'Kerisik' is a condiment made of grated coconut which is toasted. It is the secret to the nutty caramelized flavour of a perfect rendang dish. Here is the only guide you need to making kerisik or coconut butter to get the best aroma and flavour.
Cooking 20 mins
|100 g||coconut (desiccated or grated)|
Nutrition per Serving
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Kerisik, made of toasted grated coconut is often added to the famous caramelized curry known as ‘rendang’. Both beef and chicken rendang usually have kerisik listed as one of the many ingredients needed. Kerisik is added to the curry for it to be stewed along with other ingredients to create a complex but extremely delicious tasting curry.
Get chicken rendang recipe here.
Get beef rendang recipe here.
Besides ‘rendang’, other dishes such as ‘nasi ulam’, ‘nasi kerabu’ and ‘serunding’ (spiced grated coconut) uses this special ingredient too. It is used for its fragrance, creamy flavour and natural preservative function. Dishes which have kerisik added to them last longer. This is a little trick used back in the days when refrigerators weren't widely available.
The best kerisik uses freshly grated coconut which is carefully toasted over low heat until it reaches the ideal golden brown shade. The toasted coconut is then pounded until the natural oil is released. This results in a shiny oily brown paste which is referred to as kerisik. Sounds simple but it can be quite tedious due to the pounding.
Can the toasted coconut be blended?
Blending will help release the oil from the toasted coconut as well. However, from my experience, I noticed there is quite a difference between blending the toasted coconut compared to pounding them with a pestle and mortar. While it helps to cut down on the hard work, blended kerisik makes the food tastes milder. The sharp blades in the blender cuts the ingredients until the oil is released. There isn't much pressure or friction during the blending process unlike when using the pestle and mortar, the motion of pounding and grinding the ingredients help to release the flavours. It is for this purpose I always prefer using the pestle and mortar.
Store-bought vs. homemade kerisik
Kerisik is also sold at supermarkets in Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore. However, there is always a risk of oil being added to the kerisik. Such kerisik of low quality does not taste good and will not be able to keep long. Most store-bought kerisik has been processed for quite some time hence, the flavour and aroma dissipate as time passes. Therefore, using homemade kerisik is always advisable.
Tips to make tasty kerisik
Begin with the selection of coconut. The best tasting kerisik uses grated coconut from old coconuts as they contain more oil compared to young coconuts. Always ensure that the grated coconut is pounded immediately after being toasted. It should not be left to cool as heat encourages more oil to be released during pounding.
How to ensure kerisik keeps longer?
Adding a pinch of salt while pounding or blending the kerisik helps it to keep longer. Once it is ready, store it in an air tight container. It can be kept refrigerated for a month. If it turns rancid, dispose of it.
Put them into small moulds before freezing the kerisik. Otherwise, you can also refrigerate it in a bowl until it turns solid. Cut the solidified kerisik into chunks and keep them in an airtight container. They can be kept frozen for up to 3 months.
How to make kerisik without freshly grated coconut?
Being away from countries like Malaysia or Indonesia makes it difficult to have access to freshly grated coconut. You can either buy a whole coconut, proceed to crack it open and grate it or simply opt for frozen grated coconut. This can be found at most Asian grocers. When using frozen grated coconut, ensure that it is fully thawed in the refrigerator before pan-frying. 100g of grated coconut will produce 2 tablespoons of coconut butter (kerisik).
Other substitutes are coconut cream and desiccated coconut. Coconut cream needs to be cooked over low heat until it browns. Use immediately as kerisik as per recipe or store it in the fridge. As for desiccated coconut, there is only one drawback as it does not release any oil. However, the aroma of toasted coconut is present. Therefore, adding a spoonful of coconut oil will improve the flavour.
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Steps to Prepare
Step 1 of 2
- 100 g coconut (desiccated or grated)
Heat pan over low temperature. Once the pan is fully heated, pan-fry shredded coconut until golden brown. Do not allow it to turn too dark because the colour of shredded coconut will continue to darken.
Step 2 of 2
When the shredded coconut is ready, blend it immediately or pound it using a pestle and mortar until oil is released. Add to dishes as recommended in recipes.
Published: May 26, 2019
I have to get this right. I'm going to cook chicken rendang (for nasi lemak among others) and beef rendang. Also, for nasi ulam, nasi kerabu, and serunding (as mentioned in Nyonya Cooking recipes). Where in Australia can I find grated coconut? Desiccated coconut doesn't seems the better. If I find real, fresh coconuts how to grate? Is there a coconut grater out there? Grace any idea?
Hello Robin, you can find frozen grated coconut as recommended. Desiccated coconut is a decent substitute. Although there are manual coconut graters out there, it takes a lot of effort. Best to find frozen grated coconut.
Thank you Mira for responding. Excellent! Shall look for frozen grated coconut tomorrow. But, I shall also look for manual coconut graters in Asian shops here (see what they have). BTW, I was told that kerisik can be found in packets sold in grocery stores. Also, there are ready made rendang ingredients for chicken/beef. Let's see how this going to turn out. Will post result in Snap. Cannot upload photos here.
Yes, they are also sold in Malaysian/Singaporean wet markets. It's not going to taste as good when made fresh. All the best trying and send us a food snap!
Most certainly post in snap. BTW, I'm also looking into the Cendol recipe. It is super delicious! I saw a potato masher in a shopping center here, but I had thought it wasn't the right tool to make cendol from the green paste. Looking back it was the right one :). It costs AUD25. I'm going to look for it at Kmart first if they also have one. If not I'm going to buy the one I saw earlier. The cendol is super delicious. Must do it. Good for my stat too :). Shall post in snap in due time :).
I tried pounding the browned grated coconut but it remained dry. It didnt become a paste like yours.
You need to pound longer. It remains dry until the oil is released.
BTW, Grace. As mentioned in "How to make kerisik without freshly grated coconut" 100g of grated coconut will produce 2 tablespoons of coconut. What does that mean? ...will produce 2 tablespoons of coconut butter (kerisik)?
That's right, Robin. We missed that word. It's updated now!
Thank you Mira for looking into it.
BTW Mira, are you with the Vietnamese cooking webpage?
I am the community manager here, not related to any other cooking sites. :)
Noted, thank you :)