Nasi goreng


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

There’s not a tourist restaurant in Indonesia that doesn’t serve nasi goreng, the umami-packed fried rice that will colour every traveller’s memories. It takes a little care to make it well, but can be undeniably delicious with the sauces adding treacly depth and a smoky edge from the heat of the wok. What’s more, it is the perfect way to use up odd vegetables (the below are just suggestions; any will do but keep them chopped small) and yesterday’s rice. In fact, it demands rice that has been cooked and cooled, which helps keep the grains light rather than oily.


  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 6 fine green beans, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, seeded and sliced
  • handful Asian greens, finely sliced
  • handful shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • handful beansprouts
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 g ( cups) cold cooked rice (about 150 g/¾ cup rice), steamed and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis, plus more to serve
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoons sesame oil

Optional toppings

  • ribbons of omelette
  • crisp-fried shallots
  • prawn crackers or emping
  • Acar pickles


Heat a wok until almost smoking. Add the oil followed by the onion, spring onions and carrot. Stir-fry until softened, then add all the remaining vegetables and continue to stir-fry to a collapsed tangle of lightly caramelised vegetables.

Add the eggs and stir through, cooking until the egg is dry and crumbly. Turn off the heat.

Add the rice, sauces and sesame oil to the wok and very carefully mix with the back of a spoon - you don’t want to break the grains. Taste and adjust the seasoning, splashing in more of the sauces if needed for salt, sweetness or more depth of flavour.

Reheat gently, turning the rice and avoiding the heat at the centre of the wok where it may catch.

Serve at once with any of the suggested toppings and spin over a fine stream of kecap manis.