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Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Posting Date: 02/11/17

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice) is considered as Indonesia's national dish. Nasi means rice and goreng means fried and thus, it is translated to Fried Rice. Everyone living in Indonesia eats it at least once a month if not multiple times a month. It can be found in many restaurants and street vendors sell it, too. Originally, it is served for breakfast. It is more simple back then. Just rice with fried egg. It is nothing fancy, without meat and vegetables, such as carrot, peas, etc. Later it evolved and now you can find it for lunch and dinner. For lunch or dinner, it can be served with chicken, shrimp, seafood, etc. Vegetables are also added. So, it is a meal than side dish. You may ask what the difference between Indonesian Fried Rice and Chinese Fried Rice is. The difference is the seasonings. In Indonesia, sweet soy sauce is used. This adds sweetness to the rice. Since it is darker in color than soy sauce, the rice is normally darker brown than the Chinese fried rice. Some people also add shrimp paste when cooking it and thus, it tastes earthy. In addition, nasi goreng is normally topped with fried egg, rather than the scramble egg mixed in the rice like you normally find in Chinese restaurants. In Indonesian restaurants, it is often served with slices of cucumber and tomato on the side which adds freshness. Traditionally, nasi goreng is also made with slices of red chili pepper as 1 of the seasoning ingredients. However, it is difficult to find it in my Asian stores and thus, I omit it. I also didn't want to substitute it with sambal oelek since it can make it too hot for some people. However, if you like your dish spicy, you can add red chili pepper or 1/4 teaspoon of sambal oelek or more.

The reason why Indonesians make fried rice is to use up leftover cooked rice. Thus, this dish is better made with a day old rice. If you just finish cooking the rice, the rice is too soft and wet and thus, it won't be good. If you don't have old rice, you can use newly cooked rice as long as you let it cooled down first. In the recipe, some ingredients (scramble egg, meat, carrot, and peas) are optional. It is up to you if you want to make it fancy or simple dish. The simple one is the one served for breakfast. The fancy one is served for lunch or dinner as a full meal.

The recipe serves for 2 people.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to fry the rice
  • 3 small size of shallots or 1 big size of shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 egg. Traditionally, it is served with fried egg only. However, I like to add scramble egg mixed in the rice like the fried rice you normally get from the Chinese restaurants.
  • Optional: 1 chicken breast, 1 block of tofu, or 8 extra large shrimps. If you want meat or tofu, you can add chicken, shrimp, or tofu. If using chicken or tofu, dice the chicken or tofu to bite size. If using shrimps, peel and devein them.
  • Optional: 1 carrot, diced into small cubes
  • 2 cups of cooked rice. A day old rice is better to use for this dish. If you just finished cooking the rice, make sure the rice is cooled down first so that it won't be too wet and soft.
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons of green peas
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce or to taste. Use vegetarian oyster sauce to make it vegetarian.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper or to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • vegetable oil to fry the egg
  • 2 eggs to make sunny side up egg or fried egg
  • Optional: 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Optional: 1 tomato, sliced


  1. Turn on the stove to medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan. Heat up the oil.
  2. Add shallots and garlic to the pan. Saute them until they become fragrant. Push the shallots and garlic to the side of the pan. If used, crack the egg in the pan. Stir the egg to quickly scramble it.
  3. If using chicken, shrimp, or tofu, add it to the pan. Saute it until it is cooked. For tofu, saute it until is light golden brown.
  4. Add carrot to the pan. Saute it for about 1 min. Add cooked rice, green peas, sweet soy sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, pepper, and salt to the pan. Stir fry the rice gently so that the rice is coated with seasoning. Add green onion. Taste the rice and add more seasoning if needed. Take the pan off the heat. Split the rice to 2 plates.
  5. Heat up oil on a small frying pan to fry the eggs. Fry the egg one by one. You can fry it to the doneness you like, i.e. whether you like the yolk still runny or not.
  6. Top each plate with fried egg, cucumber, and tomato. Serve while it is still warm.

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