbers are additives currently permitted in food within the European Union. Pretty much all readymade foods and products such as jams, sauces and cakes contain these. These E numbers can be in the form of colouring, preservatives, sweeteners, stablisisers, thickeners, antioxidants and gellings agents. Of course, vegetarians and vegans have to be extra cautious of these too, as some do contain animal products.
    I hope you get round to harvesting that little cabbage head :)

  3. OH MY GOD... I LOVE Nasi Goreng! And yours looks absolutely delicious!!! I'm envious! Am stuck in bed with swine flu and unable to cook :-(

  4. Thanks for your comment Sabrina.
    Hope you get well. Its not nice being poorly.

  5. I would suggest adding a few shallots, sliced or pureed :)

  6. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I will do the next time i make it.


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