Coconut Rice with Fried Fish and Chilli Sambal

Nancy Lam's recipe combines coconut rice, fried mackeral and home-made chilli for an authentic taste of Southeast Asia
By Nancy Lam
Coconut Rice with Fried Fish and Chilli Sambal
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hr standing
  • Effort: easy



  • 300 g long grain rice
  • 200 ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1-2 pinches of salt
  • 2.5 cm piece of galangal, lightly pounded
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, lightly pounded
  • 2 pandan (screwpine) leaves, tied together in a loose knot

For the Fish:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 whole mackerel, gutted and cut across into 3cm-thick chunks
  • salt

For the Chilli sambal:

  • 4 dried chillies, soaked for 15 minutes in hot water, drained and patted dry
  • 4 red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp of shrimp paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 4-6 tbsp sugar
  • 4-6 tbsp tamarind juice

For the Garnish:

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced


1. Rinse the rice in cold water to wash out excess starch. Place it in a pan, cover with cold water and set aside to stand for 1 hour.

2. Drain the rice and place in a medium, heavy-based saucepan. Add 400ml of water to the rice, coconut milk, salt, galangal, lemon grass and pandan leaves.

3. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover very tightly and simmer over a very low heat until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the coconut water, around 15-20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, fry the fish. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Season the mackerel with salt and fry until golden-brown on both sides and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.

5. To make the chilli sambal, grind together the fresh and dried chillies, shrimp paste and garlic using a pestle and mortar or food processor.

6. Heat the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan and fry the shallots for 2 minutes. Add the chilli paste and fry, stirring often, for 8 minutes.

7. Add the sugar, tamarind juice and salt. Fry stirring until the chilli paste has thickened and lost some of its moisture. Set aside.

8. To serve the dish, layer the coconut rice on a serving plate. Garnish with the fried fish, sliced eggs, sliced cucumber and the chilli sambal.

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