This fried rice might punch your face if you dislike the army of the sea – anchovy and fermented dried shrimp paste because these 2 ingredients are the main flavoring agent for this village style fried rice. I am not sure of the origin of this fried rice but I guess this was cooked up by adding some ingredients at hand and easily sourced locally just like how some great dishes you see being created unconsciously with the nearby ingredients BUT it is great at the end of the day.
The fragrant paste used for this Malaysian village-style fried rice has a very interesting combo. All the ingredients for this paste are have very strong character of smell and taste. Some of them or maybe all of them make you cry and run for life. The combo is made up of onion, garlic, bird eye chilli, anchovy, dried shrimp paste. They describe themselves as: strong, pungent, blow your mind and also “please don’t run away, we are GREAT!” All these ingredients are pounded into a great paste and then you fry the paste in oil before you add the rice. A strong scent will terrorise your house and even your pet will carry this smell for sometime. I just hope that when you eat this fried rice, you will say that it’s all worth it, I don’t care how my house is smelling right now.
When you smell and taste the fried rice, it gives a really good aroma of the onion, garlic, dried shrimp paste and anchovy combo. Dried shrimp paste is a must because it gives a great scent and a savory depth to the rice. So you also have anchovy, a great fishy flavoring agent. It is like eating pasta with a few types of cheese on it. It gives you many levels of tastes leaving you wanting more.
Dried anchovy is a really good flavoring agent. Some might not like it because of the fishy smell. But the aroma is intriguing. The Italian uses anchovy in their pasta and the Malaysian uses anchovy in their rice. I like anchovies especially if it’s fried. I also use it to make some awesome soup stock for noodles, I don’t eat nasi lemak without it, I fry rice using it because it gives really good seafood fragrant without being able to find seafood in it.
Dried shrimp paste is made by fermenting shrimps. Let Wiki tells you more if you are interested: Shrimp Paste. Same concept as cheese. By the way, shrimp paste is definitely not for the faint hearted ones. It leaves trail, it leaves smell on everything in your house… Shrimp paste works really great with onion, garlic and chilli. This combo makes a really good chili paste and you can use in many Malaysian cuisines.
Initially, I fried all the ingredients for the fragrant paste separately but it didn’t give me the taste and result I wanted. And then I decided to pound the ingredients into paste form. The result was great. So, do pound the ingredients using mortar and pestle because it gives you good paste and then good fried rice. I am using brown rice for this recipe, feel free to change it to white rice or any rice you see fit.
Malaysian Village Style Fried Rice “Nasi Goreng Kampung” (Serves 2)
adapted from Table for 2…or More’s website
- 2 cups of cooked brown rice, preferably stored in fridge overnight
- ¼ cup dried anchovies for frying, wash and dry
- A small bunch of kangkung, cut into 4cm long
- 2 eggs
- 2 birds eye chilli (optional)
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil (for frying anchovies and reserve 1 tablespoon for frying the rice later)
- Fragrant Paste (pound with mortar and pestle):
- Another 15 dried anchovies, wash and dry
- 2 shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bird eye chili
- ¼ tablespoon of dried shrimp paste
- ½ tablespoon of oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon of fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- Salt to taste
- Garnish: Fried anchovies, sliced spring onion and a few sliced cucumber
- Heat up the wok on high heat. Put in vegetable oil.
- Put in the dried anchovies to fry until light golden brown color. Drain the anchovies and set aside.
- Using the same oil but only use 1 tablespoon in the wok, add in the fragrant paste. Fry for about 2 minutes.
- Add in brown rice. Stir fry the rice so that the fragrant paste coats well on the rice. Fry for about 2 minutes. Add in some dried anchovies and the kangkung and fry until the kangkung turn soft.
- Make a well in the middle, add in the egg. Stir fry again for about 1 minute. Add in oyster sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir fry for another 2 minutes and adjust the taste if needed.
- Garnish with the balance fried anchovies, spring onion and cucumber.