Masakan Indonesia: Nasi Goreng

We’ve all heard of this popular Indonesian dish at one time or another.  Before living in Jakarta for a short duration, my idea of Nasi Goreng was what’s called “Java Rice” – a bright orange-colored rice dish usually served with barbecued chicken at a popular Philippine chain of restaurants called Aristocrat.

Of course, when you find yourself in the land of exotic spices and heady, fragrant smells and scents,  you have to try the real thing, the thing the locals eat on a regular basis – streetfood.

I love streetfood.  I will take it anyday in any country, even if it landed me in a hospital once.  Oh, but that’s another story…maybe for another day.

The streets of Jakarta are always full of ambulant food peddlers.  Nasi Goreng, Sate in all their different versions, Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles) , Bakso (meatballs, usually with noodles), Martabak, Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish), and on and on I could go.

My favorite peddlers were the “Jamu” ladies in their sarongs, who all had that Indonesian hairdo, a low knot tied loosely at the back of the head.  They carried a  heavy basket slung by a long piece of cloth on their backs.  They sold cures in bottles and handed it to you in a drinking glass waiting till you drank the strange-smelling, slimy-looking brown stuff.  It’s all mixed together in front of you to soothe whatever ails you, a mysterious mixture of herbs and what-nots for everything you could think of.

The most amazing ailment I heard of in Indonesia was “masuk angin,” which literally means “air entered” or something like that.  The jamu ladies knew how to take care of that.  I did try their remedies.  The two I tried out of desperation worked so well for me, I became a regular customer….errr, patient….no no, client….whatever…

Oh goodness, thinking about it now, I tried most anything sold on the streets and will not hesitate to do it again.  Heck, I even tried Bull’s Balls Soup not knowing what it was! It was too rich for me….I’ll take a Cow’s Balls Soup anyday, if that’s available please.

Let’s get to the recipe for Nasi Goreng, before I take you all the way back to the old streets of Batavia…


1 lb. cold cooked rice, about 3 cups

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tbsps. cooking oil

1 med. onion, finely chopped

6 shallots, finely chopped

2 red chilies, sliced thin

1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (trasi in Indonesian)

1 tbsp. Kecap Manis

1 tsp. tomato paste

salt to taste

sliced cucumber and tomato for garnish

Start with cold, cooked rice.  Separate grains with your fingers, dipping them in water to keep the grains from sticking to your hands.

Lightly grease the pan and cook the 2 eggs to make a thin omelet.  Cool then shred. Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in the wok and fry shallots, onion, garlic, chilies and shrimp paste over medium heat until soft.  If you want to use meats, put it in now and stir fry.

Turn heat to high and add the rice, kecap manis, tomato paste stirring constantly to get it well mixed. Season with salt according to taste.

Serve garnished with scrambled eggs, cucumber and tomatoes.  I topped this one with a fried egg, nicely browned on the edges they way they cook it on the streets of Jakarta.

Indonesian Street Food Secrets: A Culinary Travel Odyssey
Indonesian Street Food Secrets: A Culinary Travel Odyssey


14 Replies to “Masakan Indonesia: Nasi Goreng”

  1. Ah, nasi goreng! I lived in Jakarta and this rapidly became comfort food, along with lots of “acar” or local pickles. A definite favorite next to Sop buntot or oxtail soup. Yum. Looks great…probably tastes even better!

  2. Marketman, thank you for dropping by, what an honor! Forgive me for gushing. But you’re my favorite blogger who inspired me to start my own.
    Truth be told, my nasi goreng wasn’t all that fantastic. But the sop buntut I made in previous posts was..ohhh, even the smells brought me back!

  3. Hi, I grew up in Indonesia and our ‘ibu’ and my mum cooked Indonesian food at home all the time. Nasi goreng, gado gado, soto ayam, sate, ikan bumbu rujak, and so on and so forth. Comfort food! I now live in the UK and have been surfing the net to find the ‘perfect’ nasi goreng recipe…this one appears to be what used to be cooked at home. For the garnish we used fried eggs or omelette strips- scrambled…this is the first. I am going to try it this week.
    Thank you.

  4. There were some strange recipes for nasi goreng on other sites – one was shown in a chinese rice bowl with chopsticks and until yours, none had the ingredient kecup manis……. now to find where I can get ketchup manis????

  5. Lynne, Kecap manis can be found in Asian grocery stores selling Southeast Asian products.

    Rupa, I hope you tried the recipe and found it close to the one you had at home!

  6. nasi gorengnya mnurut sya 1. kliatan mnarik 2. warnanya jg tdk pucat , sehinnga mengundang selera makan 3. penyajiannya jg baik dn simple

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