Nasi Goreng, the stuff dreams are made of.
It all started in Kinsale, yes you read that right. Not Malaysia, no. My first taste of Nasi Goreng was in fact as far from Malaysia as you can get, the Shanghai Express in Kinsale. A tiny (and I mean tiny) “escape from the norm” haven, nestled in behind the main thoroughfare of tourists and yachts. Forget chips on the wall from Dinos, this is the place to go. (Well one of them anyway, remind me to write a list of the must eats in Kinsale!)
The thing with the Shanghai is that it opens at 6p.m. and without fail a slew of cars will pull up outside, the wimen (wives, girlfriends etc) are turfed out while the men folk park the cars and they run from the car in the door to secure a table or even just a stool at the counter. You see the clever people at the Shanghai don’t take bookings for tables of less than 6 (feel free to correct me if this has changed) so there is a free for all of frantic diners vying to get through the doors at 5.59 p.m.
With a selection of delicious main courses on offer it’s the tapas that really appeals, to me anyway. A variety of asian tapas from the aforementioned Nasi Goreng to rendang, satay, larb moo (this one is hot hot hot), nem, seared teriyaki steak, a spicy take on the classic lasagne, chips with wasabi dip and countless more to entice you. All of which are sizeable enough to share and with two people you probably won’t be able to stuff more than two each without having to undo a few buttons.
Since my first visit it is the Nasi Goreng that I crave. A gloriously runny egg on top a mound of spicy fried rice with prawns and pork and all sorts of deliciousness. As with most dishes that I fall in love with when eating out I was determined to recreate it at home so I could have my fix when needed. I failed to mention above that the Shanghai Express also closes for part of the winter, so being able to make it at home was in fact completely necessary. So for the last 2 years I have been making a version of sorts. It is in no way authentic (not that I would know) but it is utterly moreish and spicy and crunchy and fresh and comforting. Umami on a plate.
The internets are full of recipes for Nasi Goreng and I have definitely tried a few. This one from Rick Stein is a good place to start.
Having said all that, Nasi Goreng is a rice dish that traditionally uses leftover rice and whatever else you like so I wouldn’t get too carried away. There are a few stipulations however.
The paste should include the following:
Ginger, Garlic, Chilli or the holy trinity as I call them.
Blitz these together and you are halfway there. Top it off with a runny fried egg and crispy shallots and boom, heaven.
Failing that jump in the car and head for Kinsale.
Yesterday my craving got the better of me and I succumbed. Two days in a row would be too much, right?