Indonesian Tuna Fried Rice – Nasi Goreng Tuna

Indonesian tuna fried rice in a round deep plate with some prawn crackers on the side.

Nasi goreng tuna which literally means tuna fried rice is an easy and quick way to make a full nutritious meal out of simple ingredients. You get the carb from the rice and protein from the tuna, all on one plate.

Nasi goreng tuna

The best thing is that you can have your meal in less than half an hour. And if you already have cooked rice stocked up in the fridge, you can cook this yummy fried rice in 15 minutes. 

Nasi Goreng which means fried rice is very popular in Indonesia. 

Each region in the country has its own version of this rice dish. And just like any food, there are varied recipes and methods to make this dish.

The recipe I’m sharing here is rooted in nasi goreng from Indonesia. And the taste will be similar, if not the same, to the one you get from street vendors in Indonesia. 

Though the protein they use might differ because most of them put eggs and chicken in the rice. Not tuna. 

Having said that, you can find restaurants that do tuna fried rice. But not the street vendors. The reason is that tuna is considerably pricey in Indonesia.

A deep plate of Indonesian tuna fried rice - nasi goreng tuna - with some prawn crackers on the side and blue napkin on the background.

A rice dish to enjoy anytime

Many Indonesians have fried rice for breakfast. Therefore, if you go to Indonesia, you will find ‘Nasi Goreng’ among the breakfast menu list at the hotels, restaurants, etc.

When I was still living in Indonesia, I used to eat fried rice for breakfast too. Obviously. 

Now, I rarely have it for my breakfast, because I am too lazy to cook first thing in the morning. 

So, fried rice has become a menu option for either lunch or dinner in my household. And if there was any leftover for the next morning, only then I would have had it for breakfast too. But chances are my little one would not let me have it. Because he loves “nasi goreng”. Especially this tuna fried rice. 

The secret to making the best tuna fried rice

The best-fried rice is the one that has rice grains separate and does not clump together. And it doesn’t look greasy or dry. 

When it comes to flavour, it can depend on personal taste. But generally speaking, it will taste savoury with a hint of spicy chilli and sweet soy sauce. 

To make the best tuna fried rice, you can follow the tips below:

  • Use non-starchy rice such as Basmati rice or long-grain rice. If you use starchy rice like Jasmine rice or sushi rice, you will end up with sticky and clumpy fried rice.
  • Make sure the cooked rice is at room temperature or colder. Do not use hot or warm rice as the grains tend to break up easily and become mushy.
  • Get all your ingredients ready and put them all nearby.
  • Cook the onion and garlic until they turn light golden in colour and release a delicious aroma. If you don’t cook long enough, your rice will smell like raw onion. Also, there is a chance that the onion will still have its juice that can make the rice wet and mushy.
  • Keep turning and tossing the rice to ensure the spices go to every grain. 
  • Last but not least, ensure your wok is very hot so it will cook the rice and its seasoning quickly. 

Easy ingredients

This recipe uses simplified ingredients without sacrificing the flavour. For example, traditionally, nasi goreng uses spice paste consisting of onion, garlic and chillies that you grind using a pestle and mortar, or a food processor. 

But in this recipe, you can just chop the onion and garlic as finely as possible, and use dried red chilli flakes for convenience.

ingredients for nasi goreng tuna.

So to wrap up, all the ingredients you need for this tuna fried rice are cooked rice, canned tuna, onion, garlic, ground black pepper, dried red chilli flakes, paprika powder, and sweetcorn kernels (you can use the frozen ones), cooking oil, and salt. In total, there are 10 items. 

However, you can add crispy fried onions for garnish. If you like. 

How to make Nasi Goreng Tuna

Firstly, prepare all the ingredients you need and arrange them within your reach. 

Then, you heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wok. Fry the chopped onion in the oil until it becomes translucent and slightly golden in colour. 

Add the chopped garlic to the onion and continue frying.

After a minute or two, put all the spices in, i.e. black pepper, chilli flakes, paprika, and salt. Stir-fry until the spices release a delicious aroma. 

