Chicken Nasi Goreng (Nasi Goreng Ayam)
The galangal and white pepper give it a good amount of heat, which is balanced by the sweetness of the kecap manis and the saltiness of the soy and fish sauce. The fried duck egg with a runny yolk on top is sheer luxury. With the added crunch of green beans, fried shallots, and kerupuk or prawn crackers, this dish hits all the right spots and is my favorite choice for a Friday night in.
Origin: Popular all over Indonesia
Chile Heat: Mild
Sambal Pairing Suggestion: Peanut sauce
Serves 2 as a large main, or 4 as a side
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into small, bite-sized cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3-inch piece of galangal or ginger, peeled and woody stem removed, finely chopped
- 1 small banana shallot or 2 Thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- Handful of green beans, chopped into small chunks
- 2 spring onions, chopped into large chunks
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup jasmine or basmati rice, cooked and cooled (1 1/2 cups cooked)
- 2 tablespoon kecap manis (shop-bought or homemade, recipe follows)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
- Coconut oil or sunflower oil, for frying
- 2 duck or hen’s eggs
- 1 tablespoon fried shallots (recipe follows)
- 1/2 long red chile, thinly sliced
- Kerupuk or prawn crackers
Season the chicken pieces with salt and white pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and fry the chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, add the garlic, galangal or ginger, and shallots and cook over a medium-high heat until fragrant. Add the green beans, spring onions, and turmeric and cook for 1 minute.
Add the rice to the pan, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon. Ensure all the ingredients are well combined and the rice is warmed through. Return the chicken to the pan. Season with the kecap manis, fish sauce, light soy sauce. and a large pinch of white pepper, and extra salt if needed.
Meanwhile, fry the eggs. Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once shimmering, crack the eggs directly into the oil. Cook for 2–3 minutes until the whites are partially cooked. Tilt the pan and spoon the hot oil over the egg whites until they are fully cooked (I like my yolk runny, but cook yours to your liking). Season with salt.
Divide the fried rice between two serving plates and garnish with the fried shallots, sliced chile, and fried eggs on top. Serve with crackers.
Homemade Kecap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)
I adore shop-bought kecap manis, but it can be difficult to find in some general supermarkets. This recipe makes a perfect substitute and, stored in an airtight container, keeps for several weeks in the fridge.
Makes about 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 1/2 cup palm sugar or brown sugar
Combine the soy sauce and sugar in a small saucepan, place over a medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and thicken to the consistency of maple syrup. This should take no longer than 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Fried Shallots (Bawang Merah Goreng)
I keep a jar of freshly fried shallots or the shop-bought variety in my cupboard as they are the perfect garnish for all savory Indonesian dishes. Make in large batches, as it keeps for 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Makes about 9 ounces
- 18 ounces small banana shallots or Thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- Sea salt, to taste
- Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
Toss the sliced shallots with a little salt to add flavor.
Fill a deep saucepan one-third full with oil. Heat the oil to 285 degrees F. (If you do not have a kitchen thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 40–45 seconds.) Add the shallots and, stirring occasionally, gently cook for 10–12 minutes. When more than half the shallots are golden, turn off the heat and allow the shallots to brown in the residual heat. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and spread the fried shallots flat on a tray lined with paper towels.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Keep the shallot oil in an airtight container, as it is utterly delicious. I like to stir a little through rice before serving to give a lovely depth of flavor.
All recipes reprinted from “Coconut and Sambal” by arrangement with Bloomsbury Publishing. Copyright 2020, Lara Lee.