Fish and toasted coconut salad (Sambal Ikan Yu)

Fish and toasted coconut salad (Sambal Ikan Yu)
  • 0:20 Prep
  • 0:35 Cook
  • 8 Servings
  • Capable cooks

Fresh herbs and spices infuse this fish dish with the flavours of Malaysia.

Featured in
Malaysian recipes, Main recipes


  • 3 medium red onions
  • 125mls (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 500g boneless white fish fillets, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 155g (1 3/4 cups) desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh curry leaves or coriander leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Butter or mignonette lettuce leaves, washed, dried, to serve


  • Step 1
    Cut 1 onion into thin rings. Heat wok over high heat and add 80mls (1/3 cup) of oil. Add 1/3 of the onion rings and cook for 3-5 minutes or until crisp and browned. Drain on paper towel and repeat with remaining onion rings. Set aside.
  • Step 2
    Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add fish and return to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until just cooked. Use a slotted spoon to transfer fish to paper towel and set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid. Place fish in a medium bowl and finely flake.
  • Step 3
    Heat wok over medium heat and add cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Remove from heat and transfer seeds to a mortar and pestle. Once cool, pound seeds to a coarse powder. Reheat wok over low heat and add coconut. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from wok and set aside.
  • Step 4
    Finely chop remaining onions and place in a bowl. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in wok over medium heat. Add onion mixture and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add fish and use a wok charn (a large, flat, shovel-shaped spoon) and large spoon to toss until well combined. Add ground cumin seeds, chilli powder and turmeric and cook, breaking up the mixture with spoons to prevent lumps forming, for 5 minutes or until mixture has a flakey appearance.
  • Step 5
    Add toasted coconut to fish mixture in wok and season with remaining salt and the pepper. Toss to combine, adding reserved cooking liquid if mixture appears too dry. Remove from heat and toss through onion rings, curry leaves and lime juice. Serve warm or cold in lettuce leaves.

  • Low carb
  • Low kilojoule
  • Low sugar


  • 1377 kj


  • 29g

    Fat Total

  • 12g

    Saturated Fat

  • 5g


  • 12g


  • 34mg


  • 339.99mg


  • 3g

    Carbs (sugar)

  • 4g

    Carbs (total)

All nutrition values are per serve


prep: 20-30 mins (+ 15 mins cooling time) This salad can be made from step 2 to end of step 4 one day ahead. Store fish and toasted coconut in separate airtight containers in fridge. Complete with steps 1 and 5, 30 mins to 1 hour before serving.

  • Author: Carol Selva Rajah
  • Publication: Australian Good Taste



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