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A Salute to Cabbage Part 1: Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

12:37 PM

The outdoor farmstand down the street closed up shop this weekend.  What popped into the grocery store was local cabbage and the first pomegranates of the season.  Cabbage... hmm.   Not the most show-stopping vegetable in the world. But it's widely available, inexpensive, super fresh, and loaded with great stuff like vitamin A, B, C, E, calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus.   Ok.  I'll bite.

I brought home 2 different kinds of cabbage.  (American) standard green cabbage and Nappa cabbage.  I'm currently in the process of fermenting a batch of kimchi with the Nappa cabbage, and I made a (BIG) batch of Nasi Goreg out of the Standard cabbage.  I also have 2 quarts of Traditional Sauerkraut fermenting away right now that will be ready right around Thanksgiving time.

My recipe for Nasi Goreg comes to me, oddly enough, from my German grandmother.   As the story goes, after WWII my grandma met my grandpa and moved to the Netherlands.  Then Grandpa was drafted into the Dutch marines and was sent to Indonesia.  This was one of the recipes he brought back with him!  My version has a decidedly European flare but to me that's what makes it so wonderful and accessible. There's no need to go to a specialty store for the ingredients.

Dutch Indonesian Nasi Goreng
1 small cabbage
4 stalks celery
4 carrots
1 onion
1/2 lb bacon
2 cups  unprepared brown rice
1 vegan boullion cube
2 1/2 lbs pork (shoulder's WONDERFUL, but any cut will work)
Good quality soy sauce* OR fish sauce (Grandma didn't use fish sauce)

*In the Netherlands they use "ketjap manis" or "sweet soy sauce"... it's hard to find in the U.S. but I've had it a few times and it's worth looking for.  Very unique and available on Amazon for anyone who may be interested.*

Cook your pork.  Slow cook your pork shoulder in a crockpot with water, salt, pepper, and onions for 4-6 hours and then shred it up. Or, if you chose a different cut of pork, cut it into 1 inch cubes, and brown it in a skillet with about 1 tbsp of soy sauce or fish sauce and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Then add water to the skillet, cover and steam it the rest of the way through. Remove the meat and retain the liquid in the pan. Set aside.  

Prepare the brown rice by cooking it in 4c water with one cube of boullion. 

Core and slice up your cabbage, celery, carrots and onion.  Toss them all in the pan with the pork juices and allow to cook until the cabbage becomes translucent (or, if you had pork shoulder and didn't use the pan to cook in, start off with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce). 

In a seperate pan, fry up the bacon until it's crispy and then fry up the sliced onion.  Go ahead, use the bacon fat to cook the onion... it's customary! Then, combine all of the ingredients in a LARGE bowl.  Stir and add soy sauce to taste.  

I love to serve this with a fried egg on top!

This recipe is definitely labor intensive and it makes A LOT of food.  My family usually eats it for dinner on Christmas Eve when there's at least 8 people to feed, otherwise you'll have a nice bunch leftover for lunches during the week.


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