Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nasi Goreng

A few years back, I got it into my head that I wanted to learn about Southeast Asian cooking after watching an episode of No Reservations on which Anthony Bourdain traveled to Laos.  So I was absolutely pleased to receive the book, Southeast Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden.  However, my pleasure soon wore off as I looked through the recipes and 60+ pages in the beginning of the book on ingredients.  I think I made one simple recipe and put the book back on the shelf to collect dust until I got the ambition to crack it again or take to the Good Will, whatever came first....rsrs
Fast forward a few years when I meet a guy online from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.  Whenever I meet someone from another country (or even another US city) the conversation ultimately gets around to the subject of food.  (Usually, sooner than later.)  And this meeting was no different.  The first dishes my friend told me about were pretty exotic and would put more than just a few westerners off as they include dried whole anchovies.  I was a little put off at first as the fish were staring back at me.  Even so, the taste was absolutely delicious now I am completely hooked on Malaysian food.
OK, I know you are already thinking to yourself that Nasi Goreng is Indonesian and not Malaysian.  That may be true but it is eaten in Malaysia as well as is Indian food, Chinese food and the list goes on.  There are many many influences in Malaysian cuisine.
It took me a while to locate the Javanese soy sauce as 1.) it was not labeled as such and 2.) the people at the Southeast Asian markets I went to had never heard of it.  Luckily, someone was willing to go online and do a little research and find out what it was and, as luck would have it, locate it on the shelf.  (Now if he can only find me some Kerutut spice!)

A note about the rice.  The recipe I used does not specify what kind of rice to use but my friend in KL says to use Jasmine rice from Thailand.  The consistency is different than regular long grain rice so don't expect Chinese take-out style fried rice...  Expect something many times better!

Nasi Goreng

3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
8 oz rump steak or chicken, cut into thin strips
3 cups cold rice
1 1/2 tablespoons Javanese soy sauce (sweet soy sauce, kecap manis)
1 1/2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
Fried onion flakes for garnish
1 fried egg per person
Shrimp crackers
Tomato slices
Cucumber slices

Spice Paste:|
4 medium red chilies, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and then chopped
1/2 teaspoon of shrimp paste or miso
2 cloves garlic
5 shallots sliced

Process the spice paste ingredients into a rough paste. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan and fry the paste for a few minutes. Add the beef and stir -fry until just cooked. Add the rice and mix well adding more oil if needed. Add the soy sauces and stir until all the rice is coated.
Serve with a fried egg (soft yolk) on each serving and the garnishes. Serve the crackers in a bowl for each person to serve himself.

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