from one generation to the next
Australia’s place in Asia has well and truly been cemented by our embrace of her food.
Stir fried meals are the mainstay of week night meals for busy Aussie cooks and long snaking queues at hole in the wall sushi joints demonstrate our love of the grab’n’go nori roll for lunch. Hardly a suburb or a country town exists in Australia that doesn’t play host to a Thai or Chinese cafe and our major supermarket all dedicate a large amount of shelf space to Asian ingredients.
I have very vivid relocation as a young newlywed a long long time ago when British food was our mainstay, attempting to make fried rice. The electric frypan I’d received as a wedding gift seemed perfect for the task. I’d boil the rice, fry some meat and veg, dump in the still steaming rice and produce a horrid gluey savoury mass. There was no google then to help me solve my cooking woes, but eventually I mastered the technique.
I love savoury rice dishes but now find Chinese style fried rice unexciting. Nasi Goreng, Indonesian fried rice, with it’s sweet chilli flavours and fresh crunchy accompaniments is a wonderful alternative. There are no hard and fast rules about what should be added to Nasi Goreng although the sauces are mandatory for the traditional sweet and savoury kick. Remember though this dish is all about the rice so don’t overload it with meat and vegetables. A fried egg served on top of the rice is the traditional crowning glory.
As with most Asian food, the time taken to make Nasi Goreng is all in the pre-cook preparation so be sure to have all your ingredients ready before you put the heat under the wok.
I always steam rice by the absorption method. I don’t use a rice cooker, just a saucepan with a tight fitting lid. The day before you intend to make Nasi Goreng steam 1 cup of basmati or jasmine rice. This is my method.
Measure the rice in to the saucepan and then measure the same volume of cold water plus 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Put the saucepan, uncovered over a high heat and bring to the boil. As soon as the pot boils reduce the heat to the lowest setting, tightly cover the pan and steam for precisely 10 minutes. It should be barely bubbling. Turn off the heat and set the rice to rest for a further 10 minutes. Remove the lid of the pan and rest for a further 10 minutes.
The rice is now ready to chill overnight in readiness for making Nasi Goreng.
Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 chicken thigh, finely shredded
8 small green prawns, heads removed, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, julienned
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
2 teaspoons garlic infused oil
1 teaspoon onions infused oil
2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
3 tablespoons kecap manis
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup mung bean sprouts
3 cups cooked and cooled long grain rice, basmati or jasmine
2 tablespoons sliced spring onion greens
1 gem lettuce, quartered
1 small cucumber sliced
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts extra
1/4 cup ground peanuts
1 tablespoon sliced spring onion greens
4 fried eggs
Prepare the chicken, prawns, ginger, chilli, tomatoes and spring onions.
Mix the sauces, flavoured oils and sambal oelek together.
Break up any clumps of rice.
Before you begin to cook arrange the lettuce, cucumber slices and lime wedges on four shallow serving dishes.
Heat both the wok for the rice and a small frypan in which to fry the eggs.
When the wok is smoking add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil, chicken, prawns, ginger and chilli.
Stir fry until the prawns change colour.
Add the sauces and tomatoes.
Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to the small frypan and add the eggs to fry over a medium heat.
When the sauces have boiled, add the rice.
Stir to thoroughly combine.
Add the bean shoots and spring onions and keep tossing the wok contents until they heat through.
Divide the rice between the four bowl.
Top with a fried egg and scatter over the crushed peanuts and extra spring onion slices and bean shoots.