Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vegan Indonesian Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)

Indonesian Nasi Goreng served with Veggie Chips, Slices of Cucumber and Tomato, and Scrambled Tofu
Indonesian fried rice also called Nasi Goreng (Nasi = Rice, Goreng = Fried) is different than any other fried rice.  This Javanese fried rice is usually spicy hot and a bit sweet.  We use Kecap Manis or sweet soy sauce to add the sweetness(Kecap Manis sounds like KEH-chuhp MAH-nees or  similar sound to Ketchup Mayonnaise but there is no ketchup nor mayonnaise in this sauce).  Traditionally, Indonesians eat this dish for breakfast with fried eggs served on top. The fried rice is always made from leftover yesterday's rice.  Any leftover rice usually ends up as fried rice for breakfast the next day (Indonesians eat rice 3 times a day).  This dish can also be found in lunch or dinner menu or at street vendors so it is not really just a breakfast food.  It is usually meaty with chicken and shrimps.  On top of egg, the other accompaniments are usually shrimp chips and cucumber and tomato slices.  These accompaniments will counterbalance the heat of the dish.

Watch this video on how a non-vegetarian Nasi Goreng is made.  The video mentioned that Nasi Goreng is popular in Holland and a part of Dutch food.  This is true since the Dutch conquered Indonesia for hundreds of years and brought this savory hot dish back to their homeland.

In veganizing this dish, I used the following:

Rice
I use white or brown basmati rice (long grain rice is the best for fried rice).  I cooked and put the rice in the fridge the day before or use leftover rice and then break it down with hands (just like in the video).  It is really important to do this before stir frying the rice.

Meat Substitute
I used Gardein, Soy Curls, or Baked Tofu (store bought or home made).  Sometimes, I use vegan shrimp but not always.  I also love adding shelled edamame to it or frozen peas will do too.

Shallots
If you notice, Indonesian food use a lot of shallots.  We prefer to use shallots than onions.  We use a lot of shallots.  In fact, I didn't see brown or white onions until I moved to US.  In Java, we always use shallots for our cooking

Accompaniments
I used scrambled tofu as the egg and veggie chips instead of shrimp chips.  There are Indonesian garlic chips that are available that I could have deep fried just like what they did in the video but I was just too lazy to do the deep frying (make magic as the Chef in the video said).  I used these Veggie Chips (available in Trader Joe) instead.  The chips are great to use to scoop the fried rice.  The crunchiness of the chips combined with sweet hot fried rice, scrambled tofu, and cucumber/tomato slices is pretty yummy!

Sambal
The use of sambal is really important.  Sambal and Kecap Manis are the key to Indonesian fried rice.  I love to make this fried rice when I have my Sambal Tomat (Spicy Javanese Tomato Sambal).  Another kind of sambal such as Sambal Oelek or Chili Garlic Sauce can be used but homemade Sambal Tomat is just much better.

Fried Egg
For this dish, I tried making the scrambled tofu with The Vegg.  It was good but I found that this product is pretty expensive.  I have made scrambled tofu without it and turned out almost the same. Any recipe for scrambled tofu is good to go.

Use long grain rice
Vegan Indonesian Nasi Goreng(Fried Rice)
Serve 6-8
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
6 cups cooked White Basmati Rice (leftover cold rice)
Note:  If rice is made the same day, put it in the fridge for 3-4 hours before using.
2 cups soy chicken such as Gardein, Soy Curls (rehydrated), or smoked baked tofu, small cubed
1 cup vegan shrimps, diced (optional)
2 cups shelled edamame, thawed
2 1/2 cups shallots or onion, slice thinly
1 - 2 red jalapenos, chopped (reduced or opt out for less spicy)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Safflower or Canola Oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
4 green onions, slice thinly


Sauce/Spices:
6 Tbsp. Sambal Tomat or 3 Tbsp Sambal Oelek/Chili Garlic Sauce
Note:  My sambal tomat is less hot than store-bought sambal.  To reduce heat, cut it in half.
2 Tbsp. Toyomansi or Vegan Fish Sauce replacement or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
5 Tbsp. Kecap manis
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

Accompaniments:
Veggie Chips or Garlic Chips
Tomato slices
Cucumber Slices
Homemade scrambled tofu (optional)
Brambang Goreng or Fried Shallots

  1. Break down the cold rice with fingers so rice is loose and dry.  Make sure that all clumps are broken down. Set aside.
  2. Heat wok on top of medium high heat.  Add oil and swirl the oil around to cover wok surfaces.
  3. Add shallots/onions.  Stir fry until they are fragrant and limp.  Then add garlic and chopped red chili.
  4. Stir fry more until onions/shallots are a bit brown.  Add soy chicken/seitan/soy curls/tofu to the wok.  Add the vegan shrimps, if using. 
  5. Stir fry some more and add vegetable broth when things start to stick into the wok.
  6. Add sambal, toyomansi/liquid aminos/fish sauce replacement, kecap manis.  Combine with stir fried ingredients. Stir fry until sauce ingredients are combined well with all other ingredients.
  7. Gradually add rice and shelled edamame to the work and mix well with the stir fried ingredients in the wok.  Taste and add salt and white pepper.  Add more kecap manis, toyomansi, and sambal if necessary.
  8. When everything is combined well and taste delicious.  Mix in the green onions. Combine well and take it off heat.
  9. Serve with fried shallots on top and scrambled tofu, tomato slices, cucumber slices, and veggie or garlic chips on the side.