Nasi Goreng Jawa (Javanese Fried Rice)

Nasi goreng is a classic Indonesian fried rice. Whether you make it at home or you pick it up from a street cart, it makes for a fantastic breakfast (or late-night snack) that uses up leftovers. "Nasi goreng is a comfort food," says Indonesian chef and TV personality William Wongso, who is very particular about that comfort. He makes his version in small batches, in a hot wok, with cold rice, and with distinct colors — yellow from scrambled egg, red from sambal bajak (a sweet and spicy condiment), and green from a scattering of scallions. This, Wongso's favorite style, is one he grew up eating in Surabaya, a city in East Java. Bumbu, the spice paste that flavors this rice, is richly savory, aromatic, and only mildly spicy. Toasting shrimp paste mellows out its pungent flavors and adds silky richness to the fried rice.

Nasi Goreng Jawa
Photo: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairns / Prop Styling by Natasha Kolenko
Total Time:
25 mins
2 servings


Bumbu (Spice Paste)

  • 2/3 cup seeded and coarsely chopped fresh red Kashmiri or other mild red chiles (from about 3 1/2 ounces chiles)

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped shallots

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped garlic

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ cup neutral oil (such as grapeseed oil), divided

  • 1 teaspoon terasi (fermented shrimp paste, such as Shrimp & 6A Brand)

Nasi Goreng Jawa (Fried Rice) 

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed oil)

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 2 cups cooked and chilled long-grain white rice (such as jasmine), preferably day-old

  • Kosher salt or lower-sodium soy sauce, to taste  

  • 1 large scallion, thinly diagonally sliced (about 1/3 cup)  


Make the bumbu

  1. Process chiles, shallots, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender until very finely chopped, about 20 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add terasi to skillet, and cook, mashing terasi into oil, until toasted and pungent, about 40 seconds. Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to skillet over medium. Add chile mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly softened but still vibrant in color, 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Stir in toasted terasi mixture. Remove from heat; transfer mixture to a small bowl.

Make the nasi goreng Jawa

  1. Heat oil in a wok or a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Pour in eggs, tilting wok to spread eggs evenly; cook, stirring gently and constantly, until eggs are set but still creamy looking, about 25 seconds. Add cooked rice, stirring to break up any clumps. Add 3 tablespoons bumbu; cook, stirring constantly, until rice is heated through and tinted the color of bumbu, about 2 minutes. Season with salt or soy sauce to taste. Remove from heat; stir in sliced scallion.

Make Ahead

Bumbu can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


Find fermented shrimp paste (sold as terasi or belacan) in South Asian grocery stores or online at

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