serundeng (spiced grated coconut)

prep 35 mins        cook 25 mins        serves 15

Spice Paste

8 fresh red chillies

3 onions, peeled and cut

8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut

4 cm length fresh turmeric, peeled and cut

3 thick slices peeled galangal, thinly sliced

2 stalks lemongrass, discard coarse outer leaves and thinly slice soft, pale inner core

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

6 tbsp dried krill, rinsed, squeezed as dry as possible

6 kaffir (makrut) lime leaves

2 slices tamarind (actually dried garcinia slices, not tamarind pod pulp)

600g (6 cups) fresh grated, skinless coconut, lightly dry roasted until light gold

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 tbsp red sugar

1/2 - 1 tsp salt

2 small turmeric leaves, ribs discarded, leaves finely shredded

Combine all spice paste ingredients and process or pound to a smooth paste.

Heat 5 tbsp oil in a pan or wok and when moderately hot, add the krill, lime leaves and tamarind. Fry for 3 minutes or until krill is golden and beginning to crisp.

Add the spice paste and fry, stirring constantly, until oil seeps out and the mixture is fragrant. Add the coconut, brown and red sugar and salt.

Stir continuously over moderate to low heat until coconut is evenly coloured, light and fluffy. Don't stop stirring for longer than half a minute as coconut is oily and burns very easily.

Do not cook for too long or the coconut will be too dry and grainy. If preparing as a topping for savoury snacks, leave the coconut a little moist so it will adhere and not crumble off easily. When coconut is almost done, add the shredded turmeric leaves and stir through for about 2 minutes.

Turn off heat and keep stirring until bottom of pan is no longer hot to prevent the coconut at the bottom from over browning. When cold, store in a clean, dry, air tight container and keep refrigerated until consumed.