What to Do with Leftover Coconut Rice: A Malaysian Guide

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Coconut rice in wooden bowl with coconut slice on top.

Who would’ve thought that rice, along with oil palm and rubber, is one of the most important industrial crops to be produced? 

(For obvious reasons, that excludes me)

Rice is almost always associated with Asians. It’s an after-thought for the rest of the world specifically, for Westerners. 

And to think that it’s in the top three globally!

There’s another crop that shares this, shall I say…disregard? Similar faith? 

And surprise surprise, it ranks just under rice. 

Go on, guess the crop. The answer is already in the title. 

That fourth one? Coconuts. 

These trees are planted widely in the tropics. In fact, they’re so common around here that one can easily mistake them for weeds. Growing and thriving anywhere. 

Take Malaysia for one. Coconut palms are an all too familiar sight that the country is among the top ten coconut-producers in the world. 

Very fitting and in theme for our next leftover adventure, wouldn’t you say? 

For this one, we’re heading to Malaysia!

So get those leftovers ready. 

Today, you’re about to learn what to do with leftover coconut rice the Malaysian way!

A Malaysian Love Affair

Coconut rice in a bowl.

Coconut plus rice equals?

A dish to die for! 

A dish worth flying to! 

A dish that is more than just a dish, but Malaysia’s very own national treasure.

At the very heart of it is a beautiful love affair between fluffy rice and creamy coconut milk. 

These two may be a passing thought individually. But their coming together? 

That marriage (aka the cooking process), it birthed the famous Nasi Lemak!

And we can’t thank Malaysia enough for giving us this treasure. 

For giving us inspiration on what to do with leftover coconut rice!

Classic Fried Rice 

But make it Malaysian! This also translates to Nasi Goreng. Literally: “Nasi” is rice, and “Goreng” is fried in Malay. 

The dish is also incredibly popular and sought after in neighboring countries. Maybe more so in Indonesia because it’s their national dish. 


  • 2 cups of leftover coconut rice
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ cup of chopped leftover chicken (or fish)
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts
  • ½ cup of julienned carrots
  • ¼ cup of chopped green onions
  • 2 tbsp of chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp of chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp of sambal oelek (but feel free to adjust to your preference)
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • ½ tsp of black pepper
  • Toasted peanuts


  • Frying pan
  • Spatula


  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan, scramble the eggs once hot, then set them aside for the time being. 
  2. Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger, then sauté everything for about half a minute. 
  3. Include the sambal oelek and swirl for a minute.
  4. Throw in the bean sprouts, carrots, and half of the onions. Stir-fry for another two minutes, or at least until the veggies soften. 
  5. Fold in the leftover coconut rice making sure to mix everything thoroughly.
  6. Pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and pepper. Stir for 2-3 minutes to ensure an even and full coating of the mixture. 
  7. Add back the scrambled eggs and remaining onions. Do a quick toss and let everything cook for another minute. 
  8. Garnish with peanuts before serving.

Mee (is Another) Goreng

Mee goreng in a white plate.

The first goreng recipe is just rice. This second one? It’s a Malaysian noodle dish. 

Sorry (not sorry) for the added carbs in this Mee Goreng! 


  • 2 cups of leftover coconut rice
  • 150 g of yellow noodles (mee goreng or egg noodles are your best bet)
  • ½ cup of chopped kangkung (or you can use bean sprouts instead)
  • ¼ cup of julienned carrots
  • ¼ cup of chopped green onions
  • 2 tbsp of chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp of chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp of shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp of sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp of black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • Fried shallots as garnish


  • Frying pan
  • Wooden spoon


  1. Cook your noodles as per the package instructions. Once done, set them aside.
  2. Heat up the oil in a frying pan then sauté the shallots, garlic, and ginger for 30 seconds or until they’re fragrant.
  3. Add the shrimp paste and stir-fry for another minute.
  4. Put the sambal oelek and stir-fry everything for 1 minute.
  5. Throw in the kangkung and carrots, then cook for a minute or two, just until the veggies turn slightly soft.
  6. Stir in the leftover coconut rice and mix everything. Make sure to break up any clumps.
  7. Pour in the soy sauce, oyster sauce, turmeric powder, and pepper. Stir everything well and thoroughly for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Push the mixture aside and scramble the egg in the center of the pan. Mix everything together after. 
  9. Add the cooked noodles and toss everything until well combined. 
  10. Garnish with some shallots before serving. 

Nasi Lemak

Traditional nasi lemak in banana leaf.

I’ve been talking Nasi Lemak up since the beginning. Did you really think we’re not going to give it a go? 

Who’s up for some Nasi Lemak fritters?


  • 2 cups of leftover coconut rice
  • ½ cup of chopped chicken
  • ¼ cup of chopped veggies
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro and mint
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch
  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp of chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil
  • Calamansi wedges (limes also work)


  • Large Bowls
  • Frying pan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Plate with paper towels


  1. Combine the leftover coconut rice, chicken, veggies, and herbs in a large bowl.
  2. On the other bowl, whisk the egg, flour, cornstarch, turmeric, chili flakes, salt, and pepper together.
  3. Take a spoonful of the mixture and flatten it slightly. Make a hole in the center and add a small piece of chicken.
  4. Fold the mixture to enclose the filling, making a small patty. Do steps 3 and 4 for the remaining mixture.
  5. Dip each patty in the egg mixture making sure they’re all fully coated. 
  6. Heat up vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium fire. Fry the fritters for 2-3 minutes per side or until they turn crispy. 
  7. Transfer the fritters on a plate with paper towels to drain any excess oil. 
  8. Squeeze calamansi over your fritters before serving. 

One Malaysian Bite at a Time 

Rice on its own is Asian. Rice with coconut milk? That’s 💯 Malaysian. 

As much as I enjoyed this trip with you, foodies, I think it’s time to end it here. 

Wow! What an incredible exploration of the versatility of leftovers and the rich flavors of Malaysia. 

While this article on what to do with leftover coconut rice finishes here, it’s only just the beginning! We’ve barely touched the entirety of the vast Malaysian food landscape. 

Experiment on your own. Make me proud (and make sure to contact me if you have a eureka moment)!

Selamat makan!

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