The nasi goreng recipe you can make even if you don't have all the Indonesian staples in your cupboard.

I love trying dishes from all around the world, anyone who knows me knows this about me! I’m the kind of person who would pick the thing on the menu that has a name that I can’t pronounce. Some of them end up falling into the “never again” category but a lot of them have become favourites – so much so that I turn every rock possible to figure out how I can make them out – without stocking my kitchen with ingredients that I don’t use regularly.

Nasi goreng is one of those dishes. I don’t even remember the first time I tried it, but I have made several attempts at making it at home without much success in achieving a truly authentic taste.

Nasi Goreng packs quite the punch. If you love fried rice, you will love this!

When I put my mind to something, I don’t give up. Especially when it comes to food. I would say my specialty is finding substitutes for ingredients that work just as well as the “original” ingredients, like my no-cream cheese cheesecake (recipe coming soon). This was a skill born out of necessity because we couldn’t find a lot of ingredients listed in the recipes I would look up online where I grew up (and live right now).

So, keep in mind that this is not the most authentic process you will find. But I do want to add a little humble brag that it got a big thumbs up from my Indonesian neighbour, so you know the final result you end up with is!

How to make Nasi Goreng Easily?

Let me be honest with you, this is a bit of a lengthy recipe. The cook time is just 15 minutes but there is a lot of prep involved. This is mainly because I go into detail about how to make the substitutes for ingredients like kecap manis and terasi. But rest assured, these are easy to do and won’t take too long individually either.

Please note that you can buy things like kecap manis (also known as sweet soy – a thicker and sweeter version of soya sauce) and fried shallots premade. That would make this recipe a lot easier. If you do buy them, skip steps 2 and 3.

Terasi is a prawn paste that is a staple in Indonesian homes. You can find it in our supermarkets too, and if you choose to do so, skip step 4 and use a couple tablespoons of the stuff instead. And if you have old rice, you could skip step 1 too!

If you take all these shortcuts, there is just ONE step to this recipe – you can skip right ahead to the final one!

What do you need to make Nasi Goreng at home?

Here’s the full list of ingredients you will need to make Nasi Goreng. I will show you how to make your kecap manis and fried shallots.

  • 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice, cooked and cooled
  • 1 carrot, chopped,
  • 1/4 cabbage, chopped,
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas,
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped,
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis
  • 2 tsp soya sauce
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, chili powder)
  • 300g boneless chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 100g prawns, cut into small pieces
  • 3 eggs, beaten together (plus more for frying to serve).
  • Roughly 1 cup of fried shallots

Let’s get on with the recipe!

Nasi Goreng Step-by-Step Recipe

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Serves: 4-5

Step 1: Cooking the rice.

  • 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice,
  • Enough water to cook rice
  1. Boil the water and add the rice. Keep checking to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Remove and drain once the rice reaches the stage where it feels very slightly undercooked.
  2. Spread over the large sheet pan or plate and let cool completely.
    Note: Nasi goreng is typically made with day-old rice. Since we Desis are used to cooking rice on the same day, I recommend cooking it first thing in the morning and letting it cool down completely (or even chill in the fridge).

Step 2: Making the fried shallots.

  • 125g shallots (small onion), sliced thinly,
  • Oil for frying,
  1. On medium heat, fry the shallots for about 15-20 minutes or until they turn golden brown and crispy.

Step 3: Making the kecap manis (sweet soya sauce) substitute.

  • 1/4 cup soya sauce,
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. Mix both on a saucepan over medium heat and let boil until it becomes syrupy (about 5-6 minutes).
    Note: Keep in mind that it will thicken a LOT when it cools.

Step 4: Making the paste for the nasi goreng.

  • 50g shallots (small onion)
  • 8-10 cooked prawns
  • 3 tbsp chili paste,
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  1. Put everything into a blender and grind until a coarse paste forms.

Step 5: Bringing it all together.

  • 1 carrot, chopped,
  • 1/4 cabbage, chopped,
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas,
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped,
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis,
  • 2 tsp soya sauce,
  • 2 tsp ketchup,
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, chili powder),
  • 300g boneless chicken, cut into small pieces (optional),
  • 100g prawns, cut into small pieces (optional),
  • 3 eggs, beaten together (plus more for frying to serve),
  • Roughly 1 cup of fried shallots
  1. Marinate the chicken and prawns in some salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Shallow fry them in a pan with about 2 tbsp of oil.
  2. Move them to one side and pour in the beaten eggs. Cook eggs.
  3. Mix everything together and add the carrots and cabbage. Saute for a minute (it should only be slightly cooked). Add the green peas and spring onion. Mix and take off the heat.
  4. Remove this mixture and set aside.
  5. Heat some oil in a pan on high heat (ideally a wok) and fry the prawn/chili paste for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add in the rice and mix everything to combine.
  7. Add the kecap manis, soya sauce, and ketchup. Mix to combine.
  8. Add the cooked veggie mixture and fried shallots (save some for garnishing if you like) and mix everything to combine.
  9. That’s it! You can serve the nasi goreng with a fried egg.