If the internet could transmit smell, today my blog would have been the smelliest one in the whole world. And when I said “smell”, it could mean “good smell” or “bad smell”, depending on where you stand on “fermented shrimp paste”.
Nasi Goreng is Indonesian fried rice with vibrant spicy flavour. There was a time in my school-years where we followed the pungent aroma of shrimp paste to one corner of the evening market where the gawker’s cart had the sizzling dark rice in his wok. It was love at first sight, even before I could taste it. The smell and the way it was served with sliced shallots, chili, sweet chicken, dried shrimp, shrimp crackers, lime and cucumber made my jaw drop in the culinary ecstasy.
When it comes to shrimp paste, I have never shy to cook. It is basically presented in most of Thai curry pastes, but we barely detect it under the aromatic fragrances of fresh herbs. But in Nasi Goreng, the smell of fermented shrimp paste is overwhelming and celebrating.
Glossed in very grain of rice, was a rustic salty flavour diffused in pleasant fishy scent. Traditionally, Nasi Goreng comes with fried egg, we also love loading up lettuces, sliced shallots, green chili and lime wedge on the side. When the sparkling lime juice splashed over the savoury rice and the fishy aroma and fresh citrus-y fragrance mixed, I could feel the party in my stomach started.
Ingredients (2 servings)
2 1/2 cup cooked rice
2 tsp fermented shrimp paste
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 tsp balm sugar
1 tbsp tamarind paste
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili
1 1/2 tbsp oil
Garnish- sliced shallots, sliced chili, stir fried chicken/prawn or fish, lime wedges, lettuces, cucumber, etc.
- Grind together shallots, garlic and chili until smooth paste.
- Heat oil in the large pan/wok over the medium heat and stir fry shallot-garlic-chili paste until aromatic.
- Add shrimp paste and stir for few minutes. Add balm sugar and tamarind paste. Use the back of the wooden spoon to press and scramble the paste and fry until powder-liked or granulated
- Add rice, and mix well. Stir fry continuously and every grain of rice coated with flavour.
- Serve hot with garnishes on the side.
Nasi Goreng is an Asian street food raw deal! The smell and flavour exploded in your face, and probably also your neighbors’ faces.
The rice was soft and flavourful. The garnishes added the wonderful freshness to the dish, I loved extra sourness of lime juice in mine. I was reluctant to introduce such strong ingredient to my son at first, but from what I have observed… he’s a true Southeast Asian boy!