As you will notice I tend not to use spice blends or ready made sauces in my cooking, there are a few exceptions such as رأس الحانوت (Ras el Hanout), which is a North African version of Garam Masala as used in Indian cuisine, and the recent use of the award winning Mums Masala Sauce which was very good and well worth the venture.
Before my recent break abroad, I received a parcel in the post from the lovely people at Steenbergs. I have had the pleasure of meeting Sophie and Axel the owners, and toured their premises as part of a review a while back, so some sample testers with the opportunity to provide feedback was an offer I could not resist. My first ‘test’ is a Spice blend for Nasi Goreng, a mix of 8 spices which were nestling in the jar below (obviously the picture is after the cooking!!).
You may recall a Delia Smith series when she ‘cheated’ making some typical dishes but using some shortcuts to reduce the time in the kitchen, well this is my version of ‘Cheats’ Nasi Goreng, otherwise known as Indonesian Fried Rice.
The shortcuts make use of pre-prepared rice (I used Basmati), some Fried Onions I had picked up at my oriental supermarket earlier in the week, (they were an epiphany and I think I will be using them more often), and the Nasi Goreng Spice mix.
Having done some research on Nasi Goreng there were some other ingredients I would need to use in order to add some authenticity, (I am not saying the spice blend was not authentic, far from it), but traditional Nasi Goreng contains at least one more key ingredient, Kecap Manis (Indonesian Soy Sauce).
Kecap Manis has the addition of Palm Sugar, and has been featured before on my blog, in dishes such as Babi Kecap. It is thick and gloopy and was the only other ingredient that would be cooked with the Rice and Spices, well expect for some spring onions, cut at an angle!!
So for this dish, for two hungry people you will need.
- 2 Packets Pre-prepared Rice
- 1 Large Chicken Breast (or any other protein you fancy) cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 Lemon Grass Stalk
- 2 Inches Galangal
- 2 Cloves garlic
- 10 grms Steenbergs Nasi Goreng Spice Blend
- 6 Birds Eye Chilli’s (seeds removed and chopped very finely)
- 1 Bunch Coriander (Chopped Finely)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 small cup (approx.) Crispy Fried Onions
- 3 Spring Onions, cut at an angle
- 1 Lime (used as a condiment in the finished dish)
- 2 Tbls (approx.) Kecap Manis
- Salt and Pepper to taste
The Chicken needs marinading in the Galangal, Garlic and 1/2 the Birds Eye Chilli (3), and the Lemongrass, chop everything as small as you can and add along with 1/4 of the Kecap manis, stir and put aside whilst you prepare the other ingredients.
Nasi Goreng usually (always), has an Egg component. Rick Stein added a Fried Egg to his version of the dish, I was going to adopt a different approach and make a ‘Coriander’ Omelette, with some Birds Eye Chilli’s to add some spice.
Take your 2 Eggs and whisk, adding a really good hand full (check the picture above, you want lots), of chopped Coriander, add Salt to Season and the remainder of finely chopped birds eye Chilli’s (3). So the result was not too greasy, I put some oil in to a frying pan, and then wiped it with kitchen paper just to leave a thin layer. Use a medium heat as you don’t want to overcook the Omelette, flip and then cut into small squares about 1 c.m. as you can see in the picture above, next to the Spring Onions with the Nasi Goreng mix looking impatient!!
In order to ‘taste test’ the Steenbergs spice blend I needed to separate the cooking stages, the marinated Chicken cooked in one pan, whilst the impatient Spice Blend got added to the Basmati Rice, with the Spring Onion (another texture component), the Chicken should be cooked in 2 – 3 minutes, whilst the Rice is getting its treat in the other pan.
Add the remaining Kecap Manis to the Rice and mix well, remember we want to preserve as best we can, the different flavours elements to get the most out of this dish.
Halfway through cooking the Chicken I used an Egg Slice to half the Chicken pieces, giving them a final 30 seconds to 1 minute to finish. You don’t want to overdo this stage, the Chicken should be soft and moist, not dry and chewy.
There are some further garnishes you can add to the finished dish, Sliced Cucumber, and the same of Tomato. I had some speciality ‘Kumato‘ variety from the Isle Of Wight, and some Organic from Riverford, use the best you can get as it adds even more interest to this flavourful medley.
Almost done now, this dish is actually very quick to put together.
The cooked Chicken is added to the Rice at the last minute, the Coriander Omelette added, and everything ‘gently’ combined, you don’t want to mix the flavours together, the Chicken will have some spice and pungency, the Rice, flavoured with the spice blend and Kecap Manis will have its own flavour profile. The Omelette adding its own to the dish, with more hits of Chilli and the fragrant Coriander.
When plating up, you can arrange the Cucumber Overlaying the Tomato (or Vice Versa!), the Kumato variety are the darker slices, then sprinkle the fried crispy Onion over the top and add a wedge of Lime to season as you like.
So, my verdict on the Nasi Goreng spice blend provided by Steenbergs, absolutely amazing. As with their Ras el Hanout which I use lots of, each component is blended separately so not only do you get taste and flavour, you get texture as well.
As I said from the outset, I am not a fan of spice blends but this one WILL be added to my next Steenbergs order. The speed at which the Nasi Goreng was produced, along with the really lovely flavour which resulted is well worth the investment.
If you want to try some and have a go at the recipe above then look HERE
Thanks to Sophie and Axel for the sample, now onto the Organic Lemon Oil.
Until next time…………………L8ers