Indonesian Fried Rice


Fried rice is always a crowd-pleaser, and you’ll find this famous dish everywhere in Indonesia: on tin plates at roadside stands and on fine porcelain at Jakarta dinner parties. Spiced with sweet soy sauce, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, and chiles, and tossed with egg and chicken, this aromatic one-dish meal is actually a breakfast favorite. For added crunch, serve it with fried shallots and prawn crackers.


½ cup vegetable oil

1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 4 pieces

4 shallots, halved

4 garlic cloves

1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, bruised, and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon belacan shrimp paste

4 fresh Thai red chiles, seeds removed

2 large eggs, beaten

5 cups day-old cooked long-grain rice (see headnote)

¼ cup kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 fried eggs

3 scallions (green and white parts), thinly sliced

Fried shallots (optional)

Prawn crackers (optional)

Line a bowl with paper towels and set it aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until it is nearly smoking. Carefully
add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they are well fried and dark brown on all sides. Transfer the chicken to the paper towel–lined bowl and let it cool. When it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into small pieces and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok.

In a food processor, process the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, belacan, and Thai chiles to form a smooth paste. (If the mixture is too dry to process, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, being careful not to over-wet it.)

Heat the reserved oil in the wok over medium heat. Add the shallot paste and fry it for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant and darkened
in color. Push the fried paste to one side of the pan, pour in the beaten eggs, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to firm up. Break up the cooked egg and mix it with the fried paste. Add the rice and the shredded chicken to the wok and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, mixing them with the egg. Stir in the kecap manis and soy sauce, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, until the ingredients are combined. Divide the rice among 4 bowls and top each serving with a fried egg, scallions, and fried shallots and prawn crackers, if using.

Note: Fried shallots and prawn crackers can be found at Asian grocery stores.

Tip: The key to delicious fried rice
is to use leftover rice that’s been refrigerated overnight, so that it is dried out and less sticky.