Who likes Nasi Goreng? Rather the question would be, who doesn’t!

Literally meaning “fried rice” in Malay and Indonesian, Nasi Goreng is a much loved Indonesian specialty that we Sri Lankans have embraced and even in some cases, adapted as our own. A spicy rice that is jam packed with flavour and delicious titbits, it is no surprise why this intense fried rice became a thorough local favourite in this spice loving country.


Nasi Goreng shaped into a dome. The bougainvilleas are from the garden. They are always in bloom :)

Contrary to the popular notion, this rice is one of the easiest that can be made. I’d even go to the extent of saying that it takes tireless effort to get it wrong! There is a secret ingredient though, which most are not aware of – Chili paste! This chili paste that I blogged about earlier here is the secret ingredient that delivers that punch which makes our eyes water, noses runny but still keeps us ploughing through the dish through tear-stained yet smiley faces.


This is how the rice looks in the pan

Nasi Goreng

By January 1, 2016

  • Prep Time : 15 minutes
  • Cook Time : 15 minutes
  • Yield : 3 servings



  1. Heat a wok. Add oil and let the oil heat.
  2. Once the oil is heated, add the garlic and the onion. Let it sautee for 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the onion. Sautee until translucent. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken. Let the pieces brown for a while.
  4. Add the seafood one at a time. Let them sautee thoroughly. Add the chili paste. Mix well until properly combined. Add the sauces.
  5. Add the rice little by little, mixing it. Once all the rice has been added, make sure there are no unmixed clumps of rice and that everything is well coated. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Add more chili paste if desired.
  6. Add the chopped spring onion. Mix well.

Et voila! Your Nasi Goreng is served!

Serve with an oozy egg bull’s-eye, prawn crackers and chicken satays. My mother likes it shaped into a dome like in the picture.

The colour of the dish is a dirty brown, an indication of the richness of flavour within. It is fragrant – the prawn flavour being the most prominent, of garlic, ginger and chili paste. The first bite always gives me Goosebumps. It overwhelms the senses with the flavour of the shrimp paste coming in, mingled with the slight citrusy hit of lemongrass and a whiff of the ocean coming from the cuttlefish and the prawns. The fattiness of the chicken coats the rice with a delicious richness, with the hit of chili from the chili paste piercing through it all. The grains of rice with glides upon the palate and the chunks of cuttlefish burst with flavourful juices once bitten into. Caramelized pieces of prawn crumble so sweetly on the tongue, mingling with the spicy-sweet of the chili, joining in the psychedelic haze of flavours within. The chicken pieces fragrance with smoky nuances, deliciously moist on the inside but charred on the outside providing a contrast against the soft pearly rice. The soy sauce and oyster sauce combine together and flavour the rice with umami which in its turn amplify each component, merging it all together in one fine orchestra of senses.


Oh you simply must not forget the oozy egg! The oozy egg with the gooey yolk truly brings it all together. The creamy egg yolk counteracts against the chili binding all the flavours and delivering it in one smooth swipe as one decadent package swathed in beautiful silk hiding fiery flavours beneath.

Sigh…I could go on.

Craving for the kick that only Asian food can provide? This right here is your ultimate fix. And I am not even kidding. And it’s so easy to make that even a child can make it!

Nasi goreng

Cooking tips

  • Use a rice that has the grains separated. Ideal if the rice is one day old. Basmati is a good choice, and so is samba rice.
  • To clean the prawns, pull off the heads and peel off the body shell. You can keep the tail bit intact or remove it, I keep it on.
  • To know how to clean cuttlefish, refer to cooking tips section here.
  • To prepare the chicken, cut it into small pieces, preferably without bone (I use chicken breast) and boil it with salt and pepper. Once done strain the water and use as you wish.
  • Adjust the seasoning as you wish. We are not huge spice eaters so we usually go easy on the chili. But do feel free to add the whole bottle of chili paste if you like!
  • To form the dome-like shape, choose a small round bowl, fill it with rice and press it slightly. Once tightly packed, overturn it onto a plate. Gently tap the bottom of the bowl to shake the rice dome lose.



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