Remains of the day

[Recipe 2] NASI GORENG (Indonesian fried rice) with leftover roast chicken

Excuse my OTT enthusing but these two meals are massive box tickers. Cheap? Yep! Easy? Yep! Tasty? Yep! Kid-friendly? Yeppity yep!
First up is classic roast chicken. Roasting your own chook is an absolute cinch, and it takes no extra time to cook two; allowing for planned-overs to use during the week. Feel free to brush the chickens with olive oil, but I’m from the Margaret Fulton school of cookery and prefer lashings of butter.
One of the best ways to use leftover chicken is in Nasi Goreng. I’m a Dutchie (born in Amersfoort) and have always loved Dutch-Indonesian meals such as bami and loempia. Nasi Goreng was our family favourite though, cooked up in an electric frying pan with deep-fried prawn crackers for scooping. My dad always added the traditional dollop of fiery sambal oelak, but nowadays I prefer a good squirt of sriracha. My parents’ secret ingredient was Conimex Nasi Goreng spice mix, made in the Netherlands and still available today. I’m not a huge fan of packaged spice mixes though and this one contains nasty palm oil and MSG. The spice paste recipe below is my copycat version!
Roasted belachan (dried shrimp paste) is essential for a proper Nasi Goreng. It smells like a dead animal, but adds the most pungent salty kick to fried rice. It’s readily available in Asian food stores, and large supermarkets including Woolworths in Australia.
Eet smakelijk
(enjoy your meal)!

Two roast chickens and herbed veggies. One Equals Two.Roast chicken and herbed veggies. One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Two roast chickens with herbed veggies

Ingredients (serves 4 people for 2 meals):
2 free range chickens, 1.75 kilos (3.8 lb) each, rinsed and dried with kitchen paper
60 grams (2 oz/½ stick) butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small limes
6–8 chat potatoes, peeled, halved
2 large red (purple/Spanish) onions, peeled and quartered
4 small–medium carrots, peeled, cut into thirds
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), de-seeded, cut into eighths
2 zucchinis (courgettes), trimmed, halved lengthwise and crosswise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary, as preferred
Steamed green beans, to serve

Preheat oven to 190°C (370ºF).
Bring chickens to room temperature for half an hour, while you prepare the veggies.
Place the chickens on a rack in a large roasting pan. I use a cookie rack over a large, deep tray that came with my oven, but two smaller pans side by side will suffice.
Remove and discard any white blobby fat and large loose pieces of skin from around the chicken cavities. Brush the chickens all over with butter and season well with salt and pepper. Place a whole lime into each cavity, tie the drumsticks together with butchers twine and turn chickens breast-side down (ie. legs down, wings up).

Arrange the potato pieces around the chickens and drizzle with remaining butter.
Roasting stage 1 (50 mins): Roast for 50 minutes, tossing and basting the potatoes with the chicken juices after 25 minutes (or drizzle with a little olive oil if your chickens haven’t produced enough juice yet).
Roasting stage 2 (40 mins): Carefully remove tray from oven and turn the chickens breast-side up. Add onion, carrots, capsicum and zucchini to the pan. Baste chicken and vegetables with pan juices; and scatter veggies with herbs, salt and pepper. Return pan to the oven and roast for a further 40 minutes, gently tossing the vegetables after 20 minutes; until the chickens are golden brown, and juices run clear when the thick part of a thigh is pierced with a skewer. If juices run pink, return to the oven for a further ten minutes and test again.

Total cooking time is 1½ hours (see notes below).
Allow chickens to rest on a board, lightly covered with foil, for ten minutes.
Remove and discard limes. Cut one chicken into quarters and serve immediately, with roasted veggies and steamed green beans.
♦ After dinner, strip off and discard the skin from the remaining chicken, and remove all the meat. Chop or slice the meat and store in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

  • Roasting time will vary depending on the weight of the chicken. Cook for 25 minutes per 500g (1 lb).
  • 1 x 1.75 kilo chicken yields approx 4 cups chopped chicken meat – you’ll need 2 cups meat for Recipe 2.
  • Leftover roast chicken is fantastic stirred through Vietnamese style coleslaw. Use this recipe, replacing the beef with sliced chicken. Remaining cabbage can be used in Recipe 2 (see below)!
  • Leftover roast veggies and chicken are delicious in toasties with pesto and Swiss cheese; or in wraps with caramelised red onion jam, cheddar and rocket (arugula).

