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  • Writer's pictureDominika

Nasi goreng time

From Eleanor Ford's 'Fire Islands'

Hormonal imbalance had me sleeping most time, and so I missed large parts of the trip my parents and I took to Indonesia. As if by some kind of magic, I was being tele-transported from hotel lobbies to Bromo or Flores or the Komodo Islands, losing all the bits in-between in an unclear mental fog. Why did people complain about the long hours on the road when travelling through this beautiful country? Distances seemed not to play any role for me.

Waking up long before dawn didn’t help my state either. Whether we had to arrive early to the airport for an internal flight or to set out on a long drive or to make it to the attraction-of-the-day before sunrise, three o’clock in the morning seemed to have become the new six o’clock. Sunrise was very important in Indonesia –with the exception of Bali, where romantic shimmering sunset was what it was all about-, at no other moment during the day would the majestic monuments and mountains appear so enchanting and impressive.

After the sightseeing we would head back for breakfast at the colorful hotel buffets fragrant with local food and spices on one side, and coffee, butter and bread on the other. My mom would head to the western part of the buffet, my dad would visit each stand twice, and I would search for the chafing dish containing the same familiar content –the nasi goreng. It was a staple of the local breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, but it was at the wee hours that I liked it best.

And so, reminiscing about that marvelous trip, book-in-hand, I set on to make my own version of nasi goreng in Ankara, Turkey, using half-used or forgotten vegetables from my fridge (soya sprouts, kale, carrots, shallots, green beans, green onions), the rests of a chicken I had no idea how to use before it went bad, eggs, my homemade kecap manis, and my cast-iron pan, since I yet have not managed to properly cook with a wok on an electric stove. As usual, I did exaggerate a tat with the amount of the ingredients which resulted in a generous pan of nasi goreng that we consumed for the next three days… at lunchtime. Even without the batik tablecloths, and the sounds of people speaking in Bahasa, and the holiday vibe it tasted beautifully. Maybe it really is what Eleanor Ford says in her book “the umami-packed fried rice […] will colour every traveller’s memories”.

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