Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Spicy Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng is a popular Indonesian fried rice topped with a fried egg. This spicy fried rice is full of flavor seasoned with sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis) and shrimp paste. It’s one of the most requested fried rice dish in Southeast Asian cuisine.
Making Nasi Goreng reminded me of many fond memories of the place we travelled to many years ago – Indonesia, a country full of vibrant and colorful cuisine.
My family enjoyed our vacation in Bali and Ubud and loved all the Indonesian cuisines we tried. No matter when or where we were eating, Nasi Goreng was always on the table and it never got old.
I was lucky enough to learn how to make authentic Nasi Goreng from an Indonesian girl named Utari, who lived with our family. My whole family loved her cooking and she always made her Nasi Goreng whenever there was lots of leftover rice in the fridge. Along with her famous vegetable curry (Sayure Lodeh), Nasi Goreng is a dish we still miss today.
This Nasi Goreng recipe is from her. You will be surprised by how easily you can make this at home.
What is Nasi Goreng?
“Nasi” means cooked rice, and “Goreng” means fried. So its literal translation is fried rice. Another famous Indonesian dish, made instead with fried noodles, is called Mi Goreng – “Mi” means noodles.
This Indonesian version of spicy fried rice is not only popular in Indonesia but all over in other parts of Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia.
Nasi Goreng fried rice differentiates itself from the Chinese fried rice or Thai fried rice for their use of Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce) and shrimp paste called Belachan or terasi (Indonesian shrimp paste).
These two classic Indonesian condiments add a sweet-savory taste and spiciness to the fried rice, not to mention a big hit of umami.
Another distinguishing feature of Nasi Goreng is the dark brown color of the rice stained from using kecap manis. As the rice stir-fries with the sweet soy sauce, it caramelize and adds the signature taste and flavor.
Grab these ingredients for Nasi Goreng
- 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 (Terasi)
Belachan 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.
- Other ingredients
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 spicy fried rice)
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.
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.
How to serve Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng is traditionally topped with a sunny side up fried egg (I love how the golden yolk runs into the rice!), and fried shallot (optional). A side of fresh cucumber and tomato slices are typically served together as well.
More delicious fried rice
If you enjoy rice dishes, these fried rice recipes will make a complete light meal for your need.
- All-Time Favorite Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
- Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap)
- Fragrant Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Crispy Kimchi Fried Rice with Cheese
Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Spicy 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
- In a mini blender or processor, 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.
- 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.
- Note: Nasi Goreng is traditionally topped with a sunny side up fried egg and fried shallot (optional). A side of fresh cucumber and tomato slices are typically served together as well.If you like to add more spicy kick and flavor, drizzle with sambal belachan, a hot sauce made from chili and shrimp pastes, or use chili garlic sauce.