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Pumpkin Coconut Rice Recipe



Pumpkin Coconut Rice

Sambal and pumpkin is added to this rice with grilled tamarind rice. Rice is naturally sweet from the pumpkin, a hint of savoury from the sambal, add cucumber for that extra crunchiness. This recipe is developed by Sylvia Tan, bestselling cookbook author & veteran in the local food scene using Kinmemai Japanese rice.

Number of servings: 6 to 8 people


  • 1 kg butternut pumpkin
  • 4 cups Kinmemai Better Brown
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbs bottled nonya sambal chilli paste*
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 6 batang fish steaks
  • 2 Tbsps tamarind paste
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

*Note: Glory and Sinalong Bottled nyonya sambal chilli paste are reliable brands. If uncertain, check the ingredients – chilli, prawns, onions, sugar, salt and sometimes lemon grass. You could also make your own, by placing 1 cup of shallots, 4 dried chillies, 2 fresh red chillies, 1 Tbsp shrimp paste, 1 Tbsp sugar and half tsp salt in the food chopper and chop till fine.


  • Fresh kaffir lime leaves and cucumber – optional


  1. Soak Kinmemai Better Brown rice for an hour and drain.
  2. Microwave whole pumpkin on high for 5 minutes to soften before peeling and cutting to large cubes.
  3. Heat oil in a wok and fry the onions. Add bottled sambal, followed by the drained rice. Stir until grains are coated with the spices.
  4. Transfer rice mixture to a rice cooker. Add 5 cups of water and cook till tender. Add pumpkin pieces when most of the water is absorbed and continue to cook until the end of the cooking cycle.
  5. Add coconut milk and stir, leaving it covered to allow the rice grains to absorb the flavour from the coconut milk.
  6. Rub tamarind paste with salt and sugar onto the fish steaks. Leave to marinate covered for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
  7. Heat grill pan when rice is ready. Coat fish slices with a little vegetable oil and sear fish on heated pan. The process takes 3-5 minutes on each side.
  8. To serve, place rice on a large platter, top with grilled fish and garnish with fresh kaffir lime leaves.
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