Coconut Become Butter ?–Kerisik (椰子酱)



I issued my Rendang Ayam (马来仁当鸡) post yesterday and I have a lengthy discussion about kerisik or coconut butter. Yesterday, I try to pound toasted shredded coconut very hard and I can’t get the paste like the oily kerisik and I gave up eventually…


Members of the Facebook Group assured me that it can be done..I have to be frank that I do not really believed the ability of changing some shredded coconut into coconut oil by manual pounding but I promised them that I will try again when I managed to get hold of some freshly grated coconut. This morning, I purposely went to Geylang Serai market, among other things, bought half a kilo of freshly shredded coconut for the purposes of preparing kerisik.


The preparation process was rather amazing and shocking that a paste can really be formed by pounding the toasted coconut and it gradually become an oily emulsion..I have used both the food processor and manual pounding to get the oily kerisik.


Preparation is actually not tough with the availability of of new kitchen equipment such as food processor. Since my food processor is rather large, i have to transfer it to the traditional mortal and pastel for the final grinding to force out the oil.. Overall, it took me about 15 minutes or slightly more for processing and grinding.


I put some into the gulai nangka or nangka vegetable curry and my conclusion is that it is an acquired taste… It tasted like some coconut oil with some burnt coconut bits. That flavour is familiar in the rendang prepared in West Malaysia but slightly different from those that I have tasted in Sarawak and Singapore.. Since it is an acquired taste, I believed some readers who are familiar with kerisik must be looking for such a recipe  Another reason of sharing is that the freshly made kerisik taste really different from the store bought especially in Singapore . These kerisik are imported from Malaysia may be months ago. It have an unpleasant “oily” smell that irks me..


Kerisik was termed as a wonder ingredient for rendang, beside rendang, it can be used for nasi ulam, kerabu salads or curries. Per Wikipedia, it was mentioned that:

“Kerisik is used in Malaysian and Singaporean cooking. Coconut is grated, toasted, then ground to a paste. It is sometimes referred to as coconut butter. It can be made at home or bought ready made. It is used in dishes such as kerabu salads and rendang. It is not easily found outside Malaysia and Singapore, and will be most likely only found in Asian specialty food shops outside of these countries. However, pre-made kerisik can develop an unpleasant smell. Fresh kerisik can be easily made from fresh coconut which is grated and fried, then ground in a mortar and pestle. Dried grated coconut can also be used, however the resulting paste is not as fragrant.” (source:


Though Wikipedia said that Kerisik cannot be found outside Singapore and Malaysia, I have to disagree that it was found in Indonesia. When I posted in an Indonesia Facebook Group, many members knew about this coconut butter.and is of the names koya, kelapa gongseng, bumbu rendang, blondo etc. Some members even uses this to prepare cake,  mee soto etc. .


Apparently, my “failed” kerisik as in the picture above is also called kerisik by the  Peranakan community and used in the preparation of nasi ulam, a type of herbs rice…and I am rather confused as to what is actually kerisik and I will leave it to readers to decide on the definition of kerisik. Is both oily and dry version all can be termed as kerisik?



  • Some freshly grated coconut




  • Put the freshly grated coconut in a big wok or frying pan. Stir frying under medium heat until dry, crispy and brownish. While it is hot, transfer the toasted coconut to a food processor, blend it for about 5 minutes. In this process, you will witness oil starts to excrete from the coconut and the toasted coconut become moist and stick to to the sides of the food processor. Transfer the blended coconut to the mortar and pound cum grind until oil starts to excrete out. It is considered as done when the paste become very shinny and coconut oil can be seen.. Overall, it took me about 15 minutes of continuous  blending and pounding.



I have never planned to blog this recipe. I believed this recipe will benefit those who want some homemade kerisik. All this while, I thought that kerisik is coarsely toasted shredded coconut (used in Nasi Ulam of Peranakan cuisines). But since Wikipedia’s defined it as coconut butter and with Facebook Group’s members assurance, I take a bold move to prepare this oily kerisik.  I am amazed and shocked  by the entire process but as to the taste, for the oily kerisik, in my humble opinion, it is an acquired taste.. Those who are familiar with it will love it and it is definitely much better than those sold in the stores. However, personally, I  preferred drier kerisik.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.