Coconut Rice with Spicy Tomato Sauce (Nasi Lemak with Sambal Tomat)

Adapted from Cooking Light.
Course Sides
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Author Andrea Meyers



  • 3 cups 720 ml light coconut milk
  • 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 bay leaves or pandan leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 cup peeled and quartered shallots about 4 large
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek chile paste use more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  • lime wedges
  • chopped cilantro


  • RICE - Combine the coconut milk, rice, and bay leaves in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes, then discard bay leaves. Fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. (You can also make this in a rice cooker, just follow the manufacturer's directions.)
  • SAMBAL - Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the sambal paste and palm sugar to pan, and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the lime rind, juice, and tomatoes to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and then serve the sambal over rice. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over it for extra flavor, and sprinkle on cilantro.


rice cooker or 3-quart saucepan
large saucepan
To make your own chile paste, use 8 Thai red chiles. Seed 7 of them, and keep seeds in 1 chile. Mince the chiles and grind them with a mortar and pestle.