Make Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice) with leftover rice! Add shrimp, chicken or both, or make it a vegetarian meal and add fresh vegetables. This national dish of Indonesia is quick, easy and full of flavour!
Nasi Goreng may sound exotic, but it is simply fried rice. It's considered the national dish of Indonesia. In a country where nothing is wasted, leftover rice from the previous day’s dinner is often turned into this flavourful dish the following day.
It's mixed with seasonings, freshly caught prawns or shrimp and chicken, and then garnished with cooked egg, green onions, and cilantro.
Many cultures have their own version of fried rice. For example, this Easy Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice boasts the flavours of New Orleans. Fried rice is spicy comfort food that is easy to make at home.
There are lots of different variations of Nasi Goreng, depending on the region and available ingredients. This one is mine. It's easy to adapt to your own tastes and make it yours!
You'll love this 30-minute meal of Indonesian Fried Rice!
Nasi Goreng in Bali
Nasi Goreng, or Indonesian Fried Rice, was our favourite dish when we traveled in Bali in Indonesia. If you've been to Bali, you probably ate it there, too! It is available anywhere, anytime, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's served in high-end restaurants, in small cafés, or by street vendors.
Rice cooked the previous day has a better texture for fried rice, as freshly cooked rice is too moist and soft. In a Southeast Asian climate of intense heat and high humidity, labouring in a hot kitchen would be unbearable. This dish is cooked very quickly over high heat. It is often served with prawn crackers.
Later in our trip, we became more adventurous in trying different dishes, but at the beginning, my sensitive stomach told me to play it safe. I chose it from menus because it was one of the few things that was familiar to me.
I knew the locals had cooked it over a high heat that would kill anything my sensitive Canadian digestive system wasn’t used to.
Ready to make a quick meal? Here's what you'll need. It may seem like a long list, but this dish is very quick to prepare.
- Jasmine rice: leftover rice is best. Cook it the day before and chill it overnight. However, if you can't wait to make this Indonesian fried rice dish, cook the rice and let it cool completely.
- broth: chicken or vegetable, homemade or store-bought, it's your choice.
- eggs: You'll make a quick omelet and cut it into strips to garnish the finished dish. I use large eggs.
- sesame oil: a little bit adds a ton of flavour!
- protein: You can use chicken, shrimp/prawns or both.
- garlic: fresh cloves
- shallots: use onion if you don't have shallots
- ginger: fresh ginger root
- Sambal Oelek: hot chili paste
- fish sauce: or oyster sauce
- ketjap manis: dark soy sauce
- green onions and cilantro
A Guide to Indonesian seasonings used in Nasi Goreng
- Sambal Oelek is a hot chili paste.
- Ketjap Manis is a thick, dark syrupy Indonesian soy sauce.
- Fish Sauce is a fermented product made from fish (often anchovies) and salt. It has a strong smell that can be off-putting, but it adds an amazing layer of flavour to this fried rice. You won't notice the odor in the finished dish.
All these seasonings commonly used in Indonesian or Thai cuisine are usually available in the International Food section of your supermarket.
Cook the rice at least 2 hours in advance, preferably the night before. Spread it out to cool. Cover and refrigerate if storing longer or overnight.
Heat a skillet and add oil. Whisk the eggs with sesame oil and salt, then make a thin omelet. Set this aside, as you'll use it as a garnish for the finished dish.
Next, sauté shallots, ginger, garlic and pepper in oil.
Since the chicken will take a little longer to cook, add it first, then add the shrimp. Stir-fry the chicken and shrimp for a few minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
Add the cooked rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
Next, add the seasonings: Sambal Oelek, Fish Sauce and Ketjap Manis. Stir until well combined, until the rice is well-coated. The rice will absorb all those wonderful Indonesian seasonings.
Finally, transfer the Nasi Goreng to a large platter and garnish with strips of omelet, green onions and cilantro leaves. Serve hot and dig in! Offer chopsticks if you'd like.
Safe Storage and Reheating Instructions
Store leftover Nasi Goreng promptly in an airtight container in the refrigerator and gently reheat it the following day in a skillet or in the microwave. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the rice before reheating.
Rice must not be left at room temperature for a long time. It can only be reheated safely once. Make sure it is steaming hot all the way through and check that its internal temperature has reached 165°F using an instant-read meat thermometer.
Enjoy this 30-minute Indonesian fried rice!
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This recipe has been updated with new photos and information to make it more helpful.
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Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
- 2 cups Thai Jasmine Rice
- 4 cups water, (or 2 cups water and 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1or 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut in ½ inch strips
- 24 large prawns, (fresh or frozen) or shrimp, peeled
- 2 tbsp oil with a high smoke point, like avocado oil or grapeseed oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tsp fresh ginger root, finely grated
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 2-3 tsp Sambal Oelek, (hot chili paste)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce, or oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp ketjap manis, (dark Indonesian soy sauce)
- 3 tbsp green onions, finely chopped
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Boil rice in water or broth or water-broth combination until cooked or cook in an Instant Pot. Rinse, drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool. Prepare the rice at least 2 hours ahead, or preferably the day before, chilling in the refrigerator overnight.
- Whisk eggs with sesame oil and salt in a small bowl. Heat a small skillet and make a thin omelet. Cut into strips. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until it ripples.
- Add the shallot, ginger, garlic, and pepper and stir-fry for 1 - 2 minutes. Next add the chicken, cook for 1 minute, then add the shrimp and stir-fry for a further 2-3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Add the cooked rice and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the sambal oelek, oyster or fish sauce and ketjap manis until rice is well coated and continue to heat, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Turn onto a large serving platter and garnish with the omelet strips, green onions and fresh cilantro. Serve hot.