In every part of the world where rice is a staple food, one finds fried rice: the leftovers of the previous night's meal transformed. Of the many we've tasted, from those of China to Southeast Asia, our favorite is this Indonesian version—a simple breakfast dish, not at all like the too-much-of-a-good-thing fried rice so common in the United States, with its confetti of chopped ham and peas. For nasi goreng, leftover rice is stir-fried with a seasoning paste made from chiles, shrimp paste, and palm sugar, yielding a richly flavored dish that's ridiculously delicious. With a fried egg on top, it becomes a meal.
- 1 tsp. dried shrimp paste
- 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 red Holland chiles, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 1⁄4 cup peanut oil
- 4 eggs
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 5 cups cooked white rice
- 4 1⁄2 tsp. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 2 small cucumbers, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise diagonally, for serving
Place shrimp paste on a piece of foil; fold around to form a packet. Heat a gas or electric burner over medium-high heat; using tongs, hold packet on burner, and cook, turning once, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes; cool. Unwrap and transfer to a small food processor with sugar, shallots, garlic, chiles, and 2 tbsp. water; puree until smooth. Set flavoring paste aside.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs, season with salt, and cook until yolks are just cooked through and crisp at the edges, about 4 minutes. Using a spoon, transfer to a plate; set aside. Return skillet to medium heat and add flavoring paste; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to high, add rice, breaking up clumps, and cook, stirring, until heated through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add soy sauce, and cook, stirring, until evenly combined, about 30 seconds more. Season with salt and divide among serving plates; place an egg on top of each serving, and serve with cucumbers on the side.