Nasi Goreng is a quick and delicious fried rice from Indonesia. Our vegetarian version of this Indonesian dish is served with an egg on the top and some fresh and crunchy veggies on the side. Traditionally it is served for breakfast but adding some more vegetables, makes for a great lunch or dinner too.
We've never been to Indonesia and the truth is that since we discovered Sambal Oelek which we add to almost everything and recipes like this Nasi Goreng, we are really looking forward to visiting the country soon.
What we love about this dish is how easy it comes together. You need some leftover rice from the night before, a couple of ingredients that you may already have at home, a wok, or a pan. Making it at home means that you can adapt the level of spice to your taste.
Our Vegetarian Nasi Goreng is:
- Easy to make
- A breakfast dish (can be served as a dinner or lunch too)
What is Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng translates to "Fried Rice" in Indonesian and Malay.
What makes this rice dish so unique is the umami flavors from the Kecap Manis (Ketjap Manis), a sweet soy sauce with a thicker consistency, and shrimp paste, which we substitute with tomato puree.
This Indonesian fried rice is commonly served as a breakfast using the leftover rice from the night before.
Nasi Goreng is spicy as it's cooked with chili, garlic, and shallot sambal. Some people add these ingredients to the pan finely chopped but we prefer making a chili paste or sambal so the flavors get better distributed through the rice.
How to make Vegetarian Nasi Goreng or Indonesian Fried Rice
Rice. The rice used to make Kecap Manis is Indonesian long-grain rice. As it's not exported, you may use jasmine rice or any other long-grain type of rice. When making fried rice, it's important to use overnight rice. Leaving the rice in the fridge overnight makes it way easier to cook your fried rice. Rice will separate better and won't be mushy. If you are using freshly cooked rice, place it on a baking tray and refrigerate for as long as you can before starting to cook the Nasi Goreng.
Sambal. Sambal is a chili sauce or paste. We make our own sambal when cooking Nasi Goreng. Using a mortar and pestle, we pound the big red chilis together with garlic and shallots until we have a paste. It can be made using a blender as well.
Tomato paste. Traditionally, Nasi Goreng is cooked with shrimp paste which adds umami flavor and red color to the dish. Tomato paste does exactly that and keeps the meal vegetarian.
Kecap Manis. So what is Kecap Manis and where can you find this ingredient? Kecap Manis is a sweet soy sauce. Thicker than normal soy sauce, almost like syrup, this ingredient gives the rice a lovely brown color and adds umami to the dish. You can find Kecap Manis in Asian supermarkets, major supermarkets, or online. If you want to make your own Kecap Manis, check The Daring Gourmet blog, which has a lovely recipe.
Soy sauce. Our recipe for Indonesian Fried Rice contains regular soy sauce too. It adds saltiness to the dish.
Egg. Our vegetarian Nasi Goreng is served with a fried egg on the top. The egg needs to be cooked on high heat so the outer part goes crispy and golden. You can choose to completely cook the yolk or leave it a little bit runny. To make Vegan Nasi Goreng, skip the egg and add some stir-fried or scrambled tofu.
White pepper (optional). We love spices and when making stir-fries, white pepper is always a must at home.
Spring onions and more chillis. Our Nasi Goreng is cooked with some spring onions to add some green to the dish and some extra finely sliced chillis. We love spicy food!
For serving. We serve our Veggie Nasi Goreng with fresh cucumber, tomatoes, crispy shallots, and some Sambal Oelek, for extra spiciness.
Step by Step Method
- Make the chili paste or sambal. Using a pestle and mortar or a blender combine the chilis, garlic, and shallots and pound or blend until a smooth paste.
- Stir fry the chili paste. Heat some oil in a wok or pan and stir fry the sambal or paste with the tomato paste for about 4-5 minutes. Keep stirring while cooking to avoid burning.
- Add the rice. Add the overnight rice to the pan or wok. Mix well making sure there are no clumps and the rice is getting coated with the sambal.
- Add the Kecap Manis, soy sauce, white pepper, finely sliced spring onion, and fresh chilis. Keep stirring for 2-3 more minutes and take off the heat.
To finish your Nasi Goreng, fry the egg to add on top of the rice and serve with your favorite toppings.
How to cook the egg for Nasi Goreng
Indonesian Fried Rice is served with a fried egg on the top. The egg is cooked on high heat to make sure the sides get crispy while the yolk stays runny.
You can as well fully cook the yolk. Turning the pan to a side and with a ladle or metal spatula keep adding the hot oil to the yolk until fully cooked.
How to serve Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng is normally served as a breakfast. It's a simple dish that contains a few ingredients and can be made quickly. If you want to serve this meal as a quick dinner or lunch, you can add more veggies to make it more complete.
Plating your Nasi Goreng. When we traveled around South-East Asia we realized how important is the plating and serving of a dish. It doesn't matter how simple the meal is, you will always get your food served with an assortment of ingredients on the side that are just as important as the dish itself. Nasi Goreng is not different. Serve your fried rice with some sliced cucumber, chopped tomato, and crispy shallots to enjoy this dish as a local.
You can add some freshly squeezed lime on the top and for some extra spiciness, add Sambal Oelek before serving.
Our Vegetarian Nasi Goreng or Indonesian Fried Rice is perfect for a quick and simple breakfast or brunch although you can change it to your taste.
Make it vegan. Simply substitute the egg for a plant-based protein such as tofu, some vegan shrimp, or tempeh.
Add more veggies. We wanted to keep our recipe quick and simple, but when we make Nasi Goreng for lunch or dinner, we love adding some veggies such as red pepper, green beans, carrots, or mushrooms.
FAQ and Tips
- For the perfect Nasi Goreng, use overnight rice. If you are using freshly cooked rice, place it on a baking tray and refrigerate for as long as you can before starting to cook the Nasi Goreng.
- What can I use instead of Kecap Manis? You can prepare your own Kecap Manis by reducing soy sauce and brown sugar.
- Is Nasi Goreng gluten-free? Make sure you are using a gluten-free Kecap Manis or make your own using tamari and brown sugar. Substitute the soy sauce with tamari as well.
- Can I use basmati rice for Nasi Goreng? Sure! It's not commonly used but it works well.
Vegetarian Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
- 1 red chilli pepper long
- 2 shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- Chilli Sambal previously made
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 cups jasmine rice left overnight
- 2 tablespoon kecap manis
- 2 teaspoon light soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 spring onions
- 1 red chilli pepper long
- 2 eggs
- ½ small cucumber
- 1 tomato
- Crispy shallots deep fried shallots
- Firsty, make the chili paste or sambal. Using a pestle and mortar or a blender combine the chilis, garlic, and shallots and pound or blend until a smooth paste.
- Heat some coconut or vegetable oil in a wok or pan and stir fry the sambal or paste with the tomato paste for about 4-5 minutes. Keep stirring while cooking to avoid burning.
- Add the overnight jasmine rice to the pan or wok. Mix well making sure there are no clumps and the rice is getting coated with the sambal. Stir for 2-3 more minutes.
- Add the Kecap Manis, soy sauce, white pepper, finely sliced spring onion, and finely sliced fresh chili. Keep stirring for 4-5 more minutes and take off the heat.
- Transfer the rice onto the plates and using the same wok or pan, add some oil and cook the eggs on high heat. Make sure the sides are crispy and golden while keeping the yolk runny. Once cooked, place on the top of the rice.
- Serve the Nasi Goreng with chopped or sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and some crispy shallots.
|If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram. We are always happy to see your creations!|