Next, stir the tuna and sweetcorn in. Toss and turn until they are piping hot.

Lastly, stir the rice in and drizzle the sweet soy sauce over it. Toss and turn the rice until all of its grain is covered with spices and soy sauce.

It may take a while and effort to keep turning the rice. But it’s worthed. 

Your rice is ready when it is cooked through and piping hot. 

Storing matter

You can keep and store your nasi goreng tuna in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. And you can freeze the rice for up to 2 months.

Thaw the rice by leaving it in the fridge overnight before serving. And you can reheat it in the microwave or a frying pan. Just sprinkle a little water before reheating so the rice won’t go dry and hard. 

a close up photo of nasi goreng tuna.

More recipes for rice-based dishes 

I hope you enjoy reading this tuna fried rice recipe, and now think about trying it. If you do try making it, could you please share how you like it in the comments below? I’ll really appreciate it.

And before you go, don’t forget to check my other rice-based recipes of Indonesian food that you can enjoy for breakfast, brunch, or any time of the day 😉.

Last but not least, please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Take care and all the best.

Yield: 6

Indonesian tuna fried rice - nasi goreng tuna

Indonesian tuna fried rice in a round deep plate with some prawn crackers on the side.

Nasi goreng tuna which literally means tuna fried rice is an easy and quick way to make a full nutritious meal out of simple ingredients. 

You get the carb from the rice and protein from the tuna, all in one plate. 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup = 330 gr of rice, preferably Basmati rice. Or you can use long-grained rice.
  • 1 canned tuna (185 grams).
  • 1 medium-size onion.
  • 3 cloves garlic.
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper.
  • 1 tsp of dry chilli flakes or 1 Bird’s eye chilli (pound into a paste).
  • 1 tsp of paprika powder, optional (see the notes).
  • 1 tsp of salt or according to taste.
  • 3 tbsp = 45 ml Indonesian sweet soy sauce.
  • Fried onions (optional).
  • 3 tbsp = 45 ml cooking oil.
  • 1 cup = 200 gr canned sweetcorn, drained.

Instructions

  1. Cook your rice as you usually do. When it’s done, set aside.
  2. You can also use leftover plain rice. I often do that. In fact, the idea of making nasi goreng is to make the most of your leftover rice. 
  3. If you have a processor, you can blitz the onion, garlic, fresh chilli (if using) and all the spices until you get a nice smooth paste. Or, you can use a pestle and mortar to pound them. And if you don’t have either of them, you can try to chop your onion, garlic, and fresh chilli (if using) as fine as possible and then mix with the rest of spice. 
  4. Heat the oil in a large wok at medium-high heat. Then put the spice paste/ mix in, and keep stirring every now and again. Keep frying until the spice is fragrant.
  5. Drain the tuna and sweetcorn from their cans, and add in the spice. Stir well and leave it to cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Then put you cooked rice in the wok. Drizzle all the sweet soy sauce over it, and mix everything well.
  7. Stir and mix it all well until you can see that all rice grain is covered with spice and sauce.
  8. Serve your tuna fried rice on a plate with a sprinkle of fried onion on the top.
  9. You can enjoy your nasi goreng tuna with some salad, sambal (traditional chilli sauce), and prawn crackers (kerupuk). 

Notes

  • You don’t really have to use paprika powder if you don’t have it at home. I personally like it because I find its aroma is nice to get rid of the fishy smell of tuna. It also enhances the flavour. 
  • When it comes to chilli, it depends on personal taste. Although I put one fresh chilli in this recipe, don’t hesitate to add more or reduce it according to your personal preference. Note that chilli powder also has different strengths from one to another. So I would suggest you put according to what you know about your chilli powder. As a reference, the fried rice that you find in Indonesia doesn’t taste spicy. Because they always serve their nasi goreng with “sambal”, the chilli sauce. 

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 384Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 29mgSodium 1290mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 1gSugar 9gProtein 17g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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