This national dish, sold throughout Malaysia, from roadside food stalls to 5-star restaurants, consists of rice steamed in coconut milk, Sambal, a spicy chilli paste, egg, crunchy peanuts, anchovies, and cool cucumber. This healthier take on the recipe uses light coconut milk, adds pumpkin seeds, and swaps anchovies for sardines.

Serves:  10

Dietary: Suitable for Coeliac and peanut allergies.

Contains; egg, milk (milk powder, sweetener), fish (cod roe), soya (tamari soy sauce)

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

For the rice:
½ + ⅓ cup (200 ml) reduced fat or light coconut milk
2 cups (500 ml) water
A thumb-sized piece of root ginger peeled and finely chopped.
1 lemongrass stalk,
1½ cups (270 g) basmati rice, raw
2½ Tbsp (20 g) milk powder, skimmed

For the sambal:
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp tamari reduced salt soy sauce,
1 red chilli (pureed to paste)
1 tin (120 g) sardines (tinned in spring water)
½ Tbsp sweetener
1/3 + 1/8 cup (125 g) reduced salt tamarind paste* mixed with 1 cup (200 ml) water

For the garnish:
5 medium eggs
120 g tin sardines (tinned in spring water)
5 Tbsp (50 g) sunflower seeds
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
1½ Tbsp (30 g) cod roe

* Some tamarind pastes are lower in salt, e.g. Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s are much lower than other brands.  Alternatively, use a tamarind pulp, which has no added salt.



  1. Place coconut milk, ginger, lemon grass, rice, milk powder and water in a large saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 20 – 25 minutes or until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  2. To make the sambal; place all the sambal ingredients into a saucepan and place on medium/low heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced to a thick paste. Set aside.
  3. Boil the eggs in water for 7-10 minutes until the yolk is firm.
  4. Cool eggs under cold water, peel off shells and cut them in half.
  5. Place sardines on a baking tray and oven-bake for 10 minutes or until crispy, at 180˚C fan/200˚C/400˚F/Gas Mark 6.
  6. Pick out lemongrass from the rice and discard.
  7. Put the rice in a small bowl so compact. Upturn onto a plate. Arrange the sardines, egg, cucumber, sunflower seeds and roe around and over the rice.

 This recipe has been donated by Angela Thorpe, a Student Dietitian at the University of Winchester


Per serving:
Total calories: 247 kcal
Fat: 9.3 g
 of which saturates:  3.2 g
Carbohydrate: 27 g
 of which sugars: 4.2 g
Fibre:  1.4 g
Protein:  13 g
Salt:  0.22 g



  • This recipe served as a portion is a good source of Vitamin D, which is essential for the maintenance of bones and teeth and aids the function of a normal immune system.
  • This recipe is also low in saturated fat, sugar and salt, and a good source of protein, selenium and vitamin B12.



  • To make this dish vegan, use plant-based milk only, remove the sardines from the sambal, and add extra tamari to taste. The eggs can be replaced with mushrooms and crispy sardines with dry-fried tofu.
  • If lemongrass stalks are not easily accessible, then substitute with some lemon juice.


Consumer tested by Luke Maher, Nutrition Student at Atlantic Technological University

Checked by Sarah Foster, Registered Dietitian and Kathy Lewis, Registered Nutritionist


© 2023 The Caroline Walker Trust