There's fried rice of the Chinese version that we all know and love and then there's an Indonesian version which just happens to be their national dish. I was first introduced to it by a Dutch/Canadian friend Linda, who gifted me with a cookbook called "Let's Go Dutch" that has a couple of recipes for the stuff, and thus the inspiration. It somehow made more sense last week when I was planning this week's menus but unfortunately the timing could have been better as the country has just suffered through another earthquake and resulting tsunami.
Beginning with a little bacon for extra flavor, this dish includes onion, celery and tomatoes along with some chopped prawns. It's spiced up with Sambal Oelek (crushed preserved red peppers), sweetened with brown sugar and finished with a glug of Ketjap Manis although I have to admit I also added a spice packet especially for Nasi Goreng that I was able to pick up at our local Asian Supermarket.
Oh, in case you're wondering Ketjap Manis (also known as Kecap Manis), as defined by epicurious.com/tools is " an intensely dark brown, syrupy-thick Indonesian sauce similar to, but with a sweeter, more complex flavor than, soy sauce. Kecap manis is sweetened with palm sugar ...and seasoned with various ingredients, which generally include garlic and star anise." You should be able to find it at your local Asian market, although I've noticed that Fry's also carries it as does Cost Market. Believe you me the stuff is quite addictive and you'll want to use it in place of regular soy sauce in marinades or stir frys too. It's pretty yummy stuff - kind of like Hoisin sauce mixed with soy sauce.
It is traditional to place a fried egg on top of each serving of Nasi Goreng and that's what we did; however some recipes call for eggs cooked omelet style and shredded into the rice while others call for none at all, so it's definitely up to you whether you include them or not. Quite truthfully, we could have done without the egg.
As you can see, we also munched on gorgeous fresh organic grown butter lettuce, purchased from Sprouts. If you can believe it, it came with the roots and dirt still attached! Served with a fabulous peanut sauce, you don't know what you're missing if you haven't tried eating butter lettuce this way. As for the Nasi Goreng - well, sorry to say sometimes the memory of something is better than the actual. In this case the "edibility" was purely due to tons of peanut sauce and Ketjap Manis. That's why the recipe you see below is for the peanut sauce only. Oh well - ya' win some, ya lose some!
Peanut Sauce (adapted from Idaho a la Carte))
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Assemble all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, whisking to blend well. Store in refrigerator and warm slightly before serving.