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Recipe of the week: Lara Lee's chicken nasi goreng

25 June 2020
Recipe of the week: Lara Lee's chicken nasi goreng

Taken from Coconut & Sambal, by Lara Lee.

Origin Popular all over Indonesia

Chilli heat Mild

Sambal suggestion Peanut sauce (see below)

Serves two as a large main or four as a side

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into small, bite-sized cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8cm piece of galangal or ginger (about 40g), peeled and woody stem removed, finely chopped
  • 1 small banana shallot or 2 Thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Handful of green beans, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 spring onions, chopped into large chunks
  • ¼tsp ground turmeric
  • 95g jasmine or basmati rice, cooked and cooled (240g cooked weight)
  • 2tbs kecap manis
  • 1½tsp fish sauce
  • 2tsp light soy sauce
  • Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
  • Coconut oil or sunflower oil, for frying

To serve

  • 2 duck or hen's eggs
  • 1tbs fried shallots
  • ½ long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • Kerupuk or prawn crackers

Season the chicken pieces with salt and white pepper. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and fry the chicken until cooked through, about three minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, add the garlic, galangal or ginger and shallots and cook over a medium-high heat until fragrant. Add the green beans, spring onions and turmeric and cook for one minute.

Add the rice to the pan, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon. Ensure all the ingredients are well combined and the rice is warmed through. Return the chicken to the pan. Season with the kecap manis, fish sauce, light soy sauce and a large pinch of white pepper, and extra salt if needed.

Meanwhile, fry the eggs. Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is shimmering, crack the eggs directly into the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the whites are partially cooked. Tilt the pan and spoon the hot oil over the whites until they are fully cooked (I like my yolk runny, but cook yours to your liking). Season with salt.

Divide the fried rice between two serving plates and garnish with the fried shallots, sliced chilli and fried eggs on top. Serve with crackers.

Peanut sauce

There are as many ways to make peanut sauce as there are sambals, but the most obvious differences are between those made with peanut butter and those made from scratch using raw peanuts fried in hot oil. I asked many Indonesians why so many of their recipes use peanut butter if the authentic way is better. ‘For Westerners!' they all answered.

My Australian mother loves to make a quick peanut butter satay sauce, so I do feel an affinity for the Western way, but it really is worth the extra effort to deep-fry the peanuts, as it gives a nuttier depth of flavour and a darker colour.

In Timorese communities where oil is scarce, peanuts are dry-roasted in woks filled with hot sand from the beach, the heat of the sun and sand turning the peanuts a lovely golden brown. You can also roast peanuts in the oven, which produces a result nearly as good as the fried version, but for me, deep-fried is best. However, I have provided an alternative that uses peanut butter, to tip my hat to all the home cooks out there who love a good shortcut.

Peanut sauce is great drizzled over salads, on burgers or any grilled meat, or served with satay skewers or vegetables. It will last for up to four days in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer.

Origin Popular all over Indonesia

Chilli heat Mild

Makes 150g (two portions as a dressing or dipping sauce)

  • 75g unsalted, raw peanuts, preferably with their skin on (or 75g unsweetened, unsalted smooth peanut butter)
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 4tsp kecap manis, or more to taste
  • 2tsp tamarind paste (or 2tsp lime juice mixed with 2tsp brown sugar)
  • Large pinch of sea salt
  • Sunflower oil, for frying

If using raw peanuts, heat 150ml of oil to 160°C in a deep saucepan over a high heat. Carefully lower the peanuts into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Stirring continuously, as peanuts can easily burn, fry for 4-5 minutes until golden. Remove the peanuts from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the chillies and garlic and fry until softened, about four minutes.

Place the fried peanuts or peanut butter in a small food processor with the cooked garlic and chillies, kecap manis, tamarind paste and salt. Pulse briefly, then add a splash of water to loosen the sauce and pulse again. Gradually add water (about four tablespoons) and continue to pulse until the sauce is a pourable consistency. Season with salt or more kecap manis as needed.

Photography by Louise Hagger

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