Nasi Goreng Showdown

 

 

 

When   Forestwood  mentioned Nasi Goreng in her blog, it suddenly turned on a lightbulb in my head, because lately I find that I’m tired of everything I eat–even my favorites–and the mention of Nasi Goreng triggered a craving for a dish I haven’t had in thirty years or more.  Luckily, two of my favorite cookbooks are Pearl Buck’s Oriental Cookbook  and To All My Grandchildren, Lessons in Indonesian Cooking by Leonie Samuel-Hool, and I knew that they both have recipes for Nasi Goreng. I was surprised, however, at how they varied from the traditional Indonesian recipe to Pearl Buck’s evidently anglicized version. I leave it up to you to determine which you prefer.  I for one am going to challenge my chef friend Brad to a cookdown to see which wins the crown.

Luckily, both have recipes for how to make all the spice blends and sauces such as kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) you could probably purchase ready-made in a gourmet or specialty grocery store, but if you can’t find them, I’ll publish the recipes for them and if you are lucky, The same goes for Dadar Iris, which is essentially a little omelet. I’ll even publish the recipe and story behind Beancake, Bees and Beans. Yes, a real dish in Leonie’s cookbook.  I’ve met her and have an autographed copy, because her children owned an incredible Indonesian restaurant in San Rafael, California. One year on her birthday, they constructed a memorial to her on the wall  of the restaurant next to the door and customers paid to have brass plates with their names inscribed on them to honor her. My friend Lee had one made for me. I wonder if I’m still there!

Click on photos to enlarge and read recipes!

19 thoughts on “Nasi Goreng Showdown

      1. koolkosherkitchen

        Since seafood is not kosher, I usually substitute surimi, i.e. fake crab or fake shrimp, so this is not a problem for me. If you don’t eat fish, you can use extra firm tofu. And of course, we don’t eat pork, so I would use chicken or turkey. I don’t use ketchup, though, so Pearl Buck’s recipe would not work for me.

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          Did you know that the origin of ketchup was a sauce made in China? They didn’t make it out of tomatoes, however. Kecap is the Indonesian word for ketchup–as in Kecap Manis, or sweet soy sauce. So, in a way Pearl was on the cusp of being right in using ketchup in nasi goreng..but I suspect it was a westernization of the dish.

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          1. koolkosherkitchen

            I do know that, and the culprit is American ketchup, i.e. processed tomatoes. Years ago, before Perestroika, a friend remarked that the only way Americans would declare war on Russia is when Russians steal all the ketchup from them.

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  1. Laurie Hennig

    YOUR COMMENTS RUN TRUE FOR ME TOO – SO WHEN I SAW A WHOLE CRAB AVAILABLE HERE IN BOULDER CREEK I JUMPED ON IT, WENT STRAIGHT HOME AND HAD A GREAT LUNCH.

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  2. Pingback: Simple Nasi Goreng – Something to Ponder About

        1. lifelessons Post author

          Yes. Altough I’m sure they used it in Bali and Indonesia and I liked the Nasi Goreng. They just seemed to have a lighter hand with all the spices there. I didn’t notice the fish paste. Here I really do. Perhaps I’ve grown more allergic to fish as I get older.

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