coconut sambal zoomed

How to Make an Easy Coconut Sambal (Sri Lankan Sambal)

Welcome to another great sambal recipe! Coconut sambal is a deliciously sweet kind of sambal and has and amazing coconut structure. Definitely try this one out if you’re into coconut and mild, sweeter sambals!

To make coconut sambal, simply chop and fry some garlic and onion. Add grated coconut with some spices and stir fry for a couple of more minutes, that’s it!

What is coconut sambal?

This sambal is a traditional side dish used in many Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisines. Made with simple ingredients, it’s a perfect sambal to spice up any dish.

Sambal is typically made with chili peppers but the combination of coconut sambal is unique and distinct. Originally from Sri Lanka, coconut sambal has become popular around the world as a widely used and delicious side dish.

In this post, I’ll go over the ingredients, how to make it step by step, and how to store it for later use. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

coconut sambal zoomed

Coconut sambal

Coconut sambal! A great addition to bring sweet and spicy flavors to various dishes. It is highly used to accompany curries, rice dishes and many more. Definitely try this one out if you're into sweet and spicy flavors!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Servings 200 g
Calories 5 kcal


  • 150 g grated coconut
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove


  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tsp chili flakes or powder
  • salt to taste


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Chop the ingredients
  • Fry coconut sambal
  • Serve and conserve coconut sambal
Keyword Coconut sambal

Note: the kcal count is based on a single serving of 1 tsp.

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

When choosing your ingredients, it’s important to note that the fresher the better. Grated coconut should be fresh and preferably made from a whole coconut instead of pre-packaged.

For the onion and garlic, choose fresh and fragrant ones. You can use any type you prefer!

When it comes to chili flakes or powder, use your preferred variety ranging from mild to spicy depending on your preference. Find out how to make your own chili powder using my recipe from before.

You can add honey to make the coconut a bit more sweet and sticky. Substitute palm sugar with brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar or can’t find it.

sambal coconut ingredients

Let’s continue with the next steps!

Step 2: Cook coconut sambal

Finely chop the garlic and onion. Pre-heat a frying pan on medium heat and add a little bit of oil. Cook the garlic and onion for about 3 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and start to give off this amazing smell.

frying chopped ingredients
adding coconut and spices

Once the garlic and onions are fried, add the grated coconut, palm sugar, chili flakes/powder and salt to taste. Stir well and let it fry for a minute before adding a splash (~100ml) of water. This will dissolve the sugar and make the coconut sambal more sticky.

frying ingredients
adding water

Stir and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, until the water has dissolved and the flavors have combined.

frying coconut sambal
fried coconut sambal

At this point the coconut sambal is done! If you want, you can add a teaspoon of honey for a stickier and sweeter result. Have a taste and decide for yourself!

Step 3: Serve and conserve coconut sambal

Coconut sambal can be served with a wide variety of dishes including grilled meats, seafood, and rice dishes and others. It can also be used as a topping for sandwiches, bread and other baked goods. I recommend combining this recipe with the following:

served coconut sambal

For the best results, serve the sambal immediately after cooking it as it tends to lose its flavor when stored. However, if you need to store it, refrigerate the sambal in an airtight container and consume within three days.

If you want to try out some of my other sambals, check out the following:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe, let me know what you think and please leave a rating!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating