The beauty of nasi goreng is the fact that it requires only the most basic ingredients and a bit of imagination to create a perfect plate.
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Nasi goreng, literally meaning fried rice in Malay, is one of the most common dishes found here in Southeast Asia. It is very popular amongst the Chinese. It is a hearty dish that can be eaten at any time of the day at any location. The fast preparation time does not compromise the quality of the end product, and it can be a nutritious as well as delicious dish, depending on the ingredients which go into the fried rice. For children who prefer home-cooked food, it is common to see them tucking into fried rice during recess hours at school.
It is best to use rice that has been cooked and left to cool overnight to give the dish some fluffiness, as freshly cooked rice may be too soft to fry. It is rather common to use garlic or onions to give the fried rice more flavour and aroma. Usually these aromatics are fried lightly before adding in other ingredients like eggs, meat, squid, shrimp or even vegetables and the rice itself. The accompanying items vary greatly, from using button mushrooms or chinese cabbage to tom yum paste or chilli paste. The rice is added last and given a quick mix in the wok. Once all of the ingredients are blended together, seasoning like salt and pepper are added into the fried rice before serving it. Garnishings like red chillies, spring onions or even sliced egg omelettes are sprinkled on top before serving it.
As it is such a versatile and easy dish to prepare, many mamak stall traders in Malaysia have come up with their own variants of nasi goreng. Over the years, they have improvised the recipes and added all sorts of items to make it more appealing to their customers. There is the Nasi Goreng Pattaya, which is fried rice with shrimp, bits of chicken meat, chopped kai lan and chopped cili padi, served wrapped up in egg omelette. There is also Fried Rice with Chicken Floss and Pineapple, which is fried rice with bits of chicken meat and bits of pineapple served in a halved and hollowed pineapple, topped with chicken floss. Some of these traders have even given this dish fancy names to attract the interest of their customers, and most of the times these names are only limited to their imagination and creativity. Anyone fancy trying Nasi Goreng Obama?