Thursday, 8 September 2011

Nasi Goreng "Special" (Malay Sambal Fried Rice)

Nasi goreng's just fried rice in Malay. Unlike the Chinese egg fried rice that more people are familiar with, the egg is fried on the side. It's an optional thing, fried egg just makes this nasi goreng "special". In other words, this fried rice is bare. No chicken or prawns or diced carrots and peas, though of course, you can definitely pimp it up for a super special version.

But you really don't need to. Fried rice was always a quick, easy, tasty and cheap way to use up leftover rice. The homemade sambal tumis (belachan chilli paste), kecap manis (thick sweet soy sauce), tomato paste, and of course, the 'breath of the wok' make nasi goreng very fragrant and more-ish, and is my favourite type of fried rice among the many many types in Singapore.

Fried rice was one of the first things I cooked that was more than borderline edible, so I would say it isn't difficult to get right:
1. Use leftover cold rice (cook rice, fluff up then keep overnight in the fridge). Fresh rice is warm and moist and clumps together.
2. Don't overcrowd the wok/pan, you'll end up with a cooked, half-cooked, and over-cooked mix.
3. A hot hot wok.

Nasi Goreng "Special" (Malay Sambal Fried Rice)
serves 2-3
2 cups of cold cooked long grain rice (jasmine and basmati are good choices for fluffy, separate rice.)
2-3 shallots, chopped finely
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp of kecap manis (or 2 tbsp of soy sauce + 2 tbsp molasses)
2-3 tbsp sambal tumis
2 tsp tomato puree or ketchup
2 tbsp groundnut oil/unrefined palm oil/coconut oil

To serve
2 eggs, fried till edges are crispy (for "special")
1/2 cucumber, sliced
small handful crispy fried shallots
2 spring onion, chopped

1. Heat wok over high heat, add the oil, swirl to coat bottom of wok. Once oil is hot, add the shallots and garlic and stirfry quickly for a few seconds till fragrant.
2. Add the sambal tumis and fry for a while too till fragrant.
3. Add the rice and mix well, breaking up clumps with your spatula.
4. Add the rest of the seasonings, stir-fry for about 3 min more till the mixture is well-combined. Stir in half of the spring onions, remove from heat.
5. Serve with fried egg and cucumber on the side, top with crispy fried shallots and remaining spring onions (and more sambal chilli if you're Singaporean!)

Sambal chilli makes everything taste good, so nasi goreng is no different, especially with all its accompaniments (fried shallots are not optional). The main star though, is still the rice- each separate grain of rice is coated with the spicy chilli, salty belachan, plus sweet soy sauce and savoury tomato. And if it's still not special enough, there's that fried egg on the top. No one resists a runny golden yolk.


  1. my favourite! yum yum!! I didn't know the egg went on the side...

  2. Mmmm, I can hardly wait until I have some leftover rice. As a student, how do you find time to be such a good blogger?

  3. This looks great Shu Han!
    I can taste the flavour! Yum :)

  4. I definitely like the special touch. The fried egg!

  5. a "big' wow for this "special" Nasi goreng. This really looks so mouth-watering. If I were at your house while you made this dish, you wouldn't have had the opportunity to take these pictures... because i would have already eaten the whole thing before that!

  6. Thank you for your comment on my gravlax. You should not be afraid of it. It is "cooked" by the salt and should not be thought of as being raw. Give it a try sometime.

  7. I have made Nasi Goreng many times, but have never thought of even trying it if I didn't have at least some chicken. This is something I could do just any time! And I do have leftover rice quite often. And of course I love fried eggs (I swear I haven't stolen the idea!). Thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. As an Indonesian, who's sure that Nasi goreng's ours, I approve your recipe! ;D
    Seriously, you've got the essentials right. And the rest is just to add whatever suits the mood.

  9. I can feel both of us almost have the same tastebuds, I like anything with sambal! Never try this simple and yummy fried rice before , thanks for the inspiration.

