Chicken Sambal with Coconut Rice

After my trip to Malaysia last year, I have been experimenting with Malaysian cuisine in my kitchen, making dishes with sambal (spicy red chily sauce), lemongrass, ginger, and coconut milk. The dishes I made ranged from very hot to mildly spicy. With the chicken sambal though, I found a middle ground; it has a medium level of spiciness, which, in case you aren’t a fan of spicy food, can be made mildly spicy by reducing the amount of sambal sauce to 1 tbsp.

My coconut rice is inspired by Nasi Lemak (you can read about it in Malaysian Cuisine – Part 1), which has become one of my favorite types of rice dishes. Instead of galangal or pandan leaf, the traditional ingredients used in making this dish, I am using ginger, which is easier to find here in Alaska and is from the same family as galangal. This rice dish is so delicious! A combination of coconut milk and ginger add exotic flavor and aroma to the rice. Served together, Chicken Sambal and Coconut Rice create a beautiful harmony of flavors.



Coconut Rice in Rice Cooker:

3 cups long-grain white rice

1:1 ratio water to unsweetened coconut milk

1 tsp fresh ginger or galangal, grated

salt to taste

Chicken Sambal:

2 lbs skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

2-3 tbsp light olive or avocado oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4-5  garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp lemon grass, grated

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

3 tbsp turmeric powder

4-5 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp sambal sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup coconut milk

juice from 1/2 lime

salt to taste


Coconut Rice:

Prep: 5 min  Cook: 20 min   Total: 25  Servings: 6

Check the rice for any debris. Rinse it under the water until it runs clear (this is done to remove extra starch).

In a rice cooker, add the water, coconut milk, ginger, and salt. Stir well. Add the rice. Cook according to your rice cooker’s instructions.

Chicken Sambal:

Prep: 15 min       Cook: 25 min      Total: 40 min     Servings: 6

Heat the oil in a wok or pan over medium to low heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and slightly golden for 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir for a minute, then add the tomato paste. Cook for another 30 seconds.Add the soy sauce and sambal. Stir in the coconut milk, and then add the chicken and lime juice.


Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.


Serve with the rice.


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