Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nasi Goreng with Sweet and Sticky Tempeh - Indonesian Fried Rice

I love rice. I think that if I had to choose one starchy carbohydrate that I had to eat for the rest of my life it would be rice. Yes, I have given this some thought, I also know what my five vegetables would be. In fact if I ever end up speed dating I think this might one of my questions along with, "If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?". I think you can tell a lot about someone by which biscuit they identify with (I would be a ginger nut). Anyway, back to the point. I have eaten nasi goreng often on our travels as if you can make yourself understood you can generally get someone to rustle up a vegetarian version even if they are incredulous that you don't want some shrimp or chicken thrown in. One of our first trips away was to Bali and I have fond memories of stopping to eat nasi goreng at a little shack on the way to the airport. It was in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by rice paddies.  Our lovely driver found it highly amusing that the spicy food on an empty stomach gave me instant hiccups (this is a seriously annoying trait my body has) and made J's nose run constantly. He laughed most of the way through the meal, all the while piling extra chillies on his plate!

Rice Paddies in Bali made for a memorable setting to eat spicy Nasi Goreng

Fried rice is one of my go to easy meals and if I am cooking rice I always, accidentally on purpose, make too much so I can throw together some fried rice for lunch. And this is the most important thing when making fried rice- always use at least day old cooked rice. Freshly cooked rice has too much water in it and so it goes mushy when you try to fry it. You can throw what ever veggies you like into the mix but I always make sure there is at least one representative from the onion family e.g leek, scallions or onion. Omit the egg if you want it to be vegan or throw in some cubed cooked chicken or shrimp if you like meat. I like this with sweet sticky tempeh, which I have also provided a recipe for.

Nasi Goreng (Serves 2)
Can be vegan. vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, meat option
For the fried rice 
Approximately 200g/7oz/1-1 1/2cup day old cooked rice 
1 Small finely chopped onion
1/4 to 1/2 of a sweet bell pepper, chopped
A couple of handfuls of frozen peas
A handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1Stalk of lemon grass, very finely chopped (yields about 1tbs)
1tbs vegetable oil  +1tsp for frying egg
2 Eggs (optional, omit for vegan)
1-2 tbs Gluten free soy sauce/tamari mixed with 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
2 tsp Sesame oil (optional)
Squeeze of lime (optional)
Cucumber, tomatoes and bean sprouts to garnish (optional )
For the tempeh
125g Tempeh
1tsp sesame oil
1tsp vegetable oil
1tbs Gluten free soy sauce or tamari
2tbs Gluten free Thai chilli sauce (I find most brands generally are gluten free)

  • If you are using egg, cook this first in the 1tsp of vegetable oil over a low heat. Either cook as an omelet and cut into strips and use to garnish the top of the rice or scramble it and mix in with the rice. Once you egg is cooked remove from the pan. 
  • In the same pan add 1tbs of vegetable oil and heat over a medium heat. Add the vegetables, lemongrass, onions, chilli and garlic and fry until softened and starting to be cooked through. Add the sesame oil and then add the cooked rice, being sure to break up any lumps.  If mixing the cooked eggs into the rice add at this stage. Fry for a couple of minutes and then add the  soy sauce/sugar mix and mix  well to ensure that all the grains get a good coating. Continue to stir fry  until the soy sauce starts to caramelize but don't let it burn. Remove from the heat until ready to serve
  • To make the tempeh, slice the block of tempeh into thin slices and fry in the vegetable oil over a medium high heat until lightly browned on both sides. Reduce the heat to a medium low heat and add the soy sauce. Stir to coat the tempeh all over and then add then add the thai chilli sauce. Keep stirring until the tempeh starts to caramelize in the sauce . A few black bits on the tempeh taste good and smoky but too much caramelization makes it bitter so be careful not to overcook. Serve warm with the nasi goreng and garnish with cucumber, tomatoes, bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime if desired. 


    1. Mmm, that looks delicious. I love the lemongrass in it :)

    2. I loved the theme of your blog....really useful recipes for many!