Quick disclaimer: although the title says Nasi Goreng, I’m not sure if what I made does qualify as Indonesian fried rice since I haven’t tasted the real thing yet – hence, there’s no benchmark. Note to self: eat nasi goreng when I’m in Indonesia. For it to be authentically Indonesian, ingredients have to be authentic as well. Case in point? This has pork in it. Despite all that, I can imagine that this is a close approximation.
But what’s interesting with this recipe is that I got to learn new things: belacan (Malaysia) or terasi (Indonesia), a common ingredient used to flavor the rice, is simply called bagoong here in the Philippines. So that’s one ingredient that didn’t give me hell. Next, most of the recipes I read online require the addition of ‘kecap manis’. Interesting fact: ‘kecap’ is pronounced as ‘ketchup’, and this is where the ketchup we know of today got its name from.
Because we didn’t have kecap manis lying around, I decided to make my own. Once again, I have no idea what real kecap manis should taste like, but based on what dear old internet has given me, it’s sweetened soy sauce. How hard could that be?
I’ve always been a sucker for good fried rice – hot and toasty with a light coating of oil. When it’s studded with other ingredients like egg, fried pork bits, peas, cabbages, carrots… (I could go on), it’s a complete meal in itself. On the other hand, there’s the simple, rustic fried rice whose only accompaniment are little bits and pieces of garlic and spring onions. This Nasi Goreng doesn’t go overboard with the toppings (only pork and egg), but because of the flavor – intermingling sweet and salty tones, this can be a stand-alone meal.
- 7 cups day-old rice
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Half a garlic bulb, minced
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- 3 – 4 tablespoons shrimp paste/bagoong gata (a sweet-salty version of bagoong which is cooked with tomatoes and coconut milk)
- 2 pieces pork shoulder or belly, sliced into small cubes (you can use chicken or shrimp)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cabbage (optional; I didn’t use this but looking back it would’ve been better if I did)
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- A dash of five spice
- In a frying pan, over medium heat, add the eggs and cook to make an omelet. When set, using your spatula, shred the omelet into smaller bits. Set aside.
- In a bowl, using the back of a spoon or fork, break the rice that might have clumped together. Set aside.
- In a wok/pan that is large enough to hold the rice, heat oils over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and fry until fragrant and lightly toasted.
- Add the bagoong and sauté for 1 minute. Add the pork. Sauté the pork for 1 minute. Add the water, cover and allow pork to cook. Stir occasionally to prevent it from burning.
- While the pork is cooking, make the “kecap manis”: in a small bowl, combine soy sauce, molasses and five spice.
- When the water has evaporated, pork has become tender and fat renders, sauté and allow the pork to brown. Add the kecap manis, and chili oil.
- Add the rice, and mix everything together to coat the rice with the ‘kecap manis’. Stir the rice to allow it to fry some more, but take care not to burn the bottom.
- Add the shredded omelet and mix well. When done, remove from heat and serve warm. enjoy!