Nasi Goreng with leftover roast chicken. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice)

Ingredients (serves 4, plus leftovers for lunch the next day):
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or peanut or vegetable oil if unavailable)
125g (4.5 oz) bacon, chopped
1 brown onion, finely diced
♦ 2 cups reserved roast chicken, chopped (see Recipe 1)
600g (1.3 lb) raw veggies (I use ¼ cabbage, shredded; 2 corn cobs, kernels removed; 2 carrots, grated; ¼ green capsicum, diced and ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted)
4 eggs
Cracked black pepper
To serve:
Lime wedges
Sriracha sauce
Pre-cooked prawn crackers (optional)
Nasi Goreng spice paste:
20g (.7 oz) roasted belachan (dried shrimp paste)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup Kecap manis
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 teaspoons dried ground cumin

Prepare Nasi Goreng spice paste by pounding belachan, garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and add other spice paste ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days until required.
Cook rice according to packet instructions, by boiling rather than absorption. Rinse with cold water, drain well and allow to cool completely, covered, in the fridge. Rice can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.
Heat oil in a large wok over a high heat, until just smoking. Add bacon and onion and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
Add prepared Nasi Goreng spice paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add prepared vegetables and stir-fry over a high heat for 2 minutes.
Add the cooked, cooled rice to the wok with the reserved roast chicken. Toss gently for 2-3 minutes, until warmed through and well-coated in spice paste.
Meanwhile, fry the eggs in a non-stick frying pan until cooked to your liking.
Divide the Nasi Goreng amongst four bowls; reserving any leftovers for lunch the following day. Top each serving with a fried egg and scatter with pepper. Serve with lime wedges, sriracha sauce and prawn crackers.

  • Sriracha sauce, pre-cooked prawn crackers (krupuk), roasted belachan (dried shrimp paste) and kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) are all available at large supermarkets and Asian food stores. You can replace belachan with 2 teaspoons fish sauce if unavailable, but the overall flavour will be milder. 
  • Although my combination of veggies is recommended, particularly the cabbage, you can use other available vegetables to equal 600g (1.3 lb); including leek, celery, bean sprouts and mushrooms.
  • You can use leftover cooked cooled rice for this dish. 2 cups uncooked basmati rice yields about 6 cups of cooked rice. 
  • An ultra hot wok is imperative for perfect fried rice. If your wok is small and likely to be overloaded, you can cook the nasi goreng in two batches.
  • Leftover Nasi Goreng is excellent for lunch, reheated gently in a microwave. For a touch of freshness, scatter with chopped spring onions or sliced cucumber. You can also add a finely sliced omelette. My kids take warmed leftover Nasi Goreng in little thermoses to school (note: if your school has a nut-free policy, be sure to use coconut or vegetable oil for frying, rather than peanut oil).

26 thoughts on “Remains of the day

  1. I loved reading about your method for roasting chickens, Sas, and I’m also encouraged to cook two at once in future. Not something I’ve ever done! Those birds look bee-ootiful. I’m actually roasting a chicken tonight, with any left overs going into a simple lemony soup with noodles tomorrow; I like the other flavours that you have going on here. Mmm.

  2. Roast chicken is ALWAYS a welcome leftover in our house – it’s so versatile! But I do love the sound of that nasi goreng. Mmm-mmmm!

    • Thanks Pamela. It’s my family’s dream dinner too 🙂
      My sons take leftover nasi goreng to school for lunch, and their little thermoses come home completely scraped clean! And yep, nothing better than leftover roast veggies.

  3. Your roasted chicken is perfectly browned Sas! It’s lovely and your vegetables are second to none! I’m of the same school of thought…definitely butter, lots of butter. I’ll add a roaster to my list next week, very interested in Nasi Goreng. I have a little footwork cut out for me tracking down both roasted belachan and Kecap manis (most likely not too difficult here in Seattle). Loving your purple onions!

    • Thanks Seana. A big YES to butter. You’d be alarmed if you saw how much of that stuff we have in our fridge.
      Good luck with your ingredient sleuthing. I’ll be curious to see if you can find balachan. Kecap manis is a very sweet, thick soy sauce. You could add normal soy and a dash of brown or palm sugar instead. I found the whole US shopping thing fascinating – we have a tiny Mexican section in our supermarket (literally a couple of short shelves). Our eyes popped out of their heads at your huge AISLES of Mexican things, especially all the hot sauces. I was really tempted to ship a box back home. Couldn’t find any Indian ingredients though; that’s a cuisine that’s very popular here.

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