Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)


Nasi Goreng is a fried rice recipe popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. Its flavours are distinguished by using sambal and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). If you want a quick but unique fried rice recipe, this one is for you! 

After completing high school in Saudi Arabia, I moved to Malaysia to pursue my undergraduate degree. My family accompanied me however we had to part ways at the airport. It was the first time I was away from home and I’m unashamed to admit that I cried sitting in my dorm room. It wasn’t a conventional dorm. They were condominiums where the apartments were converted to a hostel, housing 1000s of students within the two buildings. But my roommates turned out to be very amiable and helpful, who made me feel at ease. One of my classmates also happened to join the same university and course, and with that our friend-making days were unstoppable! My family and I had a crying session before their departure, and ten years later, my parents still weep whenever I leave their side.

Our hostel had a café by the pool, which was innovatively named “Poolside Café”. I can’t count the number of lazy hours I spent there, chatting away and people watching. Sometimes we went there for a late lunch, only to stay till dinner. The Sambal Chicken, Beef Rendang and Nasi Goreng were my favourite dishes.

Malaysia has a culture of eating out at street-side restaurants and stalls, affectionately called a ‘Mamak’. They are open for most of the day AND night, and their food is flavourful and inexpensive. I can’t say the same for hygiene but we rarely ever fell ill so it couldn’t have been that bad, right?

Reminiscing my memorable late lunches at Poolside Café and late nights at nearby Mamaks, I have for you a Malaysian (and Indonesian) staple, Nasi Goreng. Its literal translation is Fried Rice. It usually has a combination of chicken, prawns and veggies, with a bit of heat, lots of umami flavour and a fried egg on top. See? Egg is good with EVERYTHING. See my Berry Clafoutis recipe to read about my love for eggs!

Two ingredients that you may not be too familiar with are Sambal and Kecap Manis. Sambal is a hot paste made of chili and spices and often with prawns. I used the version with prawns. This is widely available at Asian grocery stores and is great as an accompaniment as well as in curries. Kecap manis is a reduced, sweet soy sauce that you often find in instant noodle packets. I love this sauce so much I sometimes have it straight from the bottle. This is also easily available at Asian grocery stores and in most supermarkets in the Asian aisle. These two ingredients distinguish Nasi Goreng from other fried rice recipes so it’s worth the effort in getting them!

I make this quick fried rice whenever I want to be transported back to the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. If you crave eating at a Mamak, this Nasi Goreng recipe will transport you there. I hope you enjoy it – let me know how you like it in the comments!

Nasi Goreng
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins

A staple at Malaysian and Indonesian mamaks, Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) is one of their most popular dishes. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indonesian, Malaysian
Servings: 4 people
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken breast cut into even pieces
  • 1/4 cup prawns shelled, de-veined, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp belacan optional
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 2 tbsp sambal with prawns is best
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis
  • 3 cups long grain rice cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup spring onion sliced
  • 1 chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  1. Cook chicken breast and prawns in 2 tbsp oil, with 1/4 tsp salt for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

  2. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp oil, toast the belacan (this is highly pungent, and is optional), add garlic, ginger. Stir for 1/2 minute until golden.

  3. Add onion and carrots. 

  4. Add the sambal, followed by the rice. 

  5. Add remaining ingredients, including the chicken/prawn mixture, 1/2 tsp salt, and combine well. 

  6. Cook for 2 more minutes and set aside. 

  7. Fry an egg.

  8. Serve egg on top of rice with some cucumbers. Enjoy! 


Watch how to make Nasi Goreng

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