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! Haahaa..it'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:
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:
(Pound ingredients above to a paste)
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.