I have two distinct memories of Malaysia. The first is of a group of locals rolling about with laughter at Ben (my now husband) literally melting in the heat as we crossed the border. They had never seen such a sweaty man and it was very funny. The other is of eating Nasi goreng at the train station in Kuala Lumpur. It was just a cheap canteen type place but it was delicious – then again anything served with an egg on top usually is.
Nasi goreng basically means ‘fried rice’ and with such a generic title it’s no wonder that there are seemingly infinite recipes for it on the internet. Some are very complicated and involve lots of specialty ingredients (if you don’t believe me see Rick Stein’s recipe on the BBC food website which was enough to send me into a mild panic).
This version is adapted from one in my ‘Essential Asian Cookbook’. It is fairly simple but has the characteristic sweet and salty flavour which makes it taste fairly authentic.
- About 225g of prawns (raw or cooked)
- Cooked and cooled rice (half a pint raw weight, see my post Nice Rice)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons of kecap manis (they sell this in the ingredients section of Tesco now, it’s basically a very sweet soy sauce and if you can’t get hold of it just use an additional tablespoon of soy mixed with ½ tablespoon of sugar instead)
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- Some groundnut oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 red chillies, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds (or ground coriander)
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
Omelette garnish (to serve)
- 2 eggs
- A pinch of salt
- ½ a cucumber finely sliced length ways (to serve)
First make the omelette garnish. Beat the eggs until foamy and add a pinch of salt. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan. Put half the egg mixture in the pan and swirl around until you have a very thin layer of egg. When set (about 1 minute) flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture. Roll both omelettes up tightly and cut into fine strips. Set aside.
Put all the ingredients for the spice paste into a food processor or pestle and mortar and grind or pound until you have a fine paste.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok until smoking. Add the spice paste and cook for a minute, then add the prawns and stir fry until warmed or cooked through (this will depend on whether you are using cooked or raw prawns).
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and then tip in the rice and cook until it’s heated through, stirring regularly to break up any lumps.
Then add the soy sauce, kecap manis and spring onions and stir fry for another minute.
Serve with the sliced cucumber and thinly sliced omelette.
Note: If you like you could use finely sliced chicken breast or rump steak instead of prawns. You could also substitute the omelette strips for a fried egg. Crispy fried onions as a garnish are also nice if you can be bothered.