Dutch Nasi Goreng with Chicken Satay and Atjar

This summer we’re going boating for 10 days with a group of around 30 friends, and I’m going to be the chef on board. For this trip I’m trying out some tasty, healthy and budget-conscious versions of Dutch favorites such as shawarma and in this case nasi with chicken satay. Nasi goreng is one of Indonesia’s national dishes that means “fried rice”. Indonesian food as it is eaten in the Netherlands clearly has Indonesian origins, but has been “Dutchified” and is known simply as “nasi”.  Even in Indonesia there is no official recipe for nasi goreng, as its origins are related to a way to preserve left-over rice and other left-over foods by frying them. I’m by no means claiming that this version is authentic, far from it. But it sure is good!

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In this version, the rice is fried with vegetables only, and served with atjar (pickled cabbage and carrot) and chicken satay (chicken skewers with satay sauce).

Ingredients

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For 8 servings

For the nasi 

800 grams (4 cups) pandan rice

300 grams (.67 lbs) bean sprouts (taugé)

2 onions

1/2 head of cabbage, shredded

1 leek, chopped

1 red chile pepper, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger

ketjap asin (salty Indonesian soy sauce)

ketjap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)

sambal oelek (Indonesian red chile pepper paste)

ground turmeric (koenjit) to taste

ground coriander (ketoembar) to taste

ground laos to taste

oil for stir frying

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For the atjar

cabbage

carrot

a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water

ground ginger (djahé) to taste

ground turmeric (koenjit) to taste

ground laos to taste

palm sugar (or brown sugar) to taste

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For the chicken satay (24 skewers, serves 8)

1.6 kilos (3.5 lbs) boneless skinless chicken thighs

24 bamboo skewers

250 ml (1 cup) ketjap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)

1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

1 tsp ground ginger (djahé)

1 tsp ground laos

1 tsp ground coriander (ketoembar)

peanut sauce

Preparation

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For the atjar, shred carrot and cabbage. This is easiest using a food processor.

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For the atjar, combine water, vinegar, and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring. Taste. If it is too sour, add more sugar or water. If it is too sweet, add more vinegar or water. You can also add more spices if you like.

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Add the carrot and cabbage and cook for 5 minutes.

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Allow to cool off, which happens more quickly in an ice bath. It is best to make the atjar the day before and allow the flavors to develop in the refrigerator.

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For the satay, cut the chicken into cubes and put on skewers. Arrange the skewers in a shallow dish.

To prevent the skewers from burning, allow them to soak in water for 30 minutes before using.

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Combine the ketjap with the spices and stir to mix to make the marinade.

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Cover the chicken with the marinade.

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Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for an hour in the refrigerator.

Grill the chicken satay over a hot charcoal fire until just cooked through. (Unfortunately we forgot to take a picture of this step.)

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Cook the rice and allow to cool to room temperature in a shallow dish. The rice must be cold before you fry it.

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Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water.

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Heat stir fry oil in a wok. Add cabbage, onion, red chile pepper, garlic, ginger and leek. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables start to color.

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Add spices, ketjap asin, and sambal oelek, followed by the rice in parts. Keep stir frying and adding rice until you have incorporated all of the rice.

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Taste and adjust the seasoning with more sambal, ketjap asin or manis, or spices, if needed.

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Serve the nasi with chicken satay, peanut sauce, and atjar.

The verdict

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The testing panel liked this version of nasi. We also confirmed that it pairs well with beer as well as gewürztraminer.

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26 thoughts on “Dutch Nasi Goreng with Chicken Satay and Atjar

  1. Stefan! Every time I think that I’m going to make an interesting recipe of yours then you come up with another intriguing one. All of the components in this recipe look great on its own. I love sweet/sour cabbage dishes in general, like cole slaw. Also, here’s another recipe to use up my cache of bamboo skewers. This is a fantastic summer dish. Score!

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  2. Stefan, great recipe. I still can’t believe you are going to cook for 30 people for 10 days. 😮 That is anything but relaxing. Are you cooking all 3 meals or only dinner?

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    1. For breakfast and lunch I’m only baking fresh bread every day. Dutch breakfast doesn’t require a lot of cooking (no pancakes, bacon, eggs). If the oven we’ve bought from a restaurant works (it’s supposed to go up to 1100 degrees F, which is high even for pizza) I may do pizza for lunch some time 🙂
      I’ll be bored shitless on that boat without the cooking!

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  3. – Oh Stefan! Your nasi goreng puts mine to shame! Of course, how can I compare mine to that of a Master! I was not able to find some of the ingredients you have available to you. I love chicken satay and yours look beyond scrumptious. I’m not sure if I had atjar before, though it sounds familiar… perfect, refreshing for the ensemble.
    – In my younger years, I used to frequently have dinner parties at my house (when I had a big one) and cook single handedly for over 40 people. for my sister’s wedding, together with another sister of mine, two of us cooked a varieties of Persian dished for 150 guests. We were exhausted for the next few days. I wish I could watch you in action on the boat. If you post your masterpieces and photos (which I’m sure you will) I can vicariously! 😀

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    1. Thanks Fae, although I’m far from a master when it comes to Indonesian cooking. And in fact when it comes to cooking in general, I believe you are as much a ‘master’ as I am.
      I won’t be doing the cooking single handedly, as other people on board will help out. I don’t mind the work, but I do like having company while I cook. Especially when preparing dishes that require a lot of repetitive work. It doesn’t only go faster with more hands to help, time also seems to go by faster that way 🙂 I am planning to do posts from the boat, although I don’t know yet how feasible that will be.

