On the letter nine it is I and I decided on Indonesian cuisine. I was fluctuating between Italy and Indonesia. Konda very badly wanted me to make Ireland. It took me a while to make her understand that I can’t do Ireland as I have already done England. She was saying England is a different country. Now I didn’t have the patience to explain the politically implications to her. I simply said my choice for Indonesia was much better!
Coming to the Indonesian cuisine, I remembered Manjula’s Nasi Goreng, and searched further to land here.
Indonesian fried rice also called Nasi Goreng (Nasi = Rice, Goreng = Fried) is different than any other fried rice. This Javanese fried rice is usually prepared very spicy with a bit sweetness included. This is achieved by using Kecap Manis or sweet soy sauce.
Traditionally, Indonesians eat Nasi Goreng for their breakfast with fried eggs served on top. So any leftover rice usually ends up as this fried rice. However Nasi Goreng is also served for lunch or dinner as well. And very popular street food infact. The rice is mostly meaty with chicken and shrimps included. To balance the spicy of the rice, tomato slices and cucumber slices are served along with the rice.
I was not sure how spicy Indonesian chilies would be, however as I was feeding my kids this rice for our dinner, I wanted to go easy on the spice.. I almost gave up on not doing it. Konda was solely responsible for pushing me and I was so happy she did.
We were alone, and I declared that this was going to be the dinner. Peddu was all for it, while Chinnu was okay in not having his dinner. I made sure he had something else, though he just tasted this time and didn’t want to go further. However Peddu and Konda went for second and third round. In fact I packed it for Konda’s lunch box next day.
I almost followed the recipe, except for Kecap manis not being with me. I added palm sugar to make up for the sweetness. Another important addition to this rice is the Sambal. Sambal and Kecap Manis are the key to Indonesian fried rice. I made the Sambal Tomat (Spicy Javanese Tomato Sambal) and have used in this.
Since I was very impromptu with planning this, I had to cook my basmati rice and dry to get hard. The rice really has to be dried and hard to hold the heat.
I used Paneer instead of Tofu and loved biting into it. I was also surprised to read that Indonesians use shallots a lot in their cooking. Their Sambal Tomat resembled our Thakkali thokku in a broader sense.
Since it was just us, I made very small portion, which was enough for both Konda and my lunch box the next day as well!
Indonesian Nasi Goreng ~ Fried Rice
Basmati Rice – 1 & 1/2 cup
Roasted Paneer – 2 cups
Shallots or onion, slice thinly – 1/2 cup
Carrots – 1/4 cup
Capsicum – 1/4 cup
Sweet Corn Kernals – 1 cup
Ripe Chilies – 2 medium
Garlic cloves, minced – 2 -3
Vegetable Oil – 3 tspl
Green onions, slice thinly/ Spring Onions – 1 bunch
Sambal Tomat – 2 tsp
Kecap manis (I used soya Sauce and palm sugar) – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Ground white pepper as per taste
If you are using cold rice, make sure you break down the rice with fingers so that rice is loose and dry. Make sure there are no lumps. Keep it aside.
Heat wok/non stick pan on top of medium high heat. Add shallots/onions. Stir fry until they start turning brown. Then add garlic and chopped red chili.
Fry till the shallots are browned, add the vegetables and cook on high.
Next add the sambal, soya sauce and palm sugar. Combine with stir fried ingredients. Stir fry until all the ingredients are combined well.
Gradually add rice and mix well with the stir fried ingredients in the wok. Taste and add salt and white pepper. Adjust with more soya sauce and sambal if necessary.
Finally add the green onions. Combine well and take it off heat.
Serve with fried shallots on top, with fried paneer, tomato slices, cucumber slices on the side.
This rice didn’t really need any side dish along with it. Since I was little safe on the Sambal, the rice wasn’t so spicy. Still it was fantastic. So if you want a really spicy rice, increase the sambal.
The rice used is mostly leftover which will be stiff. If like me, you cooked the rice the same day, make sure you atleast put it in freezer or fridge for 3 -4 hours before using. Or atleast dry it as I did under fan.