As mentioned in 24 Hours in Portland, we visited the food pods on 1oth & Alder. There was so much to choose from & our choice was The Grilled Cheese Grill.
I got the Jalapeno Popper, a grilled cheese sandwich made with cream cheese, corn tortilla chips, jalapenos & colby jack on sourdough bread. It was pretty awesome.
I like to re-create or create a new recipe after each trip. For my Portland recipe, I decided to make a fun fusion grilled cheese inspired by Nasi Goreng.
Nasi Goreng is the national dish of Indonesia. It’s typically stir fried rice cooked with kecap manis & other seasonings. It is served with cucumber, fried shallots & an egg, among other sides & ingredients. My grilled cheese is made without fried rice, which is kind of essential for Nasi Goreng. That’s why this is nasi goreng inspired. I created it by replacing the rice with poached & shredded chicken tossed in seasonings used Nasi Goreng. Then I placed fried shallots & cucumber in the sandwich before grilling.
If this were on a menu the description would be: thickly sliced white bread grilled until golden crispy on the outside. Gooey melted edam cheese, cucumber & crispy fried shallots with shredded chicken cooked in a spicy & slightly sweet sauce.
Here are some the ingredients I used for the chicken:
Ketchup, tabasco, Kecap Manis, sambal, soy sauce, minced garlic & fried shallots. Not pictured: shredded cucumber.
I used this Nasi Lemak Sambal Chili. Sambal is a paste made from chilis & various other ingredients. This is a major ingredient in lots of Southeast Asian foods so there are various types of Sambal. I’m sure any kind you find at the store will serve well for this recipe.
Kecap Manis, which can be spelled a number of different ways, is pronounced “ket-jap mah-nees.” This is an Indonesian soy sauce that is much thicker & sweeter than other types of soy sauce. The kind I bought is “hot sweet soy sauce” & has a spicy after taste. If you cannot find this at the store or an Asian mart, I recommended substitute ingredients below.
I’ve only recently discovered fried shallots. They are sprinkled on top of various SE Asian meals we eat here, including Nasi Goreng. I imagine they would also be good on top of soups & salads. I took the easy way out this time & just bought the packaged pre-fried kind. I’m sure, though, that by just thinly slicing shallots & tossing them in a little oil, it would be quick & easy to prepare them from scratch.
I also used Kaya toast, a thickly sliced white bread used for… well, kaya toast, obviously. Sour dough would also serve as a good option.
I consider this recipe to be a major success. If you give it a try, let me know what you think! Happy Grilling!
Nasi Goreng Grilled Cheese
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 3/4 tsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 2 Tbsp Kecap Manis *see below
- 1 Tbsp sambal chilli
- 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp fried shallots
- 1 cucumber, cut in half
- 12 thick slices of Edam or Swiss cheese
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 12 slices of Kaya Toast bread or white bread
Place chicken breasts in a pot. Fill with water until the chicken is just covered. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot & poach for 10-14 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F.
Remove chicken from pot & place on a hard surface like a plate or cutting board. Finely shred the chicken using two forks.
Whisk the minced garlic, ketchup, hot sauce, kecap manis, sambal & soy sauce together in a bowl. Next, grate half of the cucumber into a bowl. Place the grated cucumber in cheesecloth & squeeze, removing some of the excess water. Add the grated cucumber & 1 Tbsp of the fried shallots to the kecap manis mixture.
Thinly slice the remaining half of cucumber.
In a wok or frying pan, cook the kecap manis mixture over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Add the shredded chicken & toss until fully coated with the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
Prepare the grilled cheese:
1. Place sliced bread out & put a slice of cheese (edam or swiss) on both sides of the bread
2. Place sliced cucumber on one half of each sandwich.
3. Place a large pinch of fried shallots on the other half of each sandwich.
4. Place about 1/2 cup of the shredded chicken one slice of each sandwich.
5. Press both slices together.
6. Melt 1/2 Tbsp butter in a frying pan over medium low heat. Do this for each side of the sandwich. Cook the sandwich for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the bread is golden crispy & the cheese gooey & melty.
*If you cannot find Kecap Manis (also labled as Ketjap Manis), a combination of soy sauce, some brown sugar & honey/molasses will serve as a substitute.