Nasi goreng tuna
The best thing about this tuna fried rice is that you can have your meal in less than half an hour. And if you already have cooked rice stocked up in the fridge, you can cook this yummy fried rice in 15 minutes.
Nasi Goreng, which means fried rice, is very popular in Indonesia.
Each region in the country has its own version of this rice dish. And just like any food, there are varied recipes and methods to make this dish.
The recipe I’m sharing here is rooted in nasi goreng from Indonesia. And the taste will be similar, if not the same, to the one you get from street vendors in Indonesia.
However, the protein they use might differ because most of them put eggs and chicken in the rice. Not tuna. So, chicken fried rice is more common in Indonesia.
Having said that, you can find restaurants that offer tuna fried rice. But not the street vendors. The reason is that tuna is considerably pricey in Indonesia.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please check our disclosure policy.
A rice dish to enjoy anytime
Many Indonesians have fried rice for breakfast. Therefore, if you go to Indonesia, you will find ‘Nasi Goreng’ among the breakfast menus at hotels, restaurants, etc.
While living in Indonesia, I used to eat fried rice for breakfast, too. Obviously.
I rarely have it for my breakfast because I am too lazy to cook first thing in the morning.
So, fried rice has become a menu option for either lunch or dinner in my household. And if there were any leftovers for the next morning, I would only have had it for breakfast, too. But chances are my little one would not let me have it. Because he loves “nasi goreng”. Especially this tuna fried rice.
The secret to making the best tuna fried rice
The best-fried rice is the one that has rice grains separate and does not clump together. And it doesn’t look greasy or dry.
When it comes to flavor, it can depend on personal taste. But generally speaking, it will taste savory with a hint of spicy chili and sweet soy sauce.
To make the best tuna fried rice, you can follow the tips below:
- Use non-starchy rice such as Basmati rice or long-grain rice. If you use starchy rice like Jasmine rice or sushi rice, you will end up with sticky and clumpy fried rice.
- Make sure the cooked rice is at room temperature or colder. Do not use hot or warm rice, as the grains break up easily and become mushy.
- Get all your ingredients ready and put them all nearby.
- Cook the onion and garlic until they turn light golden in color and release a delicious aroma. If you don’t cook long enough, your rice will smell like raw onion. Also, there is a chance that the onion will still have its juice, which can make the rice wet and mushy.
- Keep turning and tossing the rice to ensure the spices go to every grain.
- Lastly, ensure your wok is hot to cook and season the rice quickly.
This recipe uses simplified ingredients without sacrificing the flavor. For example, traditionally, nasi goreng uses spice paste consisting of onion, garlic, and chilies that you grind using a pestle and mortar or a food processor.
But in this recipe, you can chop the onion and garlic as finely as possible and use dried red chili flakes for convenience.
So, to wrap up, all the ingredients you need for this tuna fried rice are cooked rice, canned tuna, onion, garlic, ground black pepper, dried red chili flakes, paprika powder, and sweetcorn kernels (you can use the frozen ones), cooking oil, and salt. In total, there are 10 items.
However, you can add crispy fried onions for garnish if you like.
How to make Nasi Goreng Tuna
Firstly, prepare all the necessary ingredients and arrange them within your reach.
Then, heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wok. Fry the chopped onion in the oil until it becomes translucent and slightly golden in color.
Add the chopped garlic to the onion and continue frying.
After a minute or two, put all the spices in, i.e., black pepper, chili flakes, paprika, and salt. Stir-fry until the spices release a delicious aroma.
Next, stir the tuna and sweetcorn in. Toss and turn until they are piping hot.
Lastly, stir the rice and drizzle the sweet soy sauce. Toss and turn the rice until its grain is covered with spices and soy sauce.
It may take a while and effort to keep turning the rice. But it’s worthed.
Your rice is ready when it is cooked through and piping hot.
Store your nasi goreng tuna in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. And you can freeze the rice for up to 2 months.
Thaw the rice by leaving it in the fridge overnight before serving. And you can reheat it in the microwave or a frying pan. Just sprinkle a little water before reheating so the rice won’t go dry and hard.
More recipes for rice-based dishes
I hope you enjoy reading this tuna fried rice recipe, and now think about trying it. If you try making it, please share how you like it in the comments below. I’ll really appreciate it.
And before you go, don’t forget to check my other rice-based recipes of Indonesian food that you can enjoy for breakfast, brunch, or any time of the day.
- Lontong sayur Betawi – vegetable curry with hard-boiled rice cake from Jakarta.
- Ketoprak Jakarta recipe – bean sprouts, vermicelli, and tofu salad with peanut sauce.
- Gado-gado Jakarta recipe.
Take care and all the best.
Indonesian tuna fried rice – nasi goreng tuna
- Wok. or
- Frying pan
- Food chopper or
- Food processor
- 1 ½ cup rice preferably Basmati rice. Or you can use long-grained rice.
- 1 canned tuna 7 ounces
- 1 medium-size onion.
- 3 cloves garlic.
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- 1 teaspoon dry chilli flakes or 1 Bird’s eye chilli pound into a paste.
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder optional (see the notes).
- 1 teaspoon salt or according to taste.
- 3 tablespoons Indonesian sweet soy sauce.
- Fried onions optional.
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil.
- 1 cup canned sweetcorn drained.
- Cook your rice as you usually do. You can refer to this blog on how to cook basmati rice. When it’s done, set it aside.
- You can also use leftover plain rice. I often do that. In fact, the idea of making nasi goreng is to make the most of your leftover rice.
- If you have a food processor or food chopper, you can blitz the onion, garlic, fresh chili (if using), and all the spices until you get a nice smooth paste. Or, you can use a pestle and mortar to pound them. And if you don’t have either of them, you can try to chop your onion, garlic, and fresh chili (if using) as fine as possible and then mix with the rest of the spice.
- Heat the oil in a large wok at medium-high heat. Then put the spice paste/ mix in, and keep stirring every now and again. Keep frying until the spice is fragrant.
- Drain the tuna and sweetcorn from their cans, and add in the spice. Stir well and leave it to cook for about 2 minutes.
- Then put you cooked rice in the wok. Drizzle all the sweet soy sauce over it, and mix everything well.
- Stir and mix it all well until you can see that all rice grain is covered with spice and sauce.
- Serve your tuna fried rice on a plate with a sprinkle of fried onion on the top.
- You can enjoy your nasi goreng tuna with some salad, sambal (traditional chilli sauce), and prawn crackers (kerupuk).
- You don’t really have to use paprika powder if you don’t have it at home. I personally like it because I find its aroma is nice to get rid of the fishy smell of tuna. It also enhances the flavor.
- When it comes to chili, it depends on personal taste. Although I put one fresh chili in this recipe, don’t hesitate to add more or reduce it according to your personal preference. Note that chili powder also has different strengths from one to another. So I would suggest you put it according to what you know about your chili powder. As a reference, the fried rice that you find in Indonesia doesn’t taste spicy. Because they always serve their nasi goreng with “sambal”, the chili sauce.
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.