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  4. Ah, now you’re getting into familiar (to me at least!) territory. Not many people make their own atjar in Holland as it’s so easy to find pre-made, and there’s actually not that much wrong with it. Since I’ve moved to the UK I’ve resorted to making my own. Main differences between our recipes is that I add a small amount of shredded onion and salt (not sure about precise amounts; I just balance sweet/sour/salty); also, I tend to use fresh ginger rather than dried ginger powder.

    For the satay, I like using a warm marinade. It helps the marinade to really soak into the chicken, rather than staying only on the surface of the satay. Since satay marinade is traditionally quite sweet, it burns easily on the grill. Warm-marinading your chicken ensures your chicken is done (or very close to done) before it hits the grill, which reduces grilling time and helps prevent burning the satay. That sous-vide rig of yours would come in handy there! I like adding khaffir lime leaf (daun jeruk purut) and lemon grass to satay marinade – they really help lift the flavour.

    For an instant authenticity boost, I’d suggest to swap out the Conimex soy sauce for pretty much any other brand. In Indonesia, sweet soy sauce is thick and syrupy. ABC is the leading brand, and is fairly easy to find in Holland as well. The white “jerry cans” with red cap are also excellent. In smaller sized bottles, Lucullus is decent. In contrast, Conimex is just about the LEAST authentic-tasting soy sauce out there.

    The average sambal found in Holland is “sambal oelek” which -to me- is utterly useless. By the time I notice the chiles, the food is ruined by the overly high salt content. Not so with Koningsvogel (my favourite is Badjak) which not only packs a punch, but also adds tons of flavour.

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    1. Thanks for your interesting comments!
      You are right about the pre-made atjar, which I will actually be using on the boat. Since most of my readers are outside of NL and it’s easy to make, I thought it would be nice to show how.
      Warm marinating is an interesting idea and would indeed be great using sous-vide, because it will allow the chicken to be completely cooked before it goes onto the grill. You are right that it will burn easily on the grill because of the sugar content.
      The whole point of this post was to do a Dutch version of nasi, that is why I used Conimex 🙂
      I’ll probably have to travel to Indonesia before ever trying to master authentic Indonesian food, and that is not very likely to happen.

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  5. Two of my favourite dishes from two corners of the world: good to know ‘how you do it’!! Nasi Goreng was hugely popular in Australia when I first got married [long way back] and onto the dinner party ‘circuit’. Have to try yours: it is more ‘minimalist’ than mine but looks delicious! Local oddity: everyone seems to cook with kecap manis here but very few people know kecap asin? Am ‘lazy’ as far as schwarma is concerned: know too many ‘home firms’ who produce rather brilliant ‘ready’ mixes and have succumbed – had no idea that schwarma dishes were popular in the Netherlands . . . interesting!!

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    1. My version is very minimalist and has more veggies because I’m trying to make everyone on board eat healthy — at least for the meals I’m serving 😉
      Shawarma is mostly popular in NL as late night (early morning) food. You’re lucky if you can get it freshly made. Kecap manis is more common here as well, but both asin and manis are available in every supermarket.

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  6. I’m not at all familiar with this dish, Stefan, and don’t even know where to begin looking for the ingredients. Regardless, once again you’ve taught me a new dish. I’m impressed that you’re planning to cook for 30 people on a 10 day cruise, even though that won’t necessarily mean 3 meals a day. I hope you’ll have some help so that you can relax a bit, too.

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  7. wow, nicely done Stefan! I have to say, half the ingredients in this recipe are unknown to me. I should have paid more attention when I was roommates with my friend from indonesia during college years! You guys look extremely happy, a testament to the success of your dish and hosting abilities! pretty awesome! 🙂 I actually appreciate the tip about the skewers soaking in water, you pay attention to every detail. It’s crazy.

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  8. Im so happy you shred your own veg; whenever I go to AH and see prepackaged stuff for nasi I get so sad. This looks awesome, and I love the idea of making it at home to control the salt and such. Lekker!

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  9. Heel erg bedankt voor al deze recepten. Wij wonen in Amerika and maakte vroeger altijd Indonesische recepten van Conimex. Sinds ze geen Conimex hier verkopen en het ook veel beter/gezonder vinden om niet alles van een mix te maken, hebben we geen goede recepten kunnen vinden om het allemaal zelf te maken, tot nu toe! Nogmaals bedankt! We gaan vanavond uw Nasi recept uitproberen.

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  10. This was seriously SO good. I doubled the sauce and didnt put any broth and added chili pepper flakes to both the sauce and the noodle mixture. Also increased the garlic. Served with steamed edamame for appetizer and bananas foster for dessert. Amazing, thanks!!

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