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 coconut 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.
Fragrant Coconut Flakes, Serundeng
2 garlic cloves
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.