Coconut Beef Patties

I’m in a coconut state of mind. (That would make a great lyric, wouldn’t it?)

I pulled up the list of all the drafts of yet-unpublished posts for this blog, and I saw that there were five recipes that featured coconut. I’m not sure how that happened. Don’t get me wrong, I really like coconut, but it’s not the first thing I go for on a menu. I’ll blame (or thank) the dead zone. This period we are in when it’s not winter and it’s not spring. When I avoid going to the farmers’ market because it makes me sad to see all those withered apples and dried up squashes (though it’s probably when the farmers need me to buy their things the most, now that I think about it). So I turn to things that are without season. Like dried beans and grains and shredded coconut that’s always available at the store.


I also realized that I’ve neglected the Appetizers section of this blog. It’s not an easy section to fill. Most of the time, I’m cooking for just the two of us, so there’s no appetizer involved. I have to wait until I’m cooking for company to bring out my list of appetizer recipes.

For this recipe, I reached out to a cookbook I have had for probably close to 15 years. I used it a lot when I first bought it back in the 90s but then it got buried somewhere in the back of the bookcase.


It’s a great cookbook on Indonesian food called Taste of Indonesia: Over 70 Aromatic Dishes from the Spice Islands of Bali, Java Sumatra and Madura by Sallie Morris. It has big, beautiful photographs and recipes that are not hard to make, though they do sometimes require searching for some exotic ingredients like galangal or pandan. This recipe for coconut beef patties, however, is easy to make with things you probably already have in your pantry.


The patties are lightly spiced with coriander and cumin and they carry a distinct coconut flavor. They remain, however, steadfastly meaty. When you serve them, make sure you provide lime wedges for your guests to squeeze over them. They need the acid. Or if you want to go a step further, serve them with a small bowl of Thai chili vinaigrette to dip the patties in. Just call it Thai-Indonesian fusion.



Coconut Beef Patties – Adapted from Taste of Indonesia: Over 70 Aromatic Dishes from the Spice Islands of Bali, Java Sumatra and Madura

Makes 10-12 patties


4oz shredded coconut, soaked in 6 tablespoons of boiling water
12oz ground beef
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 tablespoons all purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying
lime wedges to serve


In a small bowl, mix together the coriander, cumin, salt, and garlic into a paste. Add to the soaked coconut and mix to combine. Add coconut mixture and egg to beef and use your hands to combine.

Divide the meat mixture into 10-12 even sized portions and form them into patties about 2″ in diameter and ½” thick. Dust both sides of patties with flour.

Put enough oil in deep sauté pan to come to about ½” deep. Heat oil over medium high heat to about 350° F. Fry patties in batches for about 3 minutes on each side, adjusting heat to maintain oil temperature, until cooked through and both sides are golden brown. Do not crowd patties in the pan.

Serve immediately with lime wedges to squeeze over.