I grew up with this rice and I liked it, but I honestly pined for the lighter Cantonese version of fried rice. “Hey Pops, why’s your nasi goreng deep in colour and funk? I want the one like at the Chinese takeaway!”
“You serious, young Snacc Boss? This is NASI GORENG from the village,” my dad would say. “Now sit up and pierce that egg yolk with your fork and give it a hit of chilli or ketchup if you want.” Ahh, my childhood. Smiley face.
A lot of nasi goreng recipes call for day-old rice, which does work well. I use cooled rice for two reasons.
First, I prefer my rice not dried-out or stale, which often happens in the fridge.
Second, nasi goreng is not an afterthought; I’m not just using left-over rice. I want to blast it pretty much straight from the pan when I’m hungry. So I like to dry out the exterior of the rice, while keeping the inside tender. It’ll still be a bit sticky and that’s cool – you just don’t want it too wet.
Raph Rashid’s nasi goreng
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
550g (3 cups) just-cooked jasmine rice
4 cloves garlic
2 dried red chillies
2 tsp kapi Thai shrimp paste
130g peeled and deveined raw prawns, cut into bite-sized pieces
160ml vegetable oil
40g small dried prawns or ikan bilis dried anchovies
50g banana shallot diced
2 tbsp kecap manis
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 spring onion, cut into 1cm lengths (note: Rashid means the uniform-diameter tubes called “green shallots” in many other parts of Australia)
Good pinch of ground white pepper (track down Nguan Soon pepper if you can)
1 tbsp chilli oil
Accompaniments (choose your favourites)
Sriracha or your favourite chilli sauce
4 fried free-range eggs
Quick ginger (see below)
Crispy fried shallots
To make the quick ginger, pound a 2cm piece of ginger, 1 spring onion and a pinch of salt using a mortar and pestle until smooth. Balance with a splash of vinegar to taste, then spoon it over the rice.
Spread the rice out on a tray and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, pound the garlic, chilli and shrimp paste using a mortar and pestle until you have a smooth paste. It will get fragrant!
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the chopped prawns and blanch for 1–2 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside. I like to cook the prawn separately instead of cooking it with the rice, so it doesn’t release extra moisture into the dish.
Heat 100ml of the oil in a wok over medium heat, then add the dried prawns or ikan bilis and fry for 2–3 minutes, until crisp. Transfer to paper towel to drain.
Clean and wipe dry the wok, then add the remaining oil and set over low heat. Add the garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes, breaking up the mixture with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add the shallot and cook for another minute, then add the cooled rice and increase the heat to medium–high, stirring to coat the rice grains in the paste. Continue to toast the rice for 2–3 minutes, then add the sauces and spring onion. Stir and flip and stir and scrape up and down the wok.
Add the blanched prawn and dried prawns or ikan bilis and continue the wok shuffle for a few seconds. Remove the wok from the heat and add a good hit of white pepper and chilli oil. Stir through and serve with your choice of accompaniments.
This is an extract from the Broadsheet cookbook Home Made, which features 80 diverse recipes for home cooking, sourced from Melbourne's best cooks, chefs and restaurants. Published by Plum, the book is available for $49.95 at shop.broadsheet.com.au