The popularity of Indonesian mie goreng and nasi goreng has spread worldwide. It is a simple yet comforting dish enjoyed by Indonesians, often served for breakfast and typically containing fewer vegetables.
However, you can try preparing a healthier version using our vegetarian nasi goreng recipe provided here! While making the vegetarian version, you may need to omit some of the essential ingredients. But, don’t worry, as there are alternatives available. Let’s learn how to make it!
Things About Indonesian Nasi Goreng
Nasi goreng, also known as fried rice in English, is a staple dish in many Asian countries, particularly in Southeast Asia. What sets Indonesian nasi goreng recipes apart from others is the distinctive sauce made with terasi (similar to shrimp paste) and kecap manis (thick, sweet soy sauce).
These two ingredients blend harmoniously to create the umami flavor that permeates the entire dish. Additionally, a combination of shallots, garlic, spring onion, and oil is used to enhance the flavor.
When sold as street food, vendors typically pound the shallots and cloves of garlic separately and sauté them in hot oil before adding the other ingredients. However, at home, you can simplify the process by sautéing chopped spring onion, shallots, and garlic together with terasi to create the base flavor.
Both traditional and vegetarian nasi goreng require simple steps to prepare. Please refer to the detailed recipe and tips below to make a delicious version for yourself.
Vegetarian Nasi Goreng Recipe You Want to Chew Right Away!
Without waiting any longer, here’s the recipe of vegetarian nasi goreng!
Main Nasi Goreng Ingredients
- 400 gr of cold long-grain rice (you can opt for basmati rice as a substitution)
- 2 tablespoons of margarine or cooking oil (used to saute the ingredients)
- 1 tablespoon mushroom bouillon powder
- 1 spring onion (use both the white and green parts to create different flavors), chopped them finely
- 2 – 3 curly chilies (according to your taste), chop them
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of kecap manis
Vegetarian Nasi Goreng Paste (Not to be Ground Together)
- 3 shallots, ground or pound separately
- 2 cloves of garlic, pounded or crushed separately
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (substitution of terasi according to your palate)
Options for Protein
- 3 – 5 button mushrooms, sliced finely
- 50 gr carrots, diced
- 100 gr broccoli, sliced
- ½ cup of sweet corn
- Half of the red paprika, diced
Cooking Utensils You Need
Cooking knife, mortar, and pestle or food processor, cooking spatula, wok or skillet pan, cutting board, tablespoon, and teaspoon.
Break the cold rice using a spatula or your hands to ensure that there is no clump. This step will make the cooking process easier and the vegetarian nasi goreng paste will coat the rice evenly.
1. Heat the cooking oil (you can choose to use canola or coconut oil as well), or melt the margarine in the wok you use to cook the vegetarian nasi goreng.
2. Add the sliced spring onion and chilies, stir briefly, then add the ingredients for the vegetable nasi goreng paste one by one to the heated pan, and stir to combine them all.
3. Once the aroma spreads around, reduce the heat and add the sliced and diced vegetables. Stir gently and let the vegetables cook until they soften.
4. When the vegetables are softened or cooked, add the rice to the wok and mix everything well.
5. Here comes the important part: sprinkle the mushroom bouillon powder evenly, pour the kecap manis over the mixture of rice and vegetables, and quickly mix them to ensure the kecap manis coats the rice evenly.
6. Let the mixture fry for the next 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the rice is thoroughly coated and hot, you can remove it from the heat. Your vegetable nasi goreng is now ready!
Another Tips For Vegetarian Nasi Goreng
1. If you prefer, you can substitute tomato paste for terasi in the paste. However, if you are unsure about the final taste, you can simply omit the tomato sauce and prepare a spring onion oil before adding other ingredients. The addition of spring onion oil can enhance the flavor.
Additionally, feel free to adjust the salt, sugar, and mushroom bouillon powder to suit your taste. This variation of nasi goreng cooking does exist in Indonesia.
2. When serving nasi goreng, sprinkle crispy fried shallots on top. They add a savory and slightly sweet taste and elevate the overall flavor of the dish when enjoyed.
3. It is recommended to use long-grained rice when preparing Indonesian nasi goreng. The reason is that nasi goreng tends to be oily and greasy. Using long-grained rice prevents it from becoming too mushy, especially if you use the cold-cooked one. A fun fact is that Indonesians often use overnight rice to make nasi goreng for the following day.
4. Toppings are important! While the traditional nasi goreng is commonly topped with a fried sunny-side-up egg, for the vegetarian version, you can try pairing it with fried tofu or tempeh as a delicious alternative.
Can You Adjust The Vegetarian Nasi Goreng Recipe?
There is actually no strict recipe to cook a vegetarian version of Indonesian nasi goreng. Everyone can get creative with the ingredients yet the basics are what we cover here.
For example, if you like spicy food, you can use Indonesian sambal (the hot sauce) or other traditional sambal variants (sambal bawang, sambal ulek) instead of the ordinary paste. Sambal can enliven nasi goreng taste.
But you may use a shortcut for a shorter preparation and cooking time by ordering instant nasi goreng seasoning. Nyah Tewel nasi goreng paste has that authentic hint and is available for export for you to try.
- What If I Don’t Have Cold Cooked Rice?
The rice condition is important in Indonesian nasi goreng recipes. If you forget to keep your leftover cooked rice in the refrigerator or only have newly cooked rice, scoop them into your portion. Then, cool them by spreading them in a thin layer on a tray, and put them in the refrigerator for some time (or as long as you can wait before hunger changes you).
- When Can You Consume Nasi Goreng?
Indonesians usually eat it for breakfast. Still, you can eat it for lunch, and even dinner. Anytime you crave it, just toast the ingredients in the wok. In several areas, the street-food vendors usually sell them in the evening.
- Where Does Nasi Goreng Come From?
Nasi goreng is believed to have originated in Indonesia. It is a traditional Indonesian dish that has become popular not only in Indonesia but also in other Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. But the one that uses kecap manis and terasi as sauce base, it refers to the one that came from Indonesia.
- How is Nasi Goreng Traditionally Served?
Initially, nasi goreng is served along with slices of fresh tomato and cucumbers, topped with a sunny-side-up egg (telur ceplok), and sprinkled with crispy fried shallots (bawang goreng). It is also served with different kinds of kerupuk (Indonesian chips or crackers made from various ingredients, including scratch and shrimp or fish).