I spent my childhood mostly with my grandparents in the village. Had a grandparents pampered their little granddaughter with full of love, it has always been the best moment in my life . I didn’t have so many friends so my grandmother came up with the idea of teaching me some basic cooking lessons perhaps like any other grandmas would do. And that was a not-so-good idea to a kid who didn’t like kitchen. I admit! Because I love grandma, I had to pretend to the level that I struggled to muster the passion to it! not being able to orchestrate the best reason possible to keep me miles away from the kitchen made me finally stucked, forever. My grandma would call me all the way from her kitchen for another cooking adventure, I surrendered with no complaints.. surprisingly!
Most shockingly, After long, I happened to love cooking and trust me, it is rewarding especially being taught by a grandma who has shared thousands of old secret recipes and tips. I eventually appreciate her efforts.. I still do!
Making kerisik or coconut paste is one of the lessons I have been taught from my beloved grandma and I hope it is not too much to say I have passed this lesson quite successfully, alhamdulillah. Now I see the needs especially I have never seen any Asian stores carry Kerisik , so far here. It makes me realize even more why grandma put too much work just to get me at least know what to do in the kitchen.
Kerisik is brown greasy paste made from second pressed grated coconut.- toast and pound it in a mortar. Kerisik is seen mostly in Malaysian and Indonesian food recipes, it enhances the rich and coconutty flavor in meat , chicken dish and the like ; for example, Rendang.
This nutty coconut paste isn’t really complicated to make. To show you how simple is that, even myself started making kerisik as young as 6 years old of age. A couple cups of grated coconut ( store bought or home grated) and a mortar are all you need .
As for me, I am glad to be part of my grandma’s kitchen and survived despite of being forced. Most importantly, being part of my grandparent’s household that is full with love.
Kerisik (makes approximately 1/3 Cup )
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut , if home grated, make sure it is second pressed.
1- On medium-low heat, toast grated coconut on a medium pan or wok. Occasionally stirring until completely browned and fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Toasting brings out a deeper, earthier flavor and aroma.
- Toasting grated coconut using the oven is best done through lower temperature, lets say at 250F and frequent stirring.
- The low temperatures keep it from browning too quickly and developing a bitter, ‘over done’ taste and stirring them around insures evenness.
2- While the toasted coconut is still warm, spoon 2-3 Tablespoons into a mortar. Do not put a large amount at time as it will get harder to handle and takes longer process.
- The heat from the toasted coconut will aid in the processing and help develop the oil from the coconut quicker.
3- Ground the toasted coconut with mortar. It will first grind up into dry powder. Keep grinding, it may take about 10 minutes if working continuously. Grind continuously until dark brown paste is formed and oil developed and appeared on top. See the picture above.
4- At this stage, spoon out and pour in a container. Continue with the remaining batches.
5- Ready to use.
Kerisik can be made ahead of time. If not using immediately, Keep it in a clean and dry container, refrigerate for up to 4 weeks or freeze it for up to 6 months or so.