Monday, April 27, 2015

Indonesian Inspired Fried Rice

There are so many kinds of fried rice throughout Asia and each region adds their own local ingredients.  When country-hopping you will notice similarities, but there are always surprises and it is always good to try what is available (as long as it is vegan).  

This is a variation on a rice dish called nasi goreng from Indonesia and Malaysia. It is probably the most common Indo / Malay dish but it is often served with a fried egg on top, which is great for vegetarians, but not so great for vegans.  

The rice has a distinctive red coloring which is from ketchup.  It sounds kind of gross, and sometimes it can indeed have that distinctive ketchup flavor. In place of this popular condiment, I have substituted it for tomato paste, which at least does not have that sweetened vinegar flavor.  

The rice is sometimes garnished with fried shallots.  These are easy to find at Asian and Indian markets. They come in large bags and are very inexpensive.  (Ikea also has them, but they are more expensive). 


  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts 
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced
  • 2 stocks lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, or unrefined sugar such as coconut, cane or palm 
  • oil for frying 


  • Bean sprouts 
  • Fresh cilantro 
  • Fried shallots 


  1. Steam two cups of rice and allow to cool. 
  2. In a large measuring cup, combine tomato paste, soy sauce, water and sugar and mix until the tomato paste is dissolved. 
  3. Remove the outer leaves of the lemongrass (you can use these for tea, but are too tough to eat) and chop the soft, inner core of the stems.  
  4. Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok.  Add the garlic, lemongrass, and ginger and saute for two minutes.  
  5. Add the red pepper and continue to cook until they begin to blister. 
  6. Add the bean sprouts and scallions to this mixture and toss together for about a minute. 
  7. Slowly add the rice (making sure not to make a mess on the stove top) and mix everything together.  
  8. Once mixed, pour in the sweet tomato sauce.  
  9. Stir so that everything is an even red. 
  10. Serve with a garnish of bean sprouts, fresh herbs such as cilantro and fried shallots. 

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