Nasi Goreng (Indonesian/Malaysian Fried Rice)

Today’s recipe is a quickie, mostly because I’ve written so much about fried rice already. Regardless, I though it was time to introduce nasi goreng (“fried rice” in Indonesian/Malay), one of my favorite fried rice dishes, to the world.

Nasi goreng is different from other fried rices in that it uses shrimp paste/powder (“terasi” in Indonesian, “belacan” in Malay, and could be labeled as either in the store), chilies, and a little palm sugar. The result is a taste that is pungent, spicy and sweet all at the same time. The traditional recipe uses “kecap manis” – a sweet soy sauce used in Southeast Asia – but I think that there’s enough sweetness in the palm sugar alone so I stuck with my tamari/aminos combo.

You’ll Need:
2 cups day-old rice
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp tamari or coconut aminos
1/2 tsp each shrimp paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, chili paste (or one small chili, de-seeded and finely chopped)
2 tsp coconut oil

Your first step is to toast the shrimp paste until is dries out and becomes aromatic. Five minutes on medium heat should be enough. Next, in a small food processor (or Magic Bullet), blend the shrimp paste, fish sauce, chili, and garlic. Fry each egg individually (usually until the yolk is only a little gooey) and set them aside.

Heat up the coconut oil on med/high heat in a pan or wok, and add the shrimp paste blend. Heat the paste up until it becomes aromatic, one or two minutes. Add the rice, breaking up any clumps, and stir together quickly until well blended, about three minutes. Add the tamari and palm sugar, and mix it in and continue to stir fry for another three or four minutes. It should be done by then – now just put the rice in a bowl and top it with a fried egg. You can also complement your meal with slices of raw cucumber and tomato, which help to offset the spiciness.

I should add that the Indonesians in general don’t eat with chopsticks; they eat with their hands or with a fork and spoon (a product of Dutch influence). In other words, use a spoon!

2 thoughts on “Nasi Goreng (Indonesian/Malaysian Fried Rice)

  1. Oh man, I love fried rice, but whenever I try my hand at it, the end result is some mass of oil and undercooked egg. This looks about 100% easier to make. One question! I had to google tamari, which claims that it is just soy sauce…does this type make a crucial difference in the overall flavor?


    1. Hi, tamari is one of the original forms of soy sauce; it’s made from the liquid pressed out of soy when making miso. I use it because I have a few dietary restrictions (no grains except rice, no beans, no corn) and tamari is wheat-free unlike most soy sauces. Sometimes I’ll go a step further and use coconut aminos, which is also soy free.

      Tamari itself has a sharp flavor, a lot like Kikkoman soy sauce. For this dish, sweet soy sauce is actually ideal – kecap manis, Aloha shoyu, or even Yamasa brand soy sauce would be fine. However, I have found that using palm sugar sweetens up the entire dish so finding the right soy sauce isn’t a huge deal.

      Hope that helps, and good luck!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s