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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Buah Keluak Ikan Jenahak (Black Nut with Golden Snapper)

After a weeks' celebration of the Chinese New Year back home in Malacca, it's now back to routine life. With all the eating and fun, it is a wonder if I did not gain at least one or two kilos! Well, that's what family gatherings and celebrations are all about. No gain, no fun!'s okay, I'll try to shed some kilos when I'm back at work next week with the routine gym workout! (yeah, rite!!!)

In this blog, I introduce to you (unless you are a Straits Chinese or from my part of the world, you will know what this dish is, a Peranakan cuisine (yes, again!), "Buah Keluak Ikan Jenahak" or directly translated, "Black Nut with Golden Snapper".  Here's a little more information on the Buah Keluak which I've copied and paste from wikipedia.  Buah Keluak is known in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea and is considered to be one of the poisonous fruit.  There is, however, a method of treating the poison so that they are edible and safe to be consumed.

This is the Buah Keluak Tree although I've never seen one.  Here's the snipet on Buah Keluak taken from wikipedia:

Culinary uses:
The fresh fruit and seeds contain hydrogen cyanide and are deadly poisonous if consumed without prior preparation. The seeds are first boiled and then buried in ash, banana leaves and earth for forty days, during which time, they turn from a creamy white colour to dark brown or black. The method relies on the fact that the hydrogen cyanide released by the boiling and fermentation is water soluble and easily washed out.

In Singapore and Malaysia, the seeds are best known as an essential ingredient in ayam (chicken) or babi (pork) buah keluak, mainstay of Peranakan cuisine. Alternatively, the kernels may be ground up to form a thick black gravy called rawan (or rawon in parts of Indonesia) popular dishes include nasi rawan and sambal rawan. A stew made with beef and chicken also exists in East Java. The Toraia dishoammarrasan (black spice with fish or meat, also sometimes with vegetables) uses the black buah keluak powder.

This was prepared by my dad, who is a great cook himself.  Most times, we will have this dish on special occasions or whenever we have family reunion.  I must say that for some, they get turned-off by the Buah Keluak as the flesh is black in color and for someone to like it (like me), it is an acquired taste.

Here's the recipe:

Dried chilies
(Pound ingredients above to a paste)

Golden Snapper
Tamarind juice
Salt to taste
Black soya sauce (just a little for color)

1. Fry paste till fragrant, add tamarind juice.
2. Add in Buah Keluak and let boil. (Buah Keluak needs to be prepared at least 2 weeks in advance by soaking them in water. On the day for cooking, cut open at the sides - take extra caution as the shell is very hard to break).
3. Add salt to taste and lastly put in the fish.
Serve with hot rice.


  1. Jen, this sounds interesting and I'd like to have a taste. It's definitely different, being black and all. I'm so glad to "meet" you and will enjoy following to see what you're making next. Have a great day!

  2. saw this dish on Travel and living channel. looks irresistible.

  3. Never heard about this nut, very new recipe to me. Surely I'll try your recipe when I get this nut, looks awesome.

  4. i never heard abt this nuts..looks to me

  5. jen, where can i buy this buah keluak? my hubby dah lama mengidam nak makan ayam keluak... but the restos in melaka are all chinese peranakan ones and we're not so sure of its halal status. .so looks like i gotta make it myself laa.. .where to buy? if you happen to get some next time, please buy for me some eh.. thanks, jen...

  6. Hi All, thanks for dropping in. Yes this dish is definitely different and worth the try, if you can get the black nut, that is. Just make sure that it's been treated and safe for consumption!

    Hi Manna Mania, yes, I can get my dad to buy some and keep for you. I think he bought it from Bukit Cina wet market but it's not always in season.

  7. This is new and different, now I'm really curious about the black nut, the dish looks delicious and hearty. Always great to learn something new, thanks!

  8. Your dad is such a great cook. This dish looks so delicious!

  9. This looks interesting, Jen! I have an aunt comes from Malacca, I have to ask her what the golden snapper is. I also find the herbs and spices used in Malay dishes fascinating!

  10. Yes, Gerry, this is one interesting dish.

    Zoe, my dad certainly is!

    Veron, good to know that you have aunt from Malacca..that's so great. Probably she can get you some of this when she visits you. Golden Snapper is a real excellent fish! You can steam it or fry it or bake it and the result is always yummy.

  11. yes, joyce was telling me abt this buah keluak the other day and how you made her salivate on the phone..haha! i've not seen this over here but seen it in magazines. Really curious about the taste! Normally how many buah keluaks do you need to cook a dish like this?

  12. Still salivating looking at it! Can never have enough of it! Syiok-nya! Hooray for super dad!!

  13. Yes, Lena. Joyce was practically salivating and comes in buckets of it by the time she arrived back home..haahaa but we are a close knit family so we save a bowl for her. I think it's about 2 kilos of buah keluak as they are heavy. I didn't count how many were in the dish cos just as when it was ready, I just gobbled down!! No time or thought of counting them! lol

  14. thanks, jen.. really appreciate it... let me know when you get the buah ya.... ;)


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