Thai Vegetable Coconut Fritters (Gra Bong Tod)

Lately I’ve been trying more and more Thai food, using recipes from The High Heel Gourmet. Kees is working on the boat and I promised to prepare dinner for the workers. It was unseasonably cold, so I decided it had to be comfort food. Then I read about Gra Bong Tod on Miranti’s blog, and I knew at once that it would be great for this occasion. Gra Bong Tod is Northern Thai Style Tempura, shredded vegetables deep fried with a batter of coconut milk, shredded coconut, red curry paste, and rice flour. It is street food and therefore perfect for preparing outside on the boat.

The Gra Bong Tod was a big hit, everyone loved it. Someone said: “Prepared this way, any vegetable will taste great!” The traditional vegetables used for this Northern Thai street food are not available around here, so I tried it with the substitutes of sweet potato, butternut squash, and carrot.

I also tried shrimp, which was very tasty as well. The sweet potato was the best of the veggies. The carrot released a bit too much water, which made the fritters fall apart. The batter needs to be quite thick and you need enough batter for the fritters to hold together.

Gra Bong Tod is very easy to make and oh so delicious. You just shred the vegetables, mix the ingredients for the batter, mix the vegetables with the batter, and then deep fry spoonfuls of the mixture. The red curry paste and coconut make for a great flavor, enhanced by the sweet spicy dipping sauce nam jim gai. This is another winner. Thanks, Miranti!


2 cups (500 ml) shredded vegetables (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots)

vegetable oil for deep frying

For the batter

250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk

35 grams (1/2 cup) shredded (dry) coconut

160 grams (1 cup) rice flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste

For the Thai sweet chilli sauce (nam jim gai)

3 small fresh red chile peppers

1 clove garlic

120 ml (1/2 cup) vinegar

100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

1 tsp salt

40 grams (1/4 cup) crushed peanuts


To make the sweet chilli sauce, roughly chop the chile peppers and the garlic and put in the food processor.

Process until fine.

Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan…

…and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for a minute.

Add the chillies and garlic…

…and bring to a boil again. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the crushed peanuts.

Soak the dessicated coconut in cold water.

Peel the vegetables.

Shred and them and soak in cold water.

Drain the soaked coconut and put it in a bowl. Add the rice flour, coconut milk, salt, sugar, and red curry paste.

Whish to mix. The batter should be quite thick. If it is too thin, add more rice flour. If it is too thick, add more coconut milk. Mix the batter with the vegetables.

Heat up the oil to 180ºC/350ºF for deep frying.

Use two spoons to create a fritter and lower it into the hot oil.

Allow to fry until crispy and slightly golden, turning once or twice.

Remove from the oil before it turns brown.

Allow excess oil to drain on kitchen paper.

Serve with the dipping sauce.

Wine pairing

Although the others had beer, I enjoyed this with a ‘feinherb’ (off-dry) Mosel riesling.


Most classic Italian dishes have many variations, as each ‘nonna’ has her own version. Ragù alla Bolognese is one of the few dishes with an official recipe. I include some nutmeg, but otherwise stick to the official recipe. Slow food at its best!


9 thoughts on “Thai Vegetable Coconut Fritters (Gra Bong Tod)

  1. Oh my gosh Stefan! You are so brave to be cooking out there in the elements… I was amazed when I saw the preview of this post on my news feed (he’s deep-frying on the side of a boat?!). The fritters look amazing though and I am certain that Kees and his shipmates (if that is the correct term) would’ve been so grateful for the delicious, freshly cooked comfort food! I will give this recipe a go. I am very unfamiliar with Asian cuisine, unfortunately, but I always want to learn. Thanks for this informative and really interesting post!


  2. These look delicious.

    Thought I would mention that in feedly, the summary picture is coming through as your ‘flashback’ for each blog. Not sure if it’s your issue or feedly’s, but it’s odd seeing a coconut fritter recipe with a picture of ragu…


    1. Thanks, Lee, also for pointing out the problem. WordPress causes this problem also with other feeds sometimes (like LinkedIn or Facebook) and I’m not sure what I can do about it. I do specify the correct “featured picture” for each post, which is what is supposed to be showed.


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