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Indonesian Fried-Rice Sauce

Indonesian Fried-Rice Sauce

A punchy sauce is what gives many iconic Asian rice and noodle dishes, such as fried rice, lo mein, and pad thai, their signature flavors; without the right sauce, these dishes would be unrecognizable. Luckily, we found that we could re-create many of these distinct flavor profiles in simple sauces using ingredients available at well-stocked supermarkets. Because different noodles absorb different amounts of sauce, and different dishes require different levels of sauciness, we found that customizing each noodle sauce to its specific use was key. For our fried-rice sauces, like this Indonesian Fried-Rice Sauce, we created a just-thick-enough texture and plenty of flavor using ingredients like fish sauce, soy sauce, and even molasses. Including some naturally viscous ingredients meant we didn’t need an additional thickener; the sauces clung nicely to the starchy surface of the chilled precooked rice (an essential component of most fried-rice recipes).

Makes about ½ cup; enough for 6 cups cooked rice

Soy sauce sweetened with dark brown sugar and molasses approximates the flavors of the Indonesian condiment kecap manis.

3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

Whisk all ingredients together in bowl. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; whisk to recombine before using.)

How to Use It: Indonesian-Style Fried Rice

Indonesia’s spin on fried rice, known as nasi goreng, gets its complex flavor from kecap manis, a syrupy-sweet soy sauce. We achieved a similar depth of flavor using our bold and pungent Indonesian Fried-Rice Sauce. A puree of chiles and aromatics stood in for the typical chile paste. We finished the dish with a traditional garnish of frizzled shallots.

Serves 4 to 6

If Thai chiles are unavailable, substitute two serranos or two medium jalapeños. Reduce the spiciness of this dish by removing the ribs and seeds from the chiles. This dish progresses quickly after step 3; have your ingredients ready to go by then. For a traditional finish, serve with sliced cucumbers and tomato wedges, if desired.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups jasmine rice or long-grain white rice, rinsed
2⅔ cups water

5 green or red Thai chiles, stemmed
7 large shallots, peeled (4 quartered, 3 sliced thin)
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
12 ounces extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut crosswise into thirds
1 recipe Indonesian Fried-Rice Sauce (see above)
4 large scallions, sliced thin on bias
Lime wedges

1. FOR THE RICE: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add rice and stir to coat with oil, about 30 seconds. Stir in water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 16 to 18 minutes. Off heat, lay clean folded dish towel underneath lid and let sit for 10 minutes. Spread rice onto rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes. (Chilled rice can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

2. FOR THE STIR-FRY: Pulse chiles, quartered shallots, and garlic in food processor to coarse paste, about 15 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed; transfer to bowl.

3. Cook sliced shallots and oil in 12‐inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until shallots are golden and crisp, 6 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towel–lined plate and season with salt. Pour off and reserve oil. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon reserved oil in now‐empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of eggs to skillet, tilt pan to coat bottom, cover, and cook until bottom of omelet is spotty golden brown and top is just set, about 1½ minutes. Slide omelet onto cutting board, roll up into tight log, and cut crosswise into 1‐inch‐wide segments; leave segments rolled. Repeat with 1 teaspoon reserved oil and remaining eggs.

5. Break up any large clumps of rice with fingers. Heat 3 tablespoons reserved oil in now‐empty skillet over medium heat until just shimmering. Add chile mixture and cook until mixture turns golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add shrimp, increase heat to medium‐high, and cook, stirring constantly, until exteriors are just opaque, about 2 minutes. Push shrimp mixture to sides of skillet. Add sauce to center and bring to simmer. Add rice and cook, stirring and folding constantly, until shrimp are opaque throughout, rice is heated through, and mixture is evenly coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in scallions and transfer to serving dish. Garnish with egg segments and fried shallots. Serve with lime wedges.

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