Nasi – Indonesian Fried Rice

I’m quite sure this was the first dish I prepared for friends. I was still a teenager, living at home, going to high school. On my birthday I wanted to invite some people over for dinner. I sent my parents away but not before they gave me their famous recipe for Nasi, a dish we ate quite often at our house. Nasi, or Nasi Goreng, is a simple Indonesian fried rice dish. I still make it quite often and use my parents’ recipe as a basis. It’s one of the recipes I cherish because of all the good memories that are attached to it.

In the Netherlands we eat a lot of Indonesian dishes, an inheritance of the Dutch-Indonesian colonial past. Many Indonesian dishes have been adapted to the Dutch taste though. This recipe for nasi is not authentic whatsoever, my parents got it from an old Dutch-Indonesian cookbook (see picture). They adapted it to their taste and I, in turn, to mine. You can prepare it well in advance, the next day this dish will even taste better!

Serves 4
Action Time: 35 minutes + cooling

300 g/ 1 1/3 cup (10.5 oz) (brown) basmati rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil, plus extra
450 g/ 1 lb boneless chicken thighs, cubed
3 leeks, thinly sliced (reserve some green parts for the garnish)
300 g/ 10.5 oz white cabbage (about 1/2 small one), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cm/ 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3-4 pieces of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped, or 3 tsp ground turmeric (koenjit)
2 tsp ground coriander (ketoembar)
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
about 200 g / 7 oz small raw shrimps
4 eggs
a handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
sambal or hot sauce, to serve
cripsy fried onions, to serve (optional)

1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. Spread it out on a large plate and let it cool a little, this way you don’t end up with a soggy rice dish.

2 Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and cook the chicken for several minutes until brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and put on a plate. Add the leek, cabbage, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and coriander to the pan and stir fry for several minutes over a hight heat until the vegetables are soft. Add some salt and pepper.

3. Add the chicken and shrimps and cook until the shrimps start to lose their translucancy. Stir in the rice and stir fry until the rice is coated with the spices and looks yellowish, and the shrimps are opaque and pinkish. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Turn off the heat and keep the nasi warm.

4. Heat some oil in a large skillet and cook 4 sunny side up eggs in it. Serve the nasi in bowls or deep plates and put the eggs, green slices of leek and cilantro on top. Serve with sambal or hot sauce and if you like some fried onions. Also good with a cucumber salad on the side.

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