Nasi goreng means “fried rice”. Fried rice is a dish very popular in Asian countries, especially in Southeast Asia. However, each country, each region all has their own way of cooking this dish. Therefore, fried rice in Indonesia also has unique flavors associated with Indonesian cuisine.
Nasi goreng is a very familiar dish in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands, but it is often described as “Indonesian fried rice”. Many people even consider it the national dish of Indonesia. Indonesians eat this dish anytime, anywhere. It appears from the roadside diners to even the most luxurious buffet restaurants.
Most theories agree that this rice dish of Indonesia also originated from China. In about the 10th century onwards, when China and Indonesia started exchanging together, the Indonesian cuisine also influenced by the cuisine and culture of China.
Chinese people love hot, fresh dishes, and for them food wasting is a taboo. Initial period, as well as the source of many different kinds of fried rice, nasi goreng was invented one to avoid… food wasting.
Back then, this dish was usually cooked from leftover rice and foods from the previous day. Gradually, Indonesia has created a very specific nasi goreng with their own foods and spices.
Besides the main ingredient pre-cooked rice like any kind of fried rice, nasi goreng can be cooked with pork, beef, chicken or shrimp. Others ingredients usually used are egg, garlic, shallot, mushroom, carrot, pea, nutmeg, spring onion…
There’s no common recipe for nasi goreng. In each family, this dish if often cooked from last night leftovers with vegetables and eggs added.
However, the most special ingredient that distinguishes nasi goreng from other kinds of fried rice is its generous amount of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). Spicy and pungent taste of this sauce and different spices has given nasi goreng a completely new flavor, attracting not only local people but also the guests from far away.