We Indonesians love our coconut flakes, also known as “serundeng“. These are made from leftover grated coconut that has been squeezed dry from its coconut milk. This is one of the ways to use up those coconut shreds that might otherwise be thrown away. These tiny flakes of coconutĀ are usually sprinkled on top of sticky rice for light dessert or snacks. Sometimes it is served with rice and other dishes, both plain steamed rice or coconut milk rice. They give any dish an intense flavor of coconut, sweet and salty at the same time.

I don’t think people actually made this at home, since it is much easier to buy them. There is this really famous serundeng in East Java, and I can’t seem to remember what was the name of that place now. I have been told that people who visit that area bought those with them as souvenir. I had those once or twice sent by my sister who lives there. Very nutty and sweet. I had them by spoonfuls. This is not that, but the basic of cooking is the same. The secret would be the composition of spices used. Javanese loves their food really, really sweet. I suspect they use a lot of palm sugar (or gula merah) in their serundeng.

For fancy hors d’oeuvre, steam sticky rice and shape them into round balls. Dip the balls into the flakes and press them lightly so the surface is all covered by those heavenly coconutty flakes. Stick a wooden pick right in the middle, and arrange them on a pretty platter.

Spices used are shallots, garlic, candlenuts, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and Indonesian salam leaves. Seasonings are salt, palm sugar (gula merah) and tamarind pulp.

Some grated coconut.

Grind all ingredients, except salam leaves, palm sugar and tamarind pulp, into fine paste in a mortar and pestle.

Add palm sugar and tamarind pulp into the mortar.

Pound everything together until it resembles gooey brown paste.

In a bowl, combine grated coconut, salam leaves and spice paste together.

Mix all the ingredients well using a spoon.

When everything is mixed well, it is ready to be cooked.

Heat some oil in a wok over medium heat.

Add the coconut mixture into the wok.

Stir fry quickly over medium heat.

Cook until the coconut flakes turn light and golden. Remove from heat and store in airtight container. Sprinkle on top of Grilled Fragrant Rice (Nasi Bakar) or Coconut Rice (Nasi Lemak)


Fragrant Coconut Flakes, Serundeng

Makes 6-8 servings


2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1-2 candlenuts
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
30 g palm sugar (or gula merah)
1/2 tbsp tamarind pulp
3 Indonesian salam leaves
150 g grated coconut
1/4 cup cooking oil


Grind shallot, garlic, candlenut, coriander seeds, cumin and salt into fine paste. Add palm sugar and tamarind pulp and grind into brown paste.
Combine coconut, paste and salam leaves in a bowl and mix well.
Heat cooking oil in a wok.
Add coconut mixture into the wok and fry over medium heat, about 10 minutes.
When the coconut becomes light and golden color, remove from heat.
Sprinkle on coconut rice or sticky rice. Store in airtight container. Will keep fresh for 2-3 days.

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12 Responses to “Fragrant Coconut Flakes, Serundeng”

  1. 1

    Sprinkled with Flour — March 7, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    What a delicious and thrifty way to use up coconut!

  2. 2

    Christine — March 7, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    We used to have both bawang goreng & serundeng. I always chose serundeng. :) Can you toast it instead of frying it?

    • Jun replied: — March 9th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

      I have never tried toasting, but I think it would be a great healthier way.

  3. 3

    OohLookBel — March 8, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    Yum, I can almost smell the toasting coconut and garlic.

  4. 4

    Jennifer (Delicieux) — March 9, 2011 @ 12:56 am

    I’ve never heard of serundeng before. It looks wonderful though and I am sure very fragrant. I love how you’ve shown photos for each step!

  5. 5

    Arudhi@aboxofkitchen — March 9, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    Juuun….I have the same measuring spoons! :D I know, not important, lol. Btw, I couldn`t help but wonder about the mortar picture on top. Is it a mortar lid on the back?? I never knew mortar has a lid!

    • Jun replied: — March 9th, 2011 @ 9:38 am

      Haha it is not a mortar. It is a small sambal plate with lid, made of lavastone (batu candi), hand crafted. Bought it in small shop behind Candi Borobudur, Central Java. I got them in two sizes, very tiny though. About 5cm in diameter.

  6. 6

    mycookinghut — March 9, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

    I love using serunding in cooking, it adds such a great flavour and texture… when I saw it, I immediately thought of Rendang!

  7. 7

    Esef — August 13, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    I had eaten this couple of days before. My part-time javanese housekeeper bought some from a Medanese stall. I love it so much as it’s tastier than Malaysian version :-D

  8. 8

    Serunding « Scrapple Spring Rolls — February 13, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

    [...] this is pretty similar to what I made. I enjoyed it. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  9. 9

    sudha — April 15, 2014 @ 4:24 am

    I am from south India, we use coconut milk for many of our dishes, I used to throw away the coconut after extracting the milk.After reading this recipe I tried it one day, I didn’t add the leaves what you have mentioned in the recpie. I added red chillies, it turned out well, my husband asked for more! Thank you for helping me to make use of the left over coconut flakes!I liked your mortar! I wish to have one will I get it in Indonesian stores?

  10. 10

    William — June 16, 2015 @ 2:49 am

    Jun, this is great!
    How is this different from keresik though? I’ve seen a few rendang recipes, and they have always used keresik. (I hate to make keresik cos the coconut always end up sticking to the pan.) Is this good for rendang too?

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