How to toast coconut and make kerisik
How to toast coconut will be explained in this page. Coconut is used in countless ways in Malay cooking. Thick or thin coconut milk is used in curry, gravy and desserts. Kerisik (grated, toasted coconut) is used to thicken curry and rendang and also used as a condiment in nasi ulam (herbal rice) and nasi kerabu (herbal rice with fish or meat).
Freshly grated coconut is used extensively in Malay cakes and desserts. These delicious "kuih" are made and eaten fresh as breakfast or tea time treats. Freshly grated coconut with roasted minced fish are stuffed into young green chilies and steamed as another condiment to serve with nasi kerabu. My daughter especially, just loves these little tiny cakes with fresh coconut.
In modern Malay cooking, desiccated coconuts are used in cookies or as decoration on western style cakes. Pina colada cheesecake is a good example of the use of desiccated coconut for decoration.
In order to toast coconut, it has to be prepared beforehand in a number of steps.
If you have no fresh coconut flesh, canned desiccated coconut is also good for making kerisik but the result will not be as fragrant and tasty as fresh coconut.
The method to toast coconut that I will outline below is for making kerisik to thicken the curry or rendang. To toast coconut for nasi kerabu, there is no need to toast it until deep golden brown.
It would suffice just to toast it light brown.
It is a simple and easy process. Yes, you can buy packed kerisik nowadays, but it will not be fresh and sometimes the smell is a bit unpleasant because the coconut oil that is extracted from it has started to decay. So, come and learn with me.
I remember when I was a young girl starting to learn to cook with my mother. She asked me to use the pestel and mortar to make the kerisik. I was about 12 years old at that time. I hated it. It took me forever to turn the coconut paste into the right consistency.
I asked her, "Mom, is this enough?" "Not yet!", came the answer. After about 10 times of yelling to and fro, she was finally satisfied and said: "Yes, this is what you want, you want the oil to come out like this."
No worries now, it is an enjoyable task. I do not mind making the kerisik because a little of the grinded toasted coconut goes a long way and you can prepare it in bulk and freeze it as well. It is cheap to make also.
Now that you know how to make good kerisik, it is easy for you to make delicious rendang.
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