Nasi goreng istimewa - "Special fried rice" with sausages, egg, krupuk (prawn cracker) and pickles.
|Place of origin||Indonesia|
|Region or state||Nationwide in Indonesia, also popular in Malaysia and Netherlands|
|Main ingredient(s)||Fried rice with meats, vegetables and spices, usually seasoned with sweet soy sauce|
|Variations||Rich variations across Indonesia|
Nasi goreng, literally meaning "fried rice" in Indonesian, can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir fried rice in small amount of cooking oil or margarine, typically spiced with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), shallot, garlic, tamarind and chilli and accompanied with other ingredients, particularly egg, chicken and prawns. There is also another kind of nasi goreng which is made with ikan asin (salted dried fish) which is also popular across Indonesia.
Nasi goreng has been called the national dish of Indonesia, though there are many other contenders. There are many Indonesian cuisines but few national dishes. Indonesia's national dish knows no social barriers. It can be enjoyed in its simplest manifestation from a tin plate at a roadside warung, travelling night hawker's cart; eaten on porcelain in restaurants, or constructed at the buffet tables of Jakarta dinner parties.
Nasi goreng had the same beginnings as other versions of fried rice; as a safe, delicious way to avoid wasting rice. Frying the rice could prevent the formation of dangerous microbes, especially in pre-refrigeration technology Indonesia, and also to avoid the need to throw out precious food. Nasi goreng is traditionally served at home for breakfast and it is traditionally made out of leftover rice from the night before. Besides ingredients like shallot, tomato, pepper and chili, the rice is fried with scraps of chicken or beef; usually leftover from a chicken or beef dish.
Nasi goreng is often described as Indonesia's twist on fried rice. And like the rest of fried rice recipes in Asia, it was suggested that it can trace its origin from Southern Chinese fried rice. However it is not clear when did Indonesians began to adopt the Chinese fried rice and create their own version of nasi goreng. The Chinese influences upon Indonesian cuisine can be seen in mie goreng that appeared simultaneously with the introduction of stir frying technique that required the use of a Chinese wok. The trade between China and the Indonesian archipelago flourished since the era of Srivijaya around the 10th century and intensified in the Majapahit era around the 15th century. By that time the Chinese immigrants began to settled in the archipelago, bringing along with them their culture and cuisine. Chinese people usually favor freshly cooked hot food, and in their culture it is considered a taboo to throw away uneaten foodstuffs. As a result, the previous day's leftover rice was often recooked in the morning. Previously, Indonesians probably simply sun-dried the leftover rice to make intip or rengginang (rice cracker), the dried rice also could be ground to make rice flour.
Nasi goreng differs to other Asian fried rice recipes by applied generous amount of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), and the taste is stronger and spicier compared to Chinese fried rice. Nasi goreng is ubiquitous in Indonesia, and also popular neighboring Malaysia and Singapore, as well as the Netherlands through its colonial ties with Indonesia. Today microwave-heated frozen nasi goreng is available in convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and Lawson in Indonesia.
The main distinctions of Indonesian fried rice compared to its Chinese and other Asian counterparts was mainly the application of sweet soy sauce and other ingredients which is popular in other Asian countries also, and the preference of stronger and spicier taste. Indonesian Nasi Goreng often includes krupuk and bawang goreng (fried shallots) or (fried onions) to give a crispier texture.
The main ingredients for the Nasi Goreng include pre-cooked rice, sweet soy sauce, salt, garlic, shallot, chilli pepper, spring onions, nutmeg, turmeric, vegetable oil, onions, palm sugar, ginger garlic paste if necessary, slices of cucumber and tomato for garnishing. Some recipes may add black pepper, terasi (shrimp paste), fish sauce, or powdered broth for seasoning and taste enhancer. Eggs might be mixed into fried rice or fried separately, either as telur ceplok/telur mata sapi (sunny side up eggs), or telur dadar (omelette), and also telur rebus (boiled eggs). Originally optional, the addition of fried egg is often named as nasi goreng spesial (pakai telur) or special fried rice topped with fried egg.
