Chicken Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng Ayam)

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Nasi Goreng Ayam is Indonesian chicken fried rice that you can make in less than 30 minutes. It’s a delicious way to use up leftover rice and chicken. Seasoned with kecap manis, this simple dish is packed with flavors.

Nasi goreng ayam, the Indonesian chicken fried rice.

Indonesian Chicken Fried Rice

If you love quick and easy mealtimes, this chicken fried rice recipe is for you! In Indonesian, it’s called Nasi Goreng Ayam. Nasi Goreng means “fried rice,” and “Ayam” means chicken. 

Allegedly, this is the Indonesian version of fried rice, which is adapted from Chinese fried rice. 

A deep plate of chicken fried rice.

Now, Nasi goreng is a signature dish in Indonesia. Traditionally, people enjoy it as a breakfast delight made from leftover rice. Alongside, four other signature dishes were Soto Ayam, Sate Ayam, Beef Rendang, and Gado Gado

With flavorful seasoning, colors, and textures, this Indonesian dish is surprisingly easy to make but enough to keep you satisfied and full. 

Whether you have this as a traditional breakfast pick-me-up or a weeknight dinner for the family, Nasi Goreng can be your next comfort food. 

What makes it even better is how thrifty this recipe can be. If you’re stuck on what to make for fussy family members and love rice, give this recipe a go! 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Prevents Food waste: Using already cooked and leftover shredded chicken can stop food from being thrown away or forgotten. The different flavors from the previously cooked meat can also add a unique spin to this chicken and rice dish.

Bursting with Flavor: This fried rice recipe has many exotic flavors you could ask for in a dish. There is so much scope to season it the way you like. 

Cost Effective: The ingredients in this recipe are all affordable and accessible. You can use leftover cooked rice and chicken, making it not only a low-cost option but also a thrifty one with low waste!

Versatile: Indonesian fried rice uses straightforward ingredients, allowing room for variety in seasoning and any additions you may want.

Great for the whole family: You won’t get complaints about this dish as it’s not only a tasty meal for adults but a great hit with kids, too! Even the fussiest family member will approve of this nasi goreng recipe.

Perfect for Entertaining: Just as this recipe will make a speedy weeknight dinner, it can also be great for entertaining friends and family as a last-minute meal.

Indonesian nasi goreng ayam with mint napkin and wooden spoon in the background.

Ingredients

Cooked Rice: This fried rice works best with leftover day-old rice that has been refrigerated beforehand, as it tends to be drier and gives a much better texture overall. 

Shredded Chicken: Using previously cooked chicken will also help avoid food waste, so any cooked chicken, such as roasted chicken thighs or boiled chicken breast, will work great and add familiar flavors to the meal. 

Cooking oil: Neutral cooking oil is recommended, such as sunflower, vegetable, canola, etc. Try infused stir-fry oil for an extra kick.

Onion: This wonderous vegetable gives flavor to any dish. 

Garlic: A deep and sharp-tasting cousin to the onion, garlic brings a lot of richness to the meal. 

Fresh Chilies: Bring heat and color to the dish, but if you are not a fan of spice, you can eliminate this. 

Shrimp Paste: For the best nasi goreng, add a little shrimp paste to give that exotic umami and elevate the flavor. Many Indonesian foods use shrimp paste in their ingredients list. 

Salt and Ground Pepper: Add this to your liking. You can use a large pinch of white pepper instead. Check along the way if you need more. 

Sweet soy sauce: It is known as kecap manis in Indonesia.  

Equipment

Pestle and mortar, food chopper, or food processor: Pestle and mortar are excellent for grinding spices and herbs into a paste. However, an electric food chopper or processor is a much more convenient option and is widely used by cooking enthusiasts.

Wok or large frying pan: For an authentic experience in the kitchen, a wok delivers. However, it’s okay to use a large non-stick frying pan.  

Instructions

  1. To make this traditional Indonesian fried rice, grind the garlic, onion, shrimp paste, and fresh chilies into a paste using the pestle and mortar or food processor. Set aside until needed. 
  2. Next, place a large non-stick frying pan over high heat and add some cooking oil. Once heated, add the ground spice paste and stir fry until it releases a fragrant aroma. 
  3. Then, add chicken pieces and fry the chicken for a minute. Keep stirring to ensure it is evenly heated and does not get burned.
  4. Season the chicken with salt and ground black pepper. Keep mixing and stirring for another minute. Then, add the rice to the pan. Toss and stir to mix with the chicken. Ensure that there are no lumps or clumps in the rice and that all the spices, seasonings, and ingredients are thoroughly combined. Each grain of rice should be well coated.
  5. Stir fry the rice well until it is hot. You can now drizzle some sweet soy sauce on the chicken and rice mixture. Check the taste and season with more salt if needed. 
  6. Garnish with the fried shallots and prawn crackers before serving. 

