Spicy? YES, sweet? YES, Crunchy YES and tasty? OH YES! This vegetarian recipe for a classic Indonesian rice dish; Nasi Goreng (which actually translates to fried rice in Indonesian) is the perfect way to introduce yourself to meatless meals. I have never felt so in love with a plate of food before, so much so that now I always keep a block of tofu in the fridge in case I feel an urge for Nasi Goreng coming on…and I’ve been talking about it so much that my partner has now banned the words “Nasi Goreng” from the house because he’s so sick of hearing me talk about it! Only joking, but genuinely I haven’t shut up about it, and now I'm very excited to share my recipe with you. This perfect lunch/dinner meal takes about 45 mins and although it uses a few ingredients and is a bit of a process, the outcome will have you already planning it into next week's meals!
200g Extra Firm Tofu
3 tbsp Plain Flour
60ml Dairy Free Milk (I used soy milk)
2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
100g Golden Breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Crushed Seaweed, optional
2 tbsp Lemon, Pepper and Herb Seasoning
150g White/Jasmine rice
2 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
185g Jar of Nasi Goreng Paste
100g Green Beans, topped and tailed
2 Large Carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 a Cucumber, sliced as a side
A Handful of Spinach to use on the side
To start with, preheat your oven to 190C/170 Fan/ Gas Mark 4 and cut your tofu into bite-sized cubes, as we’re using the extra firm kind you don’t need to press or firm the tofu overnight, just take it out of the packet and cube it up! Then, take three bowls, put the flour into one, the soy sauce and milk into another, and finally, the breadcrumbs, seaweed, and seasoning into the final bowl.
Take a cube of tofu, coat it heavily in flour, dunk it into the soy milk mix letting it sit on each side for 3-5 seconds before rolling it in the breadcrumb mix, repeat with the rest of your cubes and then arrange them on a tray with a non-stick baking mat. Pop the cubes in the oven for about 15-20 mins, turn them over halfway through and take them out when they feel crispy.
Now boil your rice, I cheated and used boil in the bag but just stick it into some well-salted boiling water and let the rice boil while your tofu cooks.
Once the rice is cooked, strain it and set it aside for now, it doesn’t matter if it cools down a bit because we’re going to add it back into a wok later on. Now, boil up some more water and add your carrots and beans in to cook for around 10 mins, they just need softening before we add them to the wok.
Get a wok or deep frying pan, add a tsp of oil and cook the garlic on medium-high heat until it browns and becomes fragrant.
Take your breaded tofu out of the oven and put it into the wok with the garlic, add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and 2 large tbsp of the Nasi Goreng paste, keep mixing and turning the tofu around in the pan until the soy sauce and paste become sticky on the tofu, I couldn’t believe how good this looked!
Now, add your rice to the wok along with another couple of tbsp of soy sauce and Nasi Goreng paste (I try to use an entire jar of Nasi Goreng for 2 servings). Keep stirring the rice and tofu to make sure everything is well coated.
Add the carrots and beans to the wok and any leftover paste, turn it down to medium heat, and stir it all together for about 5 mins before turning out onto a plate.
Now to put everything together! On one side put a few slices of cucumber and a handful of spinach, add your delicious Nasi Goreng next to it, then quickly fry 2 eggs in the wok to whatever preference you like and add on top of your meal! Grab some water for this spicy feast and enjoy!
This really does taste as good as it looks! Obviously, you don’t have to add the mini side salad or the egg on top if you don’t want to, if you take the egg away then this entire meal is vegan which is always a plus, I kept the salad and egg as looking at some more traditional recipes these were on every single one. You don’t even have to add the seaweed if you don’t want to, it’s just when I was looking up ingredients I noticed that a lot of traditional recipes used chicken or beef with prawns or fish so I tried to add a fishy taste with the seaweed but I think it was a bit overpowered with the spice, so I’ll keep working on that part.
When I first looked into making this, I wasn’t really sure if I'd even like it as I thought it would just be rice and veggies but when I decided to make the breaded tofu as well, it took the meal to a whole other level, with the rice on it’s own its super filling but the addition of that crispy, crunchy tofu just helps to add more bite and a “meat’ element if that’s something you’d like to add as well.
Since making this dish, I’ve made it 3 more times and loved it each time, I’m not always in the mood for this level of spice but this dish is pretty simple to make and once you buy the smaller ingredients like the soy sauce and seasonings you’ll always have a little bit to make this time and time again.
I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new, or maybe you already knew about Nasi Goreng and I’m re-igniting an old classic, either way I hope you find the time to give this absolute gem a go.