Spicy coconut flakes


Add a powerful flavour boost to any meal with pan-roasted spiced coconut. Scatter generously over vegetables, eat with yellow rice or serve as a side dish like a dry relish.


  • 175 g (6 oz) fresh grated coconut or 150 g ( oz) desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon dark palm sugar (gula jawa), shaved
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 salam or lime leaf, deveined
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Bumbu spice paste

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small red Asian shallot, peeled
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli
  • 1 cm (½ inch) turmeric, peeled, or ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cm (½ inch) kencur, peeled (optional)
  • 1 can dlenut or 2 blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds


Start by making the bumbu spice paste. Roughly chop the fresh ingredients, then blend to a paste in a food processor. Add a little water to help everything come together.

Use your hand to massage together the coconut, bumbu, palm sugar and salt. If you are using desiccated coconut, add 200 ml (generous ¾ cup) of water, which will help the flavours infuse into the coconut. Add the salam leaf.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Stir-fry the spicy coconut mix, stirring often, until the coconut starts to colour. This may take 15-30 minutes. If you intend to use all the coconut the day you make it, you can leave it at a light golden. If you want to store longer, cook until completely dry and well browned. It will then keep in an airtight jar for a month or more.