Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Nasi Goreng with prawns

on January 21, 2011

I’ve run out of clever (or what I think are clever anyway) titles for this blog, so it is what it is. But don’t think that my lack of imagination here, suggests that Nasi Goreng is boring or unimaginative. To be perfectly honest, it’s just fabulous. No other word describes it better. I’ve no idea if this recipe is authentic, as I got it off the wonderful Ravinder Bhogal and have never been to Indonesia so have no real knowledge on the subject. But regardless, it’s extremely tasty and well worth trying.

It’s a tad ‘faffy’. Probably wouldn’t come under the heading of ‘simple’ or ‘for those without kitchen gadgets’. But you could probably make it a lot simpler and lose the kitchen gadgets, if you’re able to find something like Indonesian shrimp sauce or Nasi Goreng paste or something along those lines – this would avoid you making your own that this recipe relies upon. With pre-made paste/sauce this recipe is a doddle.

Nasi Goreng is essentially the Indonesian version of special fried rice. But tastes infinitely better and much less greasy than the version you get from the local takeaway. It’s a great way of using leftover boiled rice, and is also good when you’re a bit skint and haven’t got much in the cupboards. I have substituted, at different times, pretty much everything in this recipe, bar the rice and the paste. And once you buy some shrimp paste from the chinese supermarket – it lasts forever in the fridge so it’s something you’ll have hanging around when there’s not much else in there!

This recipe is also pretty healthy, low in calories and full of the good fats and nutrients, and your antioxidants – and using sesame oil, as I did, makes it even healthier than it might be. If you’re feeling vege – whether that’s part-time, full-time or occasionally, just leave out the prawns.

You can, of course, substitute prawns for pretty much any other meat – white fish chunks, squid rings, chicken, beef, pork, whatever really. I wouldn’t go with sausage or bacon – that might be confusing your continents a bit too much!

I buy my prawns in bulk at the chinese supermarket. You can get big bags of frozen raw (i.e. grey not pink) king prawns for a fraction of the price you would anywhere else. They’re good quality too. My fishmonger sells the same ones but at double the price! I buy about 4 bags and stick them in my freezer. Then, if there’s no other meat or eggs or anything, there’s pretty much always prawns available. You can buy the cooked ones too at the supermarket but if you cook with these they go rubbery because they’re cooked twice, so unless you’re making salad, raw prawns are usually better.

The fried egg on top isn’t essential but it’s a lovely addition and it’s actually what Thais (and I’m assuming Indonesian’s too!) do when they’re skint, to make a meal go further and get some protein.

Nasi Goreng with prawns

Serves 2

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 red chillis, roughly chopped (de seed if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 1/2 tbsp shrimp paste (I actually prefer the chinese prawn noodle paste to the Indonesian shrimp paste in this!)
  • 1 tsp oil (sesame, chilli, sunflower etc)
  • 1 tbsp sesame (or groundnut) oil
  • 50g green beens, chopped into 1inch pieces
  • 50g baby sweetcorn, cut in half
  • 3 spring onions, chopped into short lengths (I didn’t use these – but you can add pretty much any kind of vege here – carrots, peppers, brocolli, mange tout, bok choi – whatever you have in the fridge)
  • 12 (ish) raw king prawns
  • 150g boiled plain rice
  • 1 egg, beaten plus 2 for frying
  • handful of beansprouts (again, leave out or substitute if you don’t have)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  1. If you don’t have your rice already boiled, start by doing this – it can be cooking whilst you do everything else.
  2. Blitz the onion, garlic, chillis, shrimp paste and 1tsp of oil in a food processor to make a rough paste. If using the proper Indonesian shrimp paste it will turn out looking grey-ish. If using the chinese prawn noodle paste, it will come out looking orange.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large saucepan or frying pan with high sides. When it’s hot, add the paste you’ve just made and cook out until it turns a crimson colour. It takes about 8-10 minutes. Don’t fret, it will turn properly crimson/burgundy in colour regardless of the paste you use.
  4. When it’s cooked, turn the heat down slightly to prevent it burning and add the harder vegetables (green beans, sweetcorns, carrot etc) and fry for a minute or two to soften. Then add the prawns and fry just until they start to turn pink.
  5. Next add the rice, stir well to coat in the paste and then push the mixture to one side of the pan and pour in the beaten egg to the other side. Allow it to set slightly, like an omlette, then mix up to scramble and push into the rice. Mix everything well.
  6. Then add the soft veges like spring onions, bok choi or beansprouts. Mix well again and remove from the heat.
  7. In a separate frying pan, heat some oil and fry the remaining eggs sunny side up, or cooked but with the yolks still runny. Remove from the heat.
  8. Squeeze the lime juice over the rice, serve into warmed bowls and top with an egg.
  9. Eat and savour its fabulousness.

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