My husband has berated me for my blogging content this week, as my recipes are neither seasonal nor local. However, in my defence, it is Friday night, and as a nation we Brits all love a takeaway on a Friday night. The food and drink I am writing about are perfect Friday night fodder, and far, far better than a bought-in take-away.
Despite loving cooking and eating home-cooked food, we usually have a takeaway on a Friday or Saturday night if we are in. It will usually be either Indian (mild for the children’s sake), or Chinese in front of Britain’s Got Talent. For Brent and my palate, take-aways need to be fragrant, spicy and savoury, and this Friday the children are visiting their grandparents, so we can go as spicy as we like. We used to make this dish a lot when the children were very little, and not sharing our meals. It is probably too spicy for them (however you can amend the amount of chillies you add), and it is certainly fragrant and savoury. And best of all, because it is home-made, there are no nasty hidden ingredients.
Nasi Goreng (literally meaning fried rice) is sort of like an Indonesian paella. Made with long-grain rice (medium glycaemic load or GL) its ingredients have many health benefits. It is served with a garnish of raw salad high in enzymes to help aid digestion (cucumber, tomatoes, peppers), and we like to add lots of fresh coriander to it too, so that the raw ingredients almost overwhelm the cooked ones, adding to its health benefits.
One key ingredient is turmeric, a fantastic anti-inflammatory spice that adds the distinctive yellow colour to the dish. Turmeric is a wonder spice, and as well as being anti-inflammatory is cardioprotective, beneficial for skin conditions such as psoriasis, a potent antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic.
The chilli content (both fresh and dried) is rich in vitamins and minerals and has similar properties to the turmeric, helps to reduce cholesterol and increases endorphin production for the feel-good factor. The other ingredients, lean protein, are key building blocks for the body.
Nasi Goreng can be prepared in many different ways. We base ours on a recipe in one of my favourite cookery books, given to me by my brother, Culinaria: South-East Asian Specialties, which I highly recommend if you like cooking Asian food.
Before you get started with preparing the nasi goreng, though, you will need a cocktail. Brent and I spent an evening sampling these, and they are delicious, although more than 1 saketini is brave, and more than 2 foolhardy. Asian-themed, they go well with the nasi goreng despite being from a different parts of Asia.
Cucumber and Basil Saketinis
- 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 12 basil leaves
- 2 parts Sake (we used Sawanotsuru)
- 1 part Vodka (we used Grey Goose)
- Splash of Sugar Cane Syrup (we used Saint-James)
- Juice the cucumber (I used my Matstone Juicer) with a handful of basil leaves to infuse the cucumber juice
- Chill the martini glasses
- Combine the sake, vodka and sugar cane in cocktail shaker
- Add cucumber and basil juice
- Shake over ice
- Strain and serve, with a squeeze of lime, and garnish with a basil leaf
- 200g/7oz long grain rice (we used Basmati)
- 2 eggs
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1-3 fresh red chillies, deseeded
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 chicken thighs, boned and skinned and cut into pieces
- 250g peeled, cooked prawns
- 1/2 tsp chilli pepper
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- seasoning to taste
- a handful of cherry tomatoes
- sliced red or yellow peppers
- sliced cucumber
- 1 bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
- 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- Precook the rice and leave to cool.
- Lightly beat the seasoned eggs and make omelette. Leave to cool, roll up and slice into narrow strips.
- Heat the oil in a large pan or wok, and add onions, garlic, chillies and shrimp paste until fragrant.
- Add chicken and prawns and cook gently for 2 mins or so
- Stir in chilli powder and turmeric
- Add soya sauce, tomato puree and seasoning
- Add cooked rice and stir-fry till hot
- Serve immediately, with omelette strips on top and garnish on the side.
- If you like it as hot as we do, add some Sriracha, Lotus Chilli Oil or Chilli Garlic Sauce
There were no leftovers this evening, and it was absolutely delicious. I think the children would love it too if I reduced the chilli content and went easy on the coriander.