Nasi goreng, or fried rice, is the meal I grew up eating. Mom made Indonesian meals for dinner often and Sunday Lunch with grandpa always involved a massive spread of nasi with all its side salads, sambals and krupuk (prawn chips). Here’s a fragrant version made with broccoli for you to try.
I went to Bali recently to scatter my grandpa’s ashes and can safely say that eating nasi wrapped in banana leaves, cooked straight from road-side carts, was a daily highlight. You can’t get tired of something so delicious and simple. I hope you invite this dish into your kitchen and home. Cooking it is a kind of calm I can’t explain.
400 g chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced on the diagonal
10 ml peanut or vegetable oil
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 ml finely grated ginger
15 ml sambal oelek (or chopped red chillies)
2.5 ml each of ground cumin and coriander
150 g broccolini or broccoli florets
1 ½ cups (375 ml) cooked brown rice (best cooked the night before or in the morning and refrigerated)
15 ml fish sauce
15 ml soy sauce
A handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
4 large eggs
Cooking oil for shallow frying
For the cucumber salad
½ cucumber, thinly sliced and quarted
45 ml chopped mint
45 ml white vinegar
5 ml sugar
2 red chillies, thinly sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
Heaps of fresh coriander
1. Heat the peanut oil in a large wok and fry the sliced chicken in batches until golden and just cooked through. Remove and set aside.
2. Add the spring onions, garlic, ginger, sambal oelek and spices to the wok and fry until fragrant.
3. Toss in the broccoli and sauté until bright green and al dente, remove and set aside.
4. Add the cold rice to the wok and fry in the fragrant mixture until well combined. You can of course use just cooked rice if you don’t have time and are desperately craving some nasi but cold rice fries much better than still warm, fresh rice.
5. Add the chicken and broccoli back to the wok together with the fish sauce, soy sauce and coriander. Heat through for a minute or two. Season to taste with more soy and fish sauce if needed.
6. In a medium nonstick frying pan, heat cooking oil (1 cm deep) over moderate heat and fry 2 eggs at a time until the egg whites are set and the yolks, still soft. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs.
7. Combine the cucumber salad ingredients together. This is a kind of pickled cucumber salad and can be made ahead of time and refrigerated if you like.
Serve the nasi goreng in deep bowls, topped with a fried egg each. Garnish with sliced chilli (or leave it off if you don’t like hot food), spring onion and heaps of coriander leaves. You can scoop some refreshing cucumber and mint salad on the side and enjoy in between bite fulls of hot nasi.
For me nasi isn’t nasi without a big bowl of krupuk on the table. You can buy them in any convenience store and cook according to package instructions.
I hope you enjoy this simple meal as often as I do, for a quick, aromatic dinner mid week or with gamelan music playing, fairy lights on and your friends around the table enjoying a local, light lager (if you can’t find Bintang).