Asian Flavors,  Cooking Recipes,  From the books,  Rice and grain dishes

Easy Nasi Goreng at home

It’s been several weeks since I started prepping for a series of travel diaries featuring Bali, Indonesia, and I’m happy to say that apart from the video I’m just about ready to write about it now. My friend Gilbert would be dancing in his seat right now after reading that phrase because I’m a bazillion months late in sharing our travel story with you, and he has been expecting this post to go live for quite some time already. Better late than never I guess?

So get the blog into the vibe of an Indonesian/Balinese exploration, I wanted to share a recipe for Nasi Goreng. It’s practically the national rice dish of Indonesia after all. Most Asian countries would have one or two rice dishes to identify them by and for Indonesia it’s Nasi Goreng. We ate this dish a bunch of times during our meals while we were in Bali, and while this recipe isn’t an exact replica of those you can eat pretty much everywhere in Indonesia, it’s still a yummy version of the dish.

I did a little research and according to my fried Wiki this dish was created by an Indonesian, though it is also a staple in both Malaysia and Singapore. Literally translated it simply means “Fried Rice”, and just like any other fried rice dish it’s easy to put together and a tasty addition during any meal!

What differentiates the Nasi Goreng from other fried rice dishes is the addition of kecap manis to season it instead of just any other ordinary soy sauce. Since the kecap manis is a sweet sort of soy sauce it gives the nasi goreng a subtly sweet flavour and a nice dark colour. Adding a little bit of a salty punch is the dried shrimp paste, which can be substituted with the easier-to-find fish sauce. My mother got me some dried shrimp paste from the wet market once but I don’t tend to have it stocked in my pantry so I gravitate towards the fish sauce more when making Nasi Goreng. I use fish sauce imported from Thailand because it doesn’t taste as extremely salty as the Filipino patis. It doesn’t smell as pungent either but that’s just my preference. For those who don’t like fish sauce at all and don’t have it in their pantry, substitute oyster sauce instead.

Making fried rice isn’t an exact science. You can substitute things here and there, add more or less seasoning according to taste, and still you’d end up with something delicious. Heck you can take a leftover dish, chop it all up, then stir fry it with some rice and it will still make a pretty good meal! It’s the reason why I like them and have shared a bunch of fried rice versions on the blog already. They’re too easy and forgiving!

Nasi Goreng

The Indonesian-style fried rice is seasoned with kecap manis and dried shrimp paste to give it a sweet and salty flavour, plus a lovely dark colour. Top with strips of omelette and get ready for a feast!
Servings 8


For the topping

  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • oil, for frying

For the fried rice

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp paste*
  • 5 Tablespoons oil, divided use
  • 250 grams small prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 500 grams pork or lean beef steak, thinly sliced
  • 740 grams 4 cups day-old cooked rice
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons kecap manis

For the optional garnish

  • Fried onion flakes
  • Short cucumber, thinly sliced


Prepare the topping**

  • 1. Beat the eggs on a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a frying pan over low heat. Pour in half the eggs and make an omelette, then remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining egg.
  • 2. Once both omelettes have been cooked and is cool enough to handle, place one on top of the other then roll up and cut into strips. Set aside.

Cook the rice

  • 3. Dissolve the shrimp paste in a little hot water and combine with the onion and garlic.
  • 4. Heat the oil in a wok and add the onion mixture, cooking until aromatic. Add the prawns and pork and stir-fry until cooked through. Add another 2 Tablespoons of oil and heat for a moment, then add the cooked rice and spring onions. Toss until mixture is well combined and very hot.
  • 5. Finally add the kecap manis, then mix until well-combined and the wok begins to sizzle. (I like to allow my fried rice to get lightly toasted.)
  • 6. Serve the fried rice garnished with strips of omelette, onion flakes, and sliced cucumber.


*May substitute with fish sauce to taste.
**This step is optional. You can cook the omelette and slice it up in a regular way or as you wish.
Adapted from <i>The Complete Asian Cookbook</i> by Charmaine Solomon
And there we go! I kind of feel like this post is more for myself than anyone else because now I have no more excuse to not finally write about our Bali trip. The moment I pushed publish it was like a challenge to myself to stop slacking off! It’s a little frustrating how sometimes you have the post so perfectly envisioned in your head, but when you come home after a long day at work all you want to do is everything else other than spend any more time in front of a computer.

Anyway, after sharing this recipe with you, I’m feeling pretty excited about my next set of posts. After seeing all the old photos (and thankfully still being able to recollect all the moments attached to them) I’m looking forward to giving those memories a permanent space here. 🙂

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