Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
6 servings (serving size: 1 cup rice and about 1/4 cup sambal)

Coconut rice is popular throughout Southeast Asia. Sambal means "sauce" in Malay, and this spicy tomato condiment is great with rich, sweet rice. If you can find pandan (screwpine) leaves (also known as pandanus or daun pandan), use two of them tied together in place of the bay leaves; they lend distinctive woody and floral undertones to the rice. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare the rice, combine coconut milk, rice, and bay leaves in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes; discard bay leaves. Fluff rice with a fork. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Step 2

To prepare sambal, seed 7 chiles; leave seeds in 1 chile. Mince chiles. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add chiles and sugar to pan; sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Add rind, juice, and tomatoes to pan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve sambal over rice.

Ratings & Reviews

great taste if you tone down heat

October 14, 2017
Based on previous reviews, I toned down the spice.  I couldn't find the chilis so I used ground cayenne instead.  I used 2 tsp hoping it would be comparable to half the chilis.  The taste was fantastic, but just about all the heat I could handle.  Next time I'll do 1 1/2 tsp cayenne instead.  The recipe is pretty easy and the flavors (once you doctor the heat to where you want it) is great.

sukeedog's Review

July 12, 2014

shmedly's Review

January 08, 2010
It's a winner.

sdn0119's Review

January 12, 2009
Fabulous! I loved this spicy dish! I did make a few changes, due to availability of fresh chilies...I had to used pickled ones which turned very well. I only used 6 and seeded them all, and the dish was still very spicy but not to worry the coconut milk cuts the spice. Also, the rice needed to cook about double the time listed in the recipe. Make sure to check it often, as not to burn. And finally, a little shredded chicken for my husband rounded it out! We loved it & the scent of it cooking is out of this world!

courvos's Review

March 18, 2009
WOW! super spicy, I love spicy food but this was very intense, I would half the amount of chilis. I added shrimp to the recipe, which was nice, but I felt I needed yogurt or something to cool the spice, my lips were still burning an hour later! I like this recipe but will definitely make some adjustments next time.

PKFletcher's Review

April 30, 2012
This recipe should come with a warning label. I only used three peppers and no seeds and it had fire. Easy to make and it was a hit with our guests. I served it with Miso Chicken.