Nasi Goreng: The Story Behind Indonesia’s Favourite Fried Rice Dish
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Out of all the things that we Asians love, rice is one of the topmost. Asians share a common fondness and endearment for rice dishes that are made with a variety of ingredients. From the Indian Biryani to the Middle Eastern Pilaf, Asian rice dishes have managed to win hearts of foodies across the world for ages now. The rice dishes zing with distinct flavours and are signature to the respective countries. One such signature rice dish is the Indonesian nasi goreng.

Nasi goreng is an Indonesian fried rice that is made with a variety of sauces, veggies and a source of protein. The idea of nasi goreng is that of devouring a filling and wholesome meal the first thing in the morning. The rice dish is usually made with leftover white rice as freshly cooked white rice has moisture in it that won’t give the dish the desired consistency. The signature version has sauteed shallots, garlic and chillies in oil. Chicken, beef, prawn or dried fish are added to the dish along with a fried egg that is added for more protein. Finally, the fried rice is seasoned with shrimp paste and kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce. The dish is usually savoured as breakfast as it is a complete meal. However, the deliciousness of the dish has transcended borders and has travelled from street food stalls to five-star hotels.

Legend has it that the dish was invented by the Southern Chinese when they arrived in the country in the 10th century. The Chinese preferred food that was warm and didn’t support wastage. So, they used the leftover rice from the previous night to make breakfast the next morning. The rice was stir-fried in a wok along with some accompaniments to make a complete meal. The signature ingredients in the dish are Indonesian and that’s what makes this dish unique. The Indonesian ingredients like shrimp paste and kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce made with local palm sugar make the dish one of its kind.

Now that you know the history of nasi goreng, don’t forget to bow to the Chinese while savouring this Indonesian classic.