Ayam buah keluak



Ayam buah keluak is a mainstay of Peranakan cuisine.1 Made with chicken (ayam) braised in a thick, spicy tamarind gravy with buah keluak nuts, it is usually served with rice.2

Description
Ayam buah keluak is a staple dish of the Peranakans in Singapore and Malaysia.3 The core ingredient of the dish is the keluak nut and the spicy tamarind gravy.4 It is one of the most labour-intensive Peranakan dishes to prepare.5


The gravy is made from a blend of spices consisting of candlenuts, turmeric, chilli, galangal (a type of ginger root), and belacan (prawn paste). The spice mix is then stir-fried till fragrant, after which lemongrass along with the flesh of the keluak nuts are added. Part of the cooked mixture is mixed with minced pork and prawns before it is stuffed back into the nut, while the rest is made into a thick gravy using chicken stock and tamarind juice. During the process, pieces of chicken are added to the gravy and allowed to simmer.6

Ayam buah keluak is usually served with rice. Typically, diners consume the chicken, gravy as well as the mixture in the keluak nuts. They either use small forks to scoop out the mixture in the nuts or simply knock it out onto their plates.

History
The origins of ayam buah keluak can be traced back to Indonesia.7 It was brought over to Singapore by Peranakan families from Java and Sumatra.8 Keluak nuts can be found in Indonesia, where they are used to prepare dishes such as rawon, which is a traditional Javanese beef soup that is black in colour.9

Variants
There are variants to the way the dish is cooked. Sometimes the flesh of the buah keluak is not added to the gravy, and pork instead of chicken is used.10 The dish is important for the Peranakans as it is used as an offering to their ancestors.11



Author

Bonny Tan



References
1. Cheah, U-H. (2004, July 24). Hard nuts crack. The Business Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Yeo, K. (1994, July 1). Dish with an authentic flavour. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chua, B. H. (2003). Life is not complete without shopping: Consumption culture in Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press, p. 101. (Call no.: RSING 306.3095957 CHU)
3. Chua, B. H. (2003). Life is not complete without shopping: Consumption culture in Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press, p. 102. (Call no.: RSING 306.3095957 CHU)
4. Chua, B. H. (2003). Life is not complete without shopping: Consumption culture in Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press, p. 101. (Call no.: RSING 306.3095957 CHU)
5. Chan, M. (1987, February 1). Nonya, with a mountain of love. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Yeo, K. (1994, July 1). Dish with an authentic flavour. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chua, B. H. (2003). Life is not complete without shopping: Consumption culture in Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press, p. 101. (Call no.: RSING 306.3095957 CHU)
7. Chua, B. H. (2003). Life is not complete without shopping: Consumption culture in Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press, p. 101. (Call no.: RSING 306.3095957 CHU)
8. Tan, G. S. (2004). Gateway to Peranakan food culture. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 309.1095957 TAN)
9. Tan, S. (1996, December 8). Nuts about a paste that’s a bit o’ heaven. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ho, I. (1985, August 8). For a taste of Java. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Yeo, K. (1994, July 1). Dish with an authentic flavour. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Cheah, U-H. (2004, July 24). Hard nuts crack. The Business Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 15 May 2013 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Ethnic foods
Peranakan cooking
Cooking, Peranakan
Peranakan food
Ethnic Communities>>Food
Peranakan (Asian people)--Singapore

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