Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice

Fried rice. When I was growing up, making fried rice is kind of like a college student making ramen noodles. It's something you usually have on hand because it's cheap, takes no time to make and you can add stuff to it to make a more filling meal. I grew up making fried rice as a way to use up leftovers because we always had rice available. Whatever we had leftover from the night before sometimes found it's destiny as a fried rice dish in a day or two. I rarely saw fried rice dishes as something special... always an after thought if anything. So when I saw this recipe for Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice in a recent Cook's Illustrated magazine, I completely skipped it. I'm glad I read my magazine over again and the second time around, I skimmed the recipe. Granted, I didn't make it quite as written, but I did enjoy the flavors I got out of the recipe. A lot! Sweet and salty flavors came through while shrimp and vegetables studded this flavorful rice dish....

Rather than following the recipe as written, I simply used the Indonesian sauce that flavors the dish. I prepared the sauce first and then fried the egg which was added later to the recipe. When it came to making the fried rice, I made it the way I've always made it for nearly 30 years. I guess it was just my natural instinct to make fried rice the best way I know how. But the sauce... was wonderful. It was perfectly balanced with sweet and salty flavors. I omitted the use of chiles because at the time, we weren't in the mood for anything spicy but you could certainly add 5 fresh green or red Thai chiles or use 2 serranos or 2 medium jalapenos.

Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or mild molasses
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/4 teaspoon salt 


4 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Fried Rice:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
12-14 extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, de-veined
2 cups leftover rice, cold
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
4 scallions, sliced thin
2 limes, cut into wedges for serving (optional)

For the Sauce:
In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1¼ teaspoons salt; set aside.

For the Eggs:
In another small bowl, whisk eggs and ¼ teaspoon salt together in medium bowl, set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium high heat. Once hot, pour the whisked eggs into the pan and allow to set. Pull the cooked edges towards the middle and tilt the pan to allow the runny eggs to coat the bottom of the pan. Continue to do this as needed until no runny egg remain.

With a spatula, carefully flip the egg to cook the top side. Once cooked, take off heat and break up the egg into pieces which will be tossed into the fried rice later. Set aside until the egg is called for in the fried rice recipe.

For the Fried Rice:

Place onion and garlic in 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil. Sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until translucent.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly until the shrimp turns opaque. Push the shrimp to the sides.

Crumble the cold, leftover rice into the middle of the skillet. Cook the rice along with the shrimp until the rice is warmed through and slightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the sauce mixture and toss with the shrimp and rice to coat. Stir in the peas, carrots and egg and toss, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the scallions, remove from heat, and transfer to serving platter. Garnish with lime wedges if desired; serve immediately.


  1. Yum! Forget takeout! This looks delicious. And I love shrimp... perfect!

  2. I think it's difficult to get a nice photo of fried rice - although It is delicious, it just doesn't seem to be very photogenic, yours not only looks delicious it's a beautiful photograph also!

  3. Perfect timing! I couldn't think of what to make for dinner tonight for my teenagers (and ALL their friends). This would be perfect. Thank you!

  4. It looks good, however, Indonesian fried rice does not have peas and carrots in it, and the use of brown sugar for a "sauce" is not done either.

  5. Thanks Unknown for your comment! Although the recipe has been named 'Indonesian Fried Rice' by Cook's Illustrated where the original recipe if from, I know it certainly isn't authentic. I guess they wanted to replicate similar flavors for the regular American home cook. As I mentioned in my commentary, I prepared this recipe as a usual fried rice I've made, taking only the sauce used in the original recipe. I added peas and carrots for my own personal tastes... which I also noted in my commentary. So this certainly is not an authentic recipe for Indonesian Fried Rice as my commentary clearly notes. It was definitely good though!

  6. Although it isn't totally Indonesian, but it stands on its own...looks great and is tempting enough to try out! Thanks dear! I appreciate your spirit to learn and share innovative recipes like this!

  7. Tried this recipe today, it came out good. Ridiculously easy and delicious.....

  8. Just found this on FoodGawker, and I'm planning to make it tonight! Can't wait, thanks for the great idea!

    ❤ Katherine

  9. What a recipe! looks yummy :) Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the amazing recipe.