January 27, 2011

Rice, two ways: Nasi goreng and Nasi Kuning

One of the first things we prepare every morning is the rice. My mother in-law, Ibu Boni, still makes Nasi for the day the traditional way: soaked, steamed in a conical bamboo basket in an aluminium pot set over a wood fire, soaked again and steamed one last time.

This rice has a wonderful flavor, due to the firewood and the method of cooking, resulting in a delicious and perfect rice, fluffy with each grain separate; a lifetime of experience that I have yet to master.
We use an electric rice cooker and the results, if different, are quite good. Think a crusty sourdough Pain de Campagne versus a supermarket one!
When we have left over rice, Komang makes Nasi Goreng (his way) and when we have lots of time, I make Nasi Kuning (my way).

Nasi Goreng is simply fried rice, done the Indonesian way. Every family has their own recipe and way to prepare it.

Komang's Nasi Goreng
serve 2

2 cups of cooked rice, room temperature
6 oz of chicken, pork or shrimps chopped
1 cup finely sliced cabbage
1/2 carrot, chopped finely
2 pieces of bok choi, chopped
5 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbs kecap manis
1 tsp fish sauce
3 tsp kecap asin or light soy sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste

For the nasi goreng sauce:
1 large red chile, chopped
3 bird's eye chile, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 Tbs coconut oil or mild oil
some water

In a pan, place all the ingredients for the nasi goreng sauce, except the water. Cook over a medium flame until fragrant, about 5/8 minutes, add some water if needed. Place in a blender and mix until smooth.
Place the rice in a bowl, add the nasi goreng sauce as well as the rice vinegar, fish sauce, kecap manis and soy sauce. Mix and set aside.
In a wok set over a medium flame, put 2 Tbs of oil and fry the meat for 2 or 3 minutes until golden, add the shallots and garlic. Then add the rice with the sauce and seasonings as well as the vegetables. Toss around until thoroughly mixed, add salt and pepper. Continue tossing with a spatula until the vegetables are wilted but still crunchy and the rice is piping hot. Serve with a garnish of fried shallots, peanuts, cucumber slices and fried egg if desired.

Nasi Kuning is rice cooked with spices, herbs and fresh coconut milk. It is, once cooked, mixed with sambal, more herbs, fried shallots, chilies and some lime juice. This dish is fragrant and delicious and my absolute favorite thing to serve with grilled fish, prawns and duck. It is truly heavenly and you should try it, at least once. 

Nasi Kuning
serve 4
To steam the rice:

3 cups of rice, washed and drained
2 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 cup of fresh coconut milk or canned coconut milk
2 sticks of lemongrass, bruised with the flat side of a heavy knife
1 large knob of fresh turmeric, grated, juice expelled and added to the water
3 slices of fresh ginger, bruised
1 small stick of cinnamon
6 cardamom pods
3 daun salam (omit if unavailable)
1 pandan leaf (screwpine), tied in a knot (omit if unavailable)
1 leaf of turmeric (omit if unavailable)
1 large pinch of coarse sea salt

In an electric rice cooker, place all the ingredients and cook. Once cooked, un-plug the machine, open the lid and, with a rice paddle, fluff the rice. Close the lid again and wait 10 minutes.


2 Tbs turmeric, chopped (omit if unavailable and increase the kencur to 3 Tbs)
2 Tbs  kencur (cekoh) replace with galanga if unavailable
10 garlic cloves (kasuna)
3 candlenuts
In a mortar, grind all the ingredients to a paste, you could use a food processor if prefered.
In a frying pan, heat 3 Tbs of oil and fry the paste, stirring constantly until it becomes glossy and fragrant, about 4/5 minutes. Drain the oil and leave to cool.

To mix in the rice:
the prepared kasuna-cekoh
5 shallots, finely sliced, deep fried in oil until golden and drained
3 kaffir lime leaves finely, sliced
1 small bunch of lemon basil, leaves only, shredded
the juice of 2 calamondin limes or 1 regular lime
salt to taste
1 Tbs Sambal Goreng ( you could use 2 or 3 bird's eye chilies, very finely chopped)
2 Tbs Sambal Kecicang or 1 torch ginger flower, finely sliced (omit if unavailable)

Place the rice in a bowl, remove all the herbs and spices it was cooked with and add all the ingredients above. Taste, adjust if necessary and serve. Heaven!

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