Growing up, I was always the chubby one. I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself fat but I could definitely do with losing a few kilos. Even my school thought so too. They sent me to the weight loss club….. *no words*….It was so embarrassing. We fat kids had no say in it. Twice a week we had to report to school earlier than usual and run around the school. I kid you not. Luckily, bullying is not a big issue in Singapore schools. Not back then anyway. I honestly don’t remember anyone being picked on for being fat or short or anything else. Maybe the odd tease if you had a funny name or bottle-bottom glasses, but never anything serious. Or maybe I was just that oblivious.
Anyway, you can imagine that I’ve tried a plethora of diets. Each one lasting for a whole two days. Three, if I was really determined. I just love food too much and I make no apologies for that. What joy is there in life if you can’t enjoy your food? My specific weakness is rice. I LOOOOVE rice. Which is why I never even tried the Atkin’s diet. Rice just makes everything taste better. So believe me when I tell you that I always cook way too much rice. Thus I always have leftovers. What to do? Logical answer: fried rice.
Fried rice is so versatile. You can throw in pretty much anything in it, so it’s a very good way to clean out your fridge. Having said that, I have to admit that I usually don’t stray too far from the usual suspects. Carrots, peas, some form of meat and eggs. But if you’ve read my last post, you’d know that my son is allergic to eggs. I was bummed about this because I really like eggs in my fried rice. I really like eggs in general. For quite some time, I was making fried rice without eggs and topping it with an egg sunny side up for the rest of the family. But it just wasn’t the same. Then I suddenly remembered this dish. And I haven’t gone back since. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it tastes better this way. You get a piece of creamy omelette with every bite of rice. So good.
Many might assume that this is a Thai dish. With a name like that, it’s a very forgivable mistake to make. I’ve made it myself. It’s really a Malaysian dish with many cousins worldwide. In Indonesia, it’s known as Nasi Goreng Amplop and in Japan, Omurice. All delicious because it’s basically the same dish (with small variations). As I write this, I realise that optically, my dish resembles Omurice more than it does NGP but I’m too lazy to change the title and the flavour is closer to NGP than to Omurice anyway.
Classically, the dish is chicken ketchup fried rice wrapped in an omelette but you can use any kind of fried rice and it will work beautifully. I used my Uncle’s Nasi Goreng Special recipe, which I had re-created from memory and tweaked to my liking. If he ever tasted it, he’d probably laugh and say that it’s nothing like his. But I’m happy with it and that’s what counts.
Nasi Goreng Pattaya
- 3 cups cold cooked rice
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 boneless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 large carrot, diced into pea-sized cubes
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp coriander powder
- ¼ vegetable/chicken stock cube (yes, I cheat)
- approx. ¼ cup ketchup (see picture above)
- cooking oil
- salt and pepper
- 8 eggs
- Marinate the chicken with a shake of coriander powder, paprika powder and 1 tsp oil. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok on high heat. Add garlic and chicken and stir fry until chicken is no longer pink.
- Add rice, salt (approx. ½ tsp), pepper, coriander and turmeric powder. Mix well, breaking up the rice with the back of your spatula. Dish up the rice and set aside.
- Clean your wok if you have to.
- In the same wok, heat up a tbsp of oil and add cabbage, carrots and stock cube. Stir well, add ¼ cup water at a time and steam until cabbage is tender. When cabbage is cooked, allow the excess liquid to cook off. Don’t add too much water at a time because we don’t want gravy. Just enough moisture to cook the cabbage.
- Add peas and cook for about a minute.
- Return rice to the wok, add the ketchup and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat a tsp of oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat.
- In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs very well. Add to pan and swirl it around to make an omelette as thin and large as possible.
- When omelette is almost cooked, add one portion of fried rice to one half of the omelette and carefully fold the other half over it.
- Flip the omelette rice over onto a plate.
- Drizzle ketchup all over and serve. Enjoy!