“Nasi Goreng has been a staple of Dutch family dinners as long as I can remember! When I interviewed my Oma she provided me with historical facts about Dutch cuisine that I was unaware of. This illustrates just how complacent I had been in terms of my consumption habits throughout much of my life, and the lack of food communication across generations. My ignorance was startling; my Oma taught me to make this dish as a young girl but I never knew its origins.”
Indonesia is historically linked to the Netherlands because in the 1800’s The Dutch East India Trading Company established a colony there to exploit their agriculture, spices, and labour through slavery. Indonesia was referred to as the Dutch East Indies until just after World War II. During WWII, the Japanese occupied Indonesia and Dutch soldiers were sent there to defend their colony. The Indonesian Nationalists fought to secure their freedom which was established in 1949.
Nasi Goreng, like many other Dutch dishes, is originally from Indonesia. It is similar to fried rice, so it is very simple and adaptable to taste, preference or available ingredients. Kathleen’s Oma explained that it was often revered for its versatility because this meant you could prepare dinner with what you had in the cupboard/fridge, something that was especially favourable during post-war years. What she meant is that you can add whatever type of meat, vegetables or seasonings to this dish. The recipe her Oma shared with us is the one that always returned the best reviews in her family. Cooking is meant to be fun though; if you are comfortable, experiment with it. Just don’t forget the fried egg.
For more information on the implications of colonial rule see the following essay: http://www.houseofdavid.ca/frnlus.htm
Nasi Goreng – Yields 6 – 8 servings
1 1/2 Ibs meat cut into ½” cubes (our family likes pork shoulder chops)
3 yellow cooking onions diced
1 ½ cups finely chopped vegetables (celery, carrots and peppers were our favourites)
5 tbsp butter (Oma ALWAYS cooks with A LOT of butter, a delicious consequence of Dutch cuisine, but you can use oil if preferred.)
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 tbsp Black Pepper
4 cups rice
A note from Kathleen: I encourage you to be creative! I have created a curried Nasi Goreng and I have added mild red chillies, soy sauce and garlic. I have also added nothing, and eaten it the way my Oma always made it.
- In a large pot, cook rice as per package directions and set aside.
- In a large Dutch Oven, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add meat, salt and pepper and toss; searing on all sides.
- Lower heat to medium-low and cover with lid. Cook for about 12 min and stir occasionally.
- Add onions and continue to cook for 8 min, keeping pot covered and stirring occasionally.
- Add vegetables and optional seasonings. Stir occasionally. Cook until achieved almost desired tenderness. (The Dutch tend to overly cooked vegetables. Cooking time will vary depending on preference. Just keep pricking with a fork to see!)
- Add rice and toss until thoroughly mixed. Lower heat to low and cover. Cook until vegetables have reached desired tenderness while stirring occasionally, being sure to not let rice burn at bottom. (About 10-15 min)
- In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Crack as many eggs will fit into pan and fry sunny side up.
- Serve Nasi Goreng and top with a fried egg!