There is no single recipe of nasi goreng, every fried rice dish with certain mixtures, additions, ingredients, and toppings could lead to another recipe of nasi goreng. Usually, in Indonesian households, the ingredients of nasi goreng to be prepared for daily breakfast in the morning could be the leftovers of the previous day's meals preserved in the refrigerator, added with fresh vegetables and eggs. The basic ingredients of nasi goreng are rice left over from yesterday's meal and sliced or ground bumbu (spices) mixture of shallot, garlic, pepper, salt, tomato ketchup, sambal or chili sauce, and usually sweet soy sauce. Some variants may add saus tiram (oyster sauce), ang-ciu (Chinese cooking red wine), kecap ikan (fish sauce), or kecap inggris (Worcestershire sauce). The texture of leftover cooked rice is considered more suitable for nasi goreng than that of newly cooked rice, as freshly cooked rice is too moist and soft.
Some of common nasi goreng recipes are:
- Nasi goreng ayam: the most common nasi goreng with chicken, spices and sweet soy sauce, the color is golden brown
- Nasi goreng istimewa: special nasi goreng, usually refer to nasi goreng ayam with addition of fried eggs topping
- Nasi goreng ati ampela: nasi goreng with chicken gizzard and liver
- Nasi goreng sapi: nasi goreng with beef
- Nasi goreng babi: nasi goreng with pork (in non-Muslim communities)
- Nasi goreng kambing: nasi goreng with goat meat
- Nasi goreng pete: nasi goreng with green stinky beans, the combo variation of nasi goreng kambing-pete is also popular
- Nasi goreng sea food: nasi goreng with seafood such as cuttlefish, prawns, shellfish and fish
- Nasi goreng ikan asin: nasi goreng with salted fish usually without sweet soy sauce, as the result the color is paler than regular nasi goreng
- Nasi goreng teri Medan: nasi goreng with salted anchovy, specialty of Medan, North Sumatra
- Nasi goreng Aceh: Aceh style spicy shrimp nasi goreng
- Nasi goreng Jawa Timur: East Javanese style of nasi goreng, similar with nasi goreng ayam, but sweet soy sauce is replaced with tomato and chili sauce, as the result the color is red instead of golden brown. The Makassar nasi goreng also red, similar to this one
- Nasi goreng Magelangan: Central Javanese Magelang style of chicken nasi goreng mixed with noodles, it can be considered as the crossover between nasi goreng and mie goreng, it is sometimes called as nasi ruwet .
- Nasi goreng gila: lit. "crazy nasi goreng" a rather recent variation, refer to lightly seasoned fried rice topped with rich-tasted stir-fried vegetables with chicken, beef or seafoods. The meat or fish proportion may took nearly half (or more) volume of the entire dish, hence the word "crazy/gila". There are also "Nasi gila" variant which is cooked with less ketchup.
- Nasi goreng amplop or nasi goreng pattaya: nasi goreng "enveloped" in thin omelette, can be found in Indonesia and Malaysia
- Nasi goreng santri: means priest's nasi goreng, refer to a meatless vegetarian nasi goreng
- Nasi goreng sosis: nasi goreng with sausages
- Nasi goreng Hawaii or also called nasi goreng nanas: nasi goreng with pineapple
- Nasi goreng Hong Kong: 'Hong Kong-style' nasi goreng, more closely related to Chinese fried rice and similar to Japanese Chahan (Yakimeshi)
- Krupuk: various types of crackers, usually emping or prawn crackers
- Acar: pickles made from vinegar preserved cucumber, shallots, carrot, and small chilli pepper
- Sambal: chilli sauce
- Slices of fresh vegetables: usually cucumber, tomato, lettuce and cabbage
- Fried eggs: fried eggs, omelette or shredded omelette could be served as nasi goreng toppings
Nasi goreng can be eaten at any time of day, and many Indonesians, Malaysians and Singaporeans eat nasi goreng for breakfast, often using leftovers from the previous day's dinner. The rice used to make nasi goreng is cooked ahead of time and left to cool down (so it is not soggy), which is one reason to use rice cooked from the day before.
