Kerisik (Coconut Paste)

kerisik - coconut paste

Coconut is a predominant ingredient in Malay and Indonesian cooking. Coconut milk is often used in curry, gravy and desserts. Kerisik is grated, toasted coconut that is pounded into a paste; it is sometimes referred to as “coconut butter.” Kerisik is usually used to thicken curry and rendang. It is also used as a condiment in nasi ulam (herbal rice) and nasi kerabu (herbal rice with fish or meat).

fresh grated coconut

We made kerisik to thicken our Chicken Rendang for our Penang Cooking Class. It is a simple process but a bit tedious as you need to continually stir the grated coconut for at least 10 minutes to get it perfectly toasted. Pre-made and packaged kerisik can be found in local grocery stores (in Southeast Asia that is) but when it is not fresh, it often gives off an unpleasant odor as the extracted coconut oil begins to decay. So if you have access to freshly grated coconut, you may as well try making it yourself!

This can be prepared in bulk and frozen until needed.

Kerisik (recipe by Nazlina)

Yields: 3 Tbsp of grounded kerisik


  • 2 cups of freshly grated coconut


Use a stainless steel wok with a heavy base and heat over a very slow fire. Add the grated coconut and continually stir until it becomes a even, deep golden brown color. It should take about ten minutes.

toasting the coconut

After the aroma starts to permeate the whole kitchen, stop and remove the coconut. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the toasted coconut into a fine paste. Kerisik is often used to thicken curries and rendang.

grinding the coconut into a paste


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