  10. This sure looks so appetising! Clever girl!

  11. victoria: you can also fry it with the egg, or with chicken or prawns or vegetables for that matter, but the most basic fried rice is just fried rice ;)

    stephen: hey fried rice is the standby food of a student! haha cheap, fast, easy, yummy! and thanks for the gravlax tip! Ok i'll try it sometime and let you know if I don't die (:

    purabi: haha see my recipe serves 2, so I have leftover in the pan which I sneaked bites straight out from.

    sissi: yes you really don't need anything much! haha i know you haven't stolen whatever idea, EVERYBODY loves fried eggs (:

    pierre: yay, indonesian-approved! I'm glad! I would say this is more a malaysian/singaporean version though, actually i have no idea how the indonesian version is, but I would guess they're pretty close then, if it's pierre-approved (:

    sonia: yah sambal <3

    cheah: greedy girl.

    emily: thanks!

    tigerfish: yah, i love eggs, so a plain fried one will already make me very happy, with or without rice(:

  12. Delicious! I love nasi goreng and those crispy fried shallots are definitely on my list to make very soon. As in tonight! :-)

  13. I love how you arranged this! And your pictures are wonderful!

  14. hearty n irresistable...
    happy following u..:)
    do stop by mine sometime...
    Tasty Appetite

  15. I might make this tonight, exactly what I'm in the mood for!

  16. Wonderful photography and great recipe! What more can I say :)

  17. For "just fried rice" this looks amazing! I loved the Nasi Goreng we ate in Indonesia. I completely agree that the sambal makes everything taste good!

  18. what an amazing plate of comfort food you have there! nice delicious nasi goreng with fried egg on the side. i guess i'll just have to make this sans the "breath of wok" since stove in apartment kitchens in melbourne ridiculously small. looks good tho! whoever who got to eat this after you made this sure is lucky! =)

  19. Fried rice is definitely one of the easiest things to cook. One of my friends grew up on rice and soya sauce. This looks delicious!

  20. the little loaf: haha that's fast action!

    kath: thanks, the plate was a bit too small though, the egg was half out of it..

    jay: thanks, dropped by yours too(: great food!

    the intolerant chef: I hope you did!

    foodgloriousfood: thank you!

    lori: yah its the sambal, probably the most impt part of this dish. after the rice.

    winston: comfort food yes! well actually you can still get a pretty good result as long as your wok is hot, probably not hawker hot but still good!

    kyleen: me too, my friend (SWEDISH friend) eats just that when she's feeling sick. (she has a chinese stepmum)

  21. Apart from chinese style fried rice, this to me is definitely one of the tastiest way to fry rice! Love that you have a fried egg with a runny yolk to accompany as well!! Brilliant!

  22. Hi Shu Han, I'm drooling over your nasi goreng sambal right now. Its spot on.. Loving the recipe.. Do pop by ifyou got the time. I've an award for you ;). Cheers, Jo

    P/S: do collect it from my blog okay? ;)

  23. arghhh this looks so good even tho i just had dinner. your plate up is so restaurant-like too! im way more familiar with chinese fried rice tho...adding everything i can find in the fridge into left over rice :D

  24. I love fried rice. My version is more of a Chinese/American fried rice. I want to try this though, so I'm scribbling down the unfamiliar ingredients. I bet I can find them at the huge Asian market near my house. Thanks!

  25. chopin: runny yolks make everything better (:

    jo: thanks jo! I must have missed this, I'll go find it and thanks so much for giving me the award!

    phoenix: thanks!

    viv: actually that's what i like about fried rice, you can add as much/as little as you want, you can't relaly go wrong!

    mary: i hope you find the ingredients! if you can't find sambal tumis, a good chilli paste and some fermented shrimp paste (belachan) may do a good enough substitute! the rest are pretty easy and maybe already sitting in your kitchen. let me know how it turns out (: (:

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