Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)

Published May 2011

Why This Recipe Works

For a different take on a leftover classic, we created a recipe for Indonesian-style fried rice. We found everyday alternatives to traditional Indonesian ingredients and then tweaked the cooking process so that we could avoid cooking the rice the day before or waiting until we had leftover rice on hand. To mimic the firmness of leftover rice, we rinsed the raw grains and sautéed them in some oil. We then cooked the rice in less water and let it cool in the refrigerator. All our Indonesian-Style Fried Rice needed was the traditional garnishes: frizzled shallots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and an egg, which we conveniently turned into an omelet to avoid the last-minute work of egg frying.


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5 green or red Thai chiles, stemmed
7 large shallots, peeled
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or mild molasses
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Table salt
4 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 recipe Faux Leftover Rice (see related recipe)
12 ounces extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut crosswise into thirds
4 large scallions, sliced thin
2 limes, cut into wedges
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories 579
  • Cholesterol 293 mg
  • Fat 33 g
  • Sodium 1730 mg
  • Saturated 3 g
  • Carbs 49 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 7 g
  • Monounsaturated 21 g
  • Sugar 27 g
  • Polyunsaturated 6 g
  • Protein 24 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Serves 4 to 6

If Thai chiles are unavailable, substitute two serranos or two medium jalapeños. Reduce the spiciness of this dish by removing the ribs and seeds from the chiles. This dish progresses very quickly at step 4; it’s imperative that your ingredients are in place by then and ready to go. If desired, serve the rice with sliced cucumbers and tomato wedges.

1. Pulse chiles, 4 shallots, and garlic in food processor until coarse paste is formed, about fifteen 1-¬second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside. In second small bowl, stir together brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1¼ teaspoons salt. Whisk eggs and ¼ teaspoon salt together in medium bowl.

2. Thinly slice remaining 3 shallots and place in 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil. Fry over medium heat, stirring constantly, until shallots are golden and crisp, 6 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towel–lined plate and season with salt to taste. Pour off oil and reserve. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon reserved oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of eggs to skillet, gently tilting pan to evenly coat bottom. Cover and cook until bottom of omelet is spotty golden brown and top is just set, about 1½ minutes. Slide omelet onto cutting board and gently roll up into tight log. Using sharp knife, cut log crosswise into 1-inch segments (leaving segments rolled). Repeat with another teaspoon reserved oil and remaining egg.

4. Remove rice from refrigerator and break up any large clumps with fingers. Heat 3 tablespoons reserved oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until just shimmering. Add chile mixture and cook until mixture turns golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add shrimp, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until exterior of shrimp is just opaque, about 2 minutes. Push shrimp to sides of skillet to clear center; stir molasses mixture to recombine and pour into center of skillet. When molasses mixture bubbles, add rice and cook, stirring and folding constantly, until shrimp is cooked, rice is heated through, and mixture is evenly coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in scallions, remove from heat, and transfer to serving platter. Garnish with egg segments, fried shallots, and lime wedges; serve immediately.


Re-Creating the Flavors of Indonesia

No need to hunt down esoteric ingredients. The various components that give this dish complex flavors and textures can be found at your local supermarket.

Soy sauce sweetened with dark brown sugar and molasses approximates the flavors of the Indonesian condiment kecap manis.

We create an Indonesian chili paste by coarsely pureeing these aromatics and sautéing them in oil to develop their flavors.

The combination of fish sauce and fresh shrimp captures the rich,briny essence of hard-to-find Asian shrimp paste.

A thin Asian-style omelet that gets rolled into a log and sliced into spirals brings tender texture to the dish.

Sliced thin and fried until golden, a traditional topping of shallot rings adds sweetness and addictive crunch.


How to Make Fried Rice Without Leftovers

Leftover white rice that's been thoroughly chilled—essential to making fried rice—is a staple in Asian households but not something that most of us keep on hand. To condense the overnight chilling process, we came up with a three-pronged approach that produces comparably dry, firm rice in less than an hour.

1. COAT WITH OIL Sautéing the rinsed rice in oil before steaming helps keep the grains from clumping.

2. USE LESS WATER Cooking the rice in slightly less water yields more rigid grains that don't require an overnight chill.

3. REST AND CHILL Resting and then briefly refrigerating the rice ensures that it is dry and firm enough for a second round of cooking.