November 18, 2010

Pulut Serunding (Savoury Glutinous Rice with Spicy Coconut Floss)

My Cooking Affairs wishes you
Eid ul-Adha Mubarak!

Eid ul-Adha in Australia was celebrated on 16 Nov this year, one day ahead of that in Singapore and in most countries.  In addition to the religious significance of a special occasion as such, families all over the world would also gather for a feast (partial lyrics from "Hotel California" eh?).  In the Malay households, there are many signature dishes for Eid. Too many for me to list here.  I have my favourites, one of them is "serunding".  I can't quite recall how my love affair with this flossy side dish started.  All I know is I eat it with anything I could get hold of - rice, bread or lontong/ketupat (Malay rice cakes).  In case you start picturing someone (me) gobbling all of the aforementioned in one go with "serunding", take heart. I meant to say either of them at any one time, not all at once.  

In case you think that hairy brownish ball (left) is a meteorite, I have to quickly say
that's a real coconut. The white flesh (right) when grated will result in tiny flakes   

I did the most unexpected. Well, nothing rocket science, just a little bit of an old school technique.  I actually bought a whole coconut (dehusked) and grated the flesh by myself! The last person I saw doing that painstaking task was my mum, when I was 8 years old.  I would help her out sometimes.  I was always fascinated with the coconut milk that came out of every squeeze of the grated flesh.  Through the years, machines have taken over labour functions in a manner that's almost unbelievable.  Today, coconut milk comes in a can.  Even my mum now buys it ready made like that.  Lest the future generation thinks metal tin is the primary source of coconut milk, I think it's worth preserving and practising some traditional technique whenever we can.  So, when I came across coconuts at the supermarket, I grabbed the chance to relive my childhood. And boy, did I grate and squeeze!

While serunding is a side dish, I decided to make Pulut Serunding, which is a traditional Malay savoury dessert or what we Malays call "kueh".  No prizes for guessing that this is one of my favourites because the main feature is serunding.  I love the chewy texture of the glutinous rice combined with the fragrantly sweet/sour/spicy taste of the serunding.  Simply mouthwatering!  And for nostalgia's sake, I served my Pulut Serunding on a banana leaf.    

(From L to R): Freshly squeezed coconut milk and coconut flakes, lightly fried (without oil) coconut flakes
and a tub of glutinous rice in coconut milk and pandan leaf (screwpine leaf) ready to be cooked  


Serunding (Coconut Floss)

Grind to form a paste
2 lemongrass
4 cloves garlic
1 large red onion
1cm galangal
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 dried chillies (reduce quantity if you prefer less hot)


Coconut flakes from 1 whole coconut
350gm minced beef (fried without oil)
100gm brown / palm sugar
5-6 kaffir lime leaves
1 tumeric leaf (optional)
1/2 cup tamarind juice
Salt to taste
Cooking oil


1.  Lightly fry the coconut flakes until they turn slightly yellowish.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, heat oil and fry the ground paste for about 5-7 minutes until fragrant.  Stir the paste occasionally while frying to prevent it from getting burnt.

3.  Add the minced beef.  Stir for about 20sec.  Add the tamarind juice, followed by the coconut flakes, sugar, salt, kaffir lime leaves and tumeric leaf.  Lower the heat.  Stir all ingredients well and cook until the coconut flakes get drier.  Be sure to stir regularly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

4.  When the mixture is not soggy anymore, that's the right consistency.  Turn heat off.  Taste that the floss is a little sweet, sour and salty.  Otherwise, add sugar/tamarind juice/salt to taste.

Pulut (Glutinous Rice)

3 cups glutinous rice - washed & drained
3 cups coconut milk
1-2 pandan leaves (screwpine leaves)
Salt to taste


1.  Put glutinous rice, coconut milk, pandan leaves and salt into a microwavable container and cover with lid.  Cook on high for 15 minutes.  Pause microwave every 5 minutes to gently stir the rice.

2.  When rice is cooked, remove container from the mircowave.  Remove the lid, cool rice for 1 minute.  Scoop the desired amount of glutinous rice into a small bowl to make a round shape.  Invert bowl so rice is released on a plate.  Sprinkle a generous amount of serunding onto the glutinous rice and serve.     


- Glutinous rice must be used to make "pulut" as it is sticky, which is the texture desired for this dessert.  Normal grain rice will not give the sticky effect.

- Minced beef is optional for the serunding.

Fearlessly Simple & Home Cooked


  1. Eid Mubarak! Celebrated Eid in Seattle today 17th. Ur pulut serunding looks for the coconut thingy, I'll just have mine packed in neat little packages. But the coconut milk in cans...that I think still cannot beat the freshly squeezed version.

  2. Eid Mubarak! Alhamdulillah we live to celebrate another Aidiladha. Aha! your 17th is my 18th already hahaa. re the pulut serunding, the nostalgic bug hit me, so i was old school all the way, down to the banana leaf! haha. yes, fresh coconut milk is gorgeous. this is the first time in what must hv been more than a decade that i re-enacted this traditional way of squeezing fresh coconut milk. triumph! haha

  3. Wow this looks good, All of a sudden I missed Nasi Lemak. I always have those for breakfast when I used to work in Malaysia.