Have a Rice Day

As much as I support  a movement called  “Have a Rice Day” (to raise the awareness and support to help change world hunger by substituting one of people regular meal with a simple bowl of rice), my blog post today has nothing to do with that movement. I only borrow the name and picture for the title of this post.

What I am writing here is truly and literally about having a rice day ….

Why Rice Day?

I live in a country where Rice is is the staple food for most of our population of more than 230 million.  So rice plays a huge part in most Indonesia’s culture. It is not just a staple and means of sustenance, but it is also a philosophical entity in the people’s everyday life. In many ethnic groups in Indonesia, the goddess of rice has a special place in the people’s day to day life.

As the main staple of the Indonesian people, rice also plays a huge role in the people’s ceremony and traditions. Rice symbolizes prosperity and opulence. As the region is dotted with live volcanoes and tall mountains, the festivity rice is sometimes molded to cone shape, called Nasi Tumpeng. It symbolizes the mountain where the gods’ lies and the universe converge. Color the rice yellow with turmeric roots or cook it with coconut milk and spices; it becomes the heart of a feast (for more details of festive yellow rice, please see my post “First Anniversary”)

Last saturday when I went down to the kitchen to start my saturday cooking ritual, I found out that I did not have much cooking stuff left in my fridge except a big bowl of left over rice from the previous day, a little left over of beef rendang (Indonesian spicy beef stew) and some basic cooking ingredients.  

With these stuffs I had, I decided to make that saturday as a Rice Day for my family and chose one of the most popular rice-based dishes in my country – “Nasi Goreng” as our main menu for the day.   

More about Nasi Goreng

If Indonesia have a national dish that is well known all over the world for, it would be “Nasi Goreng” or Indonesian Fried Rice.  

Indonesian fried rice has been popular in and out of the country. If you are stranded in some city or town or village and you stepped into local eateries, and if you happened to be not too adventurous in culinary quest, it is the safest item to order and you can always find it in any decent restaurants in sight. Even when they don’t have it in the menu, providing that restaurant do serve rice, you can request for it.

To prepare good Nasi Goreng, the rice used is day-old rice hence most Indonesian households always have some left-over-cooked-rice in their fridge. Newly cooked rice can also be used, if they are properly cooled. However, the fried rice will turn out to be stickier, so proper care in adjusting the heat is needed to ensure that doesn’t happen. Fried rice with grains sticking together is such a turn-off.

All my family members love Nasi Goreng but each person likes different type of Nasi Goreng. One likes nasi goreng with meat, one likes nasi goreng with salted fish and one likes the classic nasi goreng with ‘kecap manis’ (sweet soy sauce).

So I ended up cooking 3 different types of Nasi Goreng on that saturday …..

Classic Nasi Goreng with Kecap Manis

Ingredients

  • 3 red chilies (optional), thinly sliced (note:  this time I did not use chilies)
  • 3 cloves of  garlic
  • 6  shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted shrimp paste
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoon Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 200 grams cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 100 grams chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, pan-fried into thin slices of omelette or scramble it

How to make:

  • Place chilies, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste in a mortar and pound with the pestle to form a paste
  • In a separate bowl, mix the sweet soy sauce with the rice, stir well
  • Heat cooking oil in a wok until smoky.
  • Add the paste and stir fry for 2 minutes, until the color turned slightly brownish and fragrant
  • Add rice, breaking any lumps, add other  ingredients and stir  until all are combined evenly and the rice is heated through. This will take 15 to 20 minutes
  • Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if needed 
  • Cook for another 3 minutes
  • Serve garnished with fried shallots and other condiments if liked

 Nasi Goreng Ikan Asin (Fried Rice with Salted Fish)

Ingredients

  • 200 grams cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 5 – 6  red chilies, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of  garlic, thincly sliced
  • 5  shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 piece of fried salted fish (I used the salted fish I got from Vietnam), take out the meat from the bones and shred  into small pieces

How to make:

  • Heat cooking oil in a wok untill smoky.
  • Add the shallots and stir fry for 2 minutes
  • Add the garlic and chilies and stir fry a bit brownish and fragrant
  • Add rice, breaking any lumps, stir well until all ingredients are combined evenly and the rice is heated through. This will take 15 to 20 minutes
  • Add the shredded salted fish and adjust  the seasoning by adding more salt if needed 
  • Cook for another 3 minutes
  • Serve garnished with fried shallots and other condiments if liked

 Nasi Goreng Rendang

Ingredients

  • 200 grams cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 cloves of  garlic, thinly sliced
  • 5  shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 2- 3 pieces of beef rendang (I used the left over of beef rendang I bought from Padang Restaurant), sliced into small pieces

How to make:

  • Heat cooking oil in a wok until smoky.
  • Add the shallot and garlic until turn slightly brownish and fragrant
  • Add the egg, scramble it until dry
  • Add in the beef rendang including the spicy gravy, stir well
  • Add rice, breaking any lumps, stir well until all ingredients are combined evenly and the rice is heated through. This will take 15 to 20 minutes
  • Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if needed . Cook for another 3 minutes
  • Serve garnished with fried shallots and other condiments if liked

And to complete the rice day, I also cooked Indonesian Dark Sweet Risotto or Black Rice Pudding for dessert:

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams of black glutinous rice, soak in water for about 1 hour
  • Rinsed and drained in a colander 
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 pandan leaves, tied into a knot
  • 500 ml water
  • 60 grams shaved palm sugar or brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt

How to make:

  • Pour 500 ml water into a pan and add the glutinous rice in it
  • Add in the pandan leaves
  • Cook on medium heat until the rice is softened and the liquid is thickened
  • Stir well while cooking the glutinous rice to avoid the rice from sticking to the pan and cooking time will take around 30 minutes
  • Add the sugar, cook for another 5 minutes
  • Remove from heat
  • Discard the pandan leaves
  • Put in a bowl and serve warm by adding coconut milk on it

 Have A Rice Day!

2 responses to “Have a Rice Day

  1. The last one look yummy🙂
    Btw, I can always recall the way Balinese people dresses up/ makes up in one of the 2 biggest Festie of the year (the one in September, I cant remember the name). Besides beautiful dresses, most of them have some raw rice on their foreheads. Interesting🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment Tam. The last one was indeed a traditional dessert of Bali called Black Rice pudding but I prefer to call it Dark & Sweet Risotto (following Bobby Chin cooks Asia).

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