The history of Nasi Goreng in Indonesia
All about Indonesian fried rice including the history and the ingredients.
The history of Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng which means ‘fried rice’ is Indonesia’s famous food the roots of which go back to a time between the 10th and 15th centuries, when Southern Chinese arrived in Indonesian islands for the first time for trading. The method used in making Nasi Goreng is what Chinese immigrants brought to Indonesia.
The Chinese liked the food to be hot and didn’t like to waste food at all. So, every morning, they cooked the rice leftovers from the night before in a wok, using the Chinese stir-frying technique.
They heated the leftover rice because by not doing so, the rive would soon spoil. Before learning this method, Indonesians would sundry the leftover rice. They made rice crackers out of it, and then grind it up into rice flour.
Although the cooking techniques are Chinese, most of the flavors used in Nasi Goreng are completely Indonesian. We can say that there is a difference between Nasi Goreng from Indonesia and its Chinese equivalents, and that is the bolder, spicier flavors and some other components in the Indonesian version of the dish including the soy sauce sweetened with the local palm sugar, shrimp paste and kecap manis, fried shallots or ‘bawang goreng’, and special crakers named ‘krupuk’.
Now that you know about the history of Nasi Goreng in Indonesia, it’s time to see what is Nasi Goreng made of and how to make this Indonesian dish.
What is Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng which means ‘fried rice’ or ‘cooked rice which is fried’ in the Malaysian language, is a dish consisting of quickly stir-fried pre-cooked rice with some other ingredients. They don’t use freshly cooked rice to make Nasi Goreng in Indonesia because it is too moist. The leftover rice has dried up during the night and is better for making Nasi Goreng. They add oil, sliced garlic, chili, shallots, and egg, chicken, or shrimp pieces flavored with sweet soy sauce and tamarind to the rice. Indonesian fried rice arouses a range of different flavor sensations. You can feel all the flavors in it since it is sweet, spicy, sour, and tangy all at the same time.
Indonesians eat Nasi Goreng at any time in the day, as we talked about it in the history of Nasi Goreng, they even eat this food as breakfast when they want to make use of the leftover rice from last night. There is a version of Indonesian fried rice to which they add dried salted fish. This is one of the most popular versions of Nasi Goreng in Indonesia.
The rising prominence of this dish has made it something Indonesians are proud of. You can find Nasi Goreng in Indonesia in almost every eatery, and they are all proud to serve their respective versions of the Nasi Goreng.
How to make Nasi Goreng
There are no standard ingredients to make a Nasi Goreng. This Indonesian food is based on rice, so as we said before, the ingredients added to it can be different. Many Indonesians use everything available in their fridge at that time to combine with the leftover rice. It can be eggs, vegetables, meat, and other usual additions.
But if we want to name the basic ingredients in Nasi Goreng they are leftover rice, finely sliced or ground bumbu or spice mixtures, a lot of shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, Indonesian spicy chili sauce, sweet soy sauce, and tomato ketchup. They might use some other Indonesian ingredients such as Kecap inggris, kecap ikan, Saus tiram, or ang-ciu different versions of the Nasi Goreng recipe.
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To make a good Nasi Goreng, you should blend certain flavor-rich ingredients such as red chili, garlic, shallots, and toasted belacan or terasi. Then heat some oil in a wok, blend the flavoring paste and add it to the oil. Fry until aromatic. You can add finely diced vegetables of your choice or boiled meat or chicken shreds. Then break the rice with a hand or spoon and add it to the fried paste. Stir well so all flavors are absorbed. Then, add the Indonesian sweet soy sauce and a little palm sugar. When all the flavors have blended uniformly, your Nasi Goreng is ready. Top the Indonesian fried rice with a fried egg and serve.