There’s not a tourist restaurant in Indonesia that doesn’t serve nasi goreng, the umami-packed fried rice that will colour every traveller’s memories. It takes a little care to make it well, but can be undeniably delicious with the sauces adding treacly depth and a smoky edge from the heat of the wok. What’s more, it is the perfect way to use up odd vegetables and yesterday’s rice. In fact, it demands rice that has been cooked and cooled, which helps keep the grains light rather than oily.
Sweet Ginger Chicken
The Chinese influence on this chicken stir-fry is clear, but the sauce has an added treacly depth from Indonesian palm sugar and kecap manis. It is dark and glossy and permeated by the husky heat of fresh ginger. A perfect speedy supper, popular with children.
Black Rice Pudding with Salted Coconut Cream
Glossy black grains of rice stuck to our daughter’s baby cheeks has become a familiar sight as she so loves this inky pudding. Any Asian supermarket should sell black rice from either Indonesia or Thailand. It is packed with nutrients and has a great nuttiness, but needs soaking overnight to soften the fibre-packed hulls before cooking. I like the rice not too sweet (do add more palm sugar if you’d prefer) and a luscious topping of salty coconut cream provides the perfect unctuous contrast.