Monday, October 31

Nasi Goreng - Indonesian Fried Rice with Chicken

I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to make fried rice look beautiful in a photo, you will just have to trust me that the beauty of this dish is within. It may look a bit cheesy with the tomato, cucumber and fried egg garnish, but this is how I remember it being served when I went travelling and it just sorta works. This is pretty much the national dish of Indonesia and I am sure that every Indonesian has a view on what makes the authentic and best version. I learned to make a dryish, oily curry paste and add the rice to this once it has been cooked out with your protein of choice and any number of vegetables. Fried rice does not work as well with freshly cooked rice. What I do is collect leftover rice from other mealtimes (from the pot, not from peoples plates!) and add to a tupperware container in my freezer until I have enough to cook with.  Ample for two:

Lemon grass - 2 stalks, tough outer leaves removed and roughly chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, peeled
Ginger - thumb sized piece, peeled and roughly chopped
Fresh coriander - 1 small bunch, leaves seperated from stalks
1 red chilli - seeds in or out
2 tsp roasted chilli paste
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
1 large banana shallot - peeled
Sweet Indonesian soy sauce (Kecap Manis) - 1.5 tbsp
Veg Oil - 75ml
Cooked rice - 500g
Chicken breast, 150g finely sliced
Spring Onion - 2 finely sliced
Cucumber slices
Ripe tomato
Lime - 1
Eggs - 2

In a blender add the lemongrass, coriander stalks, garlic & ginger, chilli, chilli paste & chilli sauce, kecap manis, the shallot, turmeric and oil. Blitz to a fine paste adding a little water if too dry to blend. Heat a large frying pan or wok on the stove and add the curry paste. You need to fry this over a medium heat until the paste looks dryish and the oil begins to split from the paste. Basically you are frying the paste for two reasons, one to cook the ingredients and release the full flavour, the other is to evaporate the water ensuring your fried rice does not end up as porridge. Now toss in your chicken and cook through. In with the rice and toss to heat through and coat with the spicy paste. When the rice is piping hot taste and add a little more kecap manis if needed. Fry your eggs.

Serve in large warmed bowls sprinkled with the fresh coriander leaves and spring onion. Put the fried egg on top and add a few bits of cucumber and tomato to finish the dish.

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