Nasi goreng in Malay or Indonesian language, simply means fried rice, it was also created to prevent wasting leftovers during the pre-refrigeration eras. It is typically served as a homemade breakfast dish, customarily made from left-over rice from the previous night’s dinner. There are infinite varieties of nasi goreng, normally ingredients like onion, garlic, onion shallots, green beans, kangkong, bird’s eye chillies, sambal belacan, hot chilli pastes, kecap manis, tomato, tomato sauce and omelettes plus meats like prawns, chicken or beef are used. Another variation of nasi goreng is served with fried eggs (sunny side up eggs), often called nasi goreng spesial, literally means fried rice special (topped with fried egg). This gluten free recipe is also dairy free and nut free.
Nasi goreng is prevalent in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, it is notable from other types of Asian fried rice with its substantial quantity of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), it is often spicier and sweeter than the Chinese fried rice. Nasi goreng kampung is a variation of nasi goreng in both Malaysia and Singapore, the distinguished ingredient used are dried anchovies and kangkong. As its name suggests, it originated from the Malay fishing villages. Countless versions of nasi goreng are served in hawker stalls as street food, in food courts as well as restaurants in Asia. Today, nasi goreng is served and loved worldwide, with copious variations according to the chef’s preferences. For my gluten free version of nasi goreng kampung, I am using onion, garlic, onion shallots, iceberg lettuce, steamed basmati rice, chicken and dried anchovies, seasoned with kecap manis and sweet chilli sauce.
Dried anchovies when cooked are extremely delicious and nutritious, they are high in protein and healthy fats. The process of dried anchovies is the prehistoric knowledge of preserving the nutrients in fish through drying. Do not underestimate the fried tiny crispy anchovies, they are not only healthy snacks but also a nutritional powerhouse. I still have fond memories of snacking on crunchy fried dried anchovies as a child growing up in Asia.
- 8 tablespoons rice bran oil
- 1 kg skinless and boneless chicken breasts trimmed and thinly sliced
- 200 g dried split anchovies Ikan Bilis
- 1 iceberg lettuce thinly sliced
- 6 spring onions thinly sliced into 1cm lengthwise
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large red onion diced into 1 to 2cm pieces
- 3 tablespoons pale or medium dry sherry
- 4 cups basmati rice
- 4 tablespoons gluten free dark/thick soy sauce kecap manis (refer relevant recipe)
- 3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce Lingham’s
For the Marinade:
- 1 tablespoon of gluten free light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of pale or medium dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons gluten free corn maize starch
- 1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
For the Omelette:
- Rice bran oil for pan frying
- 6 extra-large free-range eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Dried Anchovies:
- Wash the basmati rice and cook in an electric rice cooker by adding number of cups of water specified by the electric cooker. Rice should be light and fluffy. Keep warm in the rice cooker.
- Marinade the chicken with the marinade and set aside.
For the omelette:
- Crack all the eggs into a medium bowl, add the salt and ground white pepper. Beat all the eggs well with a fork.
- Heat up a medium non-stick frying pan with some rice bran oil on medium to high heat. Empty half of beaten egg mixture into the frying pan, turn the heat to medium. Move the frying pan around to distribute the egg evenly, cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottom of the omelette turn slightly brown. Turn the omelette around and cook for roughly the same time. Remove omelette onto a plate. Repeat with remaining egg mixture by adding a bit more rice bran oil. Set aside. Clean pan with kitchen paper towel.
For the Fried Rice:
- Heat up the medium non-stick frying pan with some rice bran oil on medium to high heat. Pan fry the dried split anchovies for around 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain the oil in the cooked anchovies in a sieve. Set aside.
- Heat up a large wok with 3 tablespoons of rice bran oil, swirl to coat, than add chicken and pan fry the chicken for two minutes on medium heat or until chicken pieces are cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside in a bowl. Discard juice. Clean wok with kitchen paper towel.
- Heat up another 5 tablespoons of rice bran oil and stir-fry the garlic and onion on low heat until garlic is lightly golden and onion caramelised. Then add the onion shallots and iceberg lettuce, plus the pale or medium dry sherry and stir-fry for another 1 minute.
- Turn the heat to low, add the steamed basmati rice in step 1, the omelette and gluten free dark/thick soy sauce (kecap manis) and sweet chilli sauce into the wok, breaking up the omelette into smaller pieces. Toss and combine well until the rice is heated through on medium to high heat.
- Lastly, return the cooked chicken and anchovies, toss and combine with the fried rice and serve.