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  • Writer's pictureKay Redrup


I mean who doesn't like fried rice. We have the Chinese to thank for this. However, as often happens, other countries ran with it and made it their own, if not better. Places like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are the leaders of the humble fried rice, left over from anything you can find in the fridge.

Here are some tips for making fried rice. I use basmati as a favourite choice. There is less starch in the rice and the grains remain, well grains. Always wash your rice until the water runs clear before cooking. Add a little salt to the rice water so the grains are already slightly salted. Don't overdo it as you will be adding other 'salty' ingredients in the fry up.

There are a myriad of ingredients you can use to make your nasi tasty. You can add shrimp paste, dried shrimp, bacon, even miso and fish sauce. Don't feel restricted by any recipe. Chuck in something and taste, taste, taste. That is probably the most important thing you can do when cooking. Often check the flavor and sodium levels during cooking.

Don't be afraid to use oil. It is fried rice after all. If using onions, caramelize, if using carrots add first with any hard vegetables. Layer the other vegetables according to how long they will take to cook. Add uncooked meat in the early stages. Cooked meat at the end, just to warm through. Make an omelet, if using, in the beginning stage and season it with salt and white pepper.

Once all the vegetables are cooked, then add the rice, not the cooked meat though. Fry every grain, let some caramelize. Then add, a little at a time, liquids, such as fish sauce and/or soy sauce. If you add all the liquids the rice could go to mush so fry it off each time. You can add chilli sauce (but please not chilli jam). But I like to keep my sambal (chilli) to the side to add into my rice at the table.

When making Indonesian or Malay fried rice, use ketchup manis. Can't get it? It's basically a thickened soy sauce with sugar. I like to use grape/mulberry/carob/ molasses with soy sauce to give me the dark look and the right sweet/salt balance. Indonesian/Malay fried rice is mildly sweeter than Chinese/Nyonya fried rice.

In Malaysia and Indonesia a fried egg often tops the nasi goreng. In Chinese/Nyonya cuisine- the egg is an omelet incorporated in the rice.

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