While most of Indonesian households served it for breakfast, nasi goreng is also a popular choices for late night supper served by street vendors, in warungs and also by travelling night hawkers that frequenting Indonesian residential area on their wheeled cart. The nasi goreng is most likely always cooked on instance by order per singular serving, since the cook usually asked the client their preference on the degree of spiciness; not hot, medium, hot or extra hot. It corresponds to the amount of sambal or chilli pepper paste applied upon nasi goreng. However some exceptions might occurred, the multiple large nasi goreng portion might be cooked simultaneously if the nasi goreng with same degree of spiciness being ordered on the same time.
The cook might also asked how the client would like their egg done; mixed into nasi goreng or fried separately as telur mata sapi or ceplok (fried whole egg) or as telur dadar (omelette). The term spesial pakai telur means the nasi goreng employed two eggs per serving, one mixed into nasi goreng as scrambled egg, another fried separately as fried egg or omelette. Next to offering nasi goreng, this travelling nasi goreng cart vendors usually also serves mi goreng, mi rebus, and kwetiau goreng.
Nasi goreng is one of popular dish in Indonesian restaurants or Asian fusion restaurants. It is often served for breakfast in Indonesian hotels. In restaurants, the dish is often served as a main meal accompanied by additional items such as a fried egg, fried chicken, satay, vegetables, seafoods such as fried shrimp or fish, and kerupuk (meaning crackers, also called "prawn crackers" and many other names). In many warungs (street stalls), when accompanied by a fried egg, it is sometimes called nasi goreng istimewa (special fried rice). Nasi goreng is usually sold together with bakmie (noodle with meatballs) goreng by the street vendor. They sell a simple nasi goreng with small amount of shredded fried chicken, scrambled egg, green vegetables, and served with pickled cucumber.
Some restaurants boasted their nasi goreng specialties, such as Nasi Goreng Kambing Pete refer to nasi goreng with green stinky bean and goat meat, Nasi Goreng Teri Medan, with anchovies imported from Medan, Nasi Goreng Aceh with Aceh style curry-like taste, or Nasi Goreng Udang which is nasi goreng with shrimp.
Some seasoning brands sold in supermarkets, such as Sajiku-Ajinomoto, Royco and Kokita offering "bumbu nasi goreng", an instant nasi goreng seasoning paste to be applied upon frying leftover rice. Today the modern convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and Lawson operated in Indonesia also offering prepackage frozen microwave-heated nasi goreng take away.
In the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, Indonesian cuisine is common due to the historical colonial ties with Indonesia. Indonesian migrants (or their offspring) cater Indonesian food both in restaurants and as take-away. Also, take-away versions of nasi goreng are plentiful in supermarkets. Chinese take-aways and restaurants have also adapted nasi goreng, plus a selection of other Indonesian dishes, but spice them Cantonese style. In Flanders, the name nasi goreng is often used for any Asian style of fried rice.
In popular culture
Nasi goreng was the title in Tante Lien's song "Geef mij maar Nasi Goreng" (I'll have Nasi Goreng) recorded in 1979. The song demonstrate historical culinary ties between the Netherlands and Indonesia as well as whimsically describes of how Indo (Eurasian) descent being repatriated in the Netherlands are badly craved for Indonesian cuisine.
Nasi goreng was part of the dinner menu for Barack Obama's state visit to Indonesia in 2010, where he praised the dish, along with bakso (meatball soup) and emping (melinjo crackers made from Gnetum gnemon), as delicious.
- "Nasi Goreng: Indonesia's mouthwatering national dish". Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- Crossette, Barbara (July 6, 1986). "Fare of The Country; Spicy Staple of Indonesia". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods by CNN GO.
- Gregory Rodgers. "Nasi Goreng". About.com. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Eric Musa Piliang (Sun, November 14, 2010). "By the way ... A tale of ‘nasi goreng’ — leftover rice and chicken scraps". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Siahaan, Armando; Camelia Pasandaran (November 10, 2010). "Cheering, Bakso and Friendship — An Indonesian Welcome Home for Obama". The Jakarta Globe.
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