Top Tips

  • The best thing that sets nasi goreng apart from other recipes is using any leftovers in the fridge to make this delightful dish. It is the epitome of thriftiness, and each time you make it, the flavors can differ slightly. So, when making this fried rice, raid your fridge for any leftover veggies!
  • If you use freshly cooked rice, remember the texture may differ from what you expect. Because fresh rice has a higher moisture content, it may need to be more mushy. It’s great if you can use day-old rice, but if you still need to, cook the rice for at least 30 minutes before you put this dish together. 
Indonesian chicken fried rice, nasi goreng ayam.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Swap the protein: The beauty of this Indonesian fried rice recipe is that there can be many versions of nasi goreng, and you can make it unique to your tastes. You can swap out the protein and make egg fried rice, tuna fried rice, seafood fried rice, etc.
  • Adjust the heat: Not everyone is fond of chilies, so it’s okay to leave out the fresh chilies altogether. If you prefer more heat, you can also use sambal, an Indonesian chili paste.
  • Different umami: Shrimp paste is another staple ingredient in Indonesian recipes, though you can always add 2 tbsp fish sauce instead. It will also bring a sharp, umami taste to your meal. 
  • Know your soy sauce: There are many varieties of soy sauce. You can always try light soy sauce if you are new to the taste, and remember there are low sodium and gluten-free versions, too. With so many options, there is something for everyone! Suppose you can’t get your hands on it. In that case, you can substitute sweet soy sauce with one tablespoon of dark soy sauce, one tablespoon of light soy sauce, one tablespoon of tomato ketchup, and two tablespoons of brown sugar.
  • Love your veggies: This recipe calls for onions and eggs as optional additions. However, you can add other vegetables if you prefer. Shredded carrots, green beans, and even cabbage work equally well.
  • Neutral oil: Any neutral cooking oil can work well in this recipe. Sunflower, canola, corn oil, or groundnut oil. 

How To Store Your Traditional Indonesian Fried Rice

You can store nasi goreng ayam for roughly three days, assuming the chicken and rice were already a day old when you made it. Please keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. 

You can freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before you want to eat it. Once fully thawed, you must not refreeze and consume it within a few days. 

Fried rice with shredded chicken and green peas.

FAQs

What can you serve with Nasi Goreng?

The dish is complete, but you can top it with fried eggs and serve with prawn crackers and acar timun (cucumber salad), the way many restaurants in Indonesia serve this dish. 

When can you eat this tasty meal?

Anytime! This dish can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, though you may prefer it as your main meal in the twilight hours. However, it is traditionally savored as a breakfast dish to use up any leftovers available.

What type of rice can be used?

Jasmine rice is stickier and clumps together more, whereas basmati is drier. Both will work well, especially if cooked previously, though the texture may differ slightly. Though I prefer basmati rice. 

An exotic take on a cultural classic

This chicken fried rice from Indonesia is a tasty and nifty mealtime treat. Also called Nasi Goreng Ayam, this humble rice dish will keep your tastebuds tingling with its aromatic fragrances, fresh umami flavors, and wondrous textures. 

Bringing versatility to how you cook, your friends and family will give the seal of approval to this wholesome and filling recipe! 

Nasi goreng ayam, the Indonesian chicken fried rice.
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5 from 47 votes

Chicken Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng Ayam)

Nasi Goreng Ayam is Indonesian chicken fried rice that you can make in less than 30 minutes. It’s a delicious way to use up leftover rice and chicken. Seasoned with kecap manis, this simple dish is packed with flavors.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Indonesian

Equipment

  • Food chopper or food processor
  • Wok or large deep frying pan.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cooked chicken shredded.
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce

Spice paste

  • 1 onion.
  • 3 cloves garlic.
  • 4 fresh chilies.
  • ½ teaspoon of dried shrimp paste terasi
  • 1 teaspoon of salt.

Optional

  • 4 eggs.
  • 1 spring onion sliced.
  • A handful of fried onions.
  • Prawn crackers kerupuk

Instructions

  • Using a pestle and mortar or a food processor, grind the spice paste ingredients into a paste. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a wok on high heat and fry the spice paste until it releases a delicious aroma.
  • Add the shredded chicken and ground pepper to the spice paste. Stir fry at medium-high heat until the chicken is covered with the spice, and it is cooked through.
  • Add the rice to the chicken and break any lumps and clumps in the rice. Toss and stir.
  • Drizzle the sweet soy sauce over the rice. Toss the rice until the spice and soy sauce are evenly distributed, and cover the rice.
  • Check the taste. Add the salt to your liking, if needed. Keep cooking until the rice is cooked through and piping hot. Set aside.
  • Fry the eggs individually or cook them into omelets. If you do the latter, you can slice the omelets.
  • Put the fried eggs or omelet slices on the fried rice when serving. Sprinkle the fried onion and spring onion slices on the top. Enjoy your nasi goreng ayam with kerupuk on the side.

Notes

  • You can add more or less chilies according to your liking.
  • You can use any neutral cooking oil, such as sunflower, canola, corn, or groundnut oil.
  • Shrimp paste has a very strong, pungent aroma. If you are not a fan, you can omit it. Or, you can replace it with two teaspoons of fish sauce for a milder umami taste.
  • If you can not get Indonesian sweet soy sauce, you can replicate it by mixing 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup, and 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 150grams | Calories: 4724kcal | Carbohydrates: 171g | Protein: 518g | Fat: 202g | Saturated Fat: 45g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 49g | Monounsaturated Fat: 90g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 2123mg | Sodium: 5103mg | Potassium: 5573mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 3579IU | Vitamin C: 272mg | Calcium: 452mg | Iron: 30mg

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Devy Dar

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.

Bio:

Devy Dar is the founder and creator of So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor, the website where she shares traditional and non-traditional recipes from South Asia, the Far East, and beyond. An Indonesian native living in the UK, Devy has a BA in Japanese studies and language for which she studied and lived in Japan. Her encounter with various cultures and cuisines has encouraged her to help others recreate recipes from those cultures practically with daily ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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