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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Little Nonya

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“I’ve never tried cooking Ayam Buah Keluak before and I would like to know how” was the statement discussed over dinner one night.  “It takes a lot of work but if you really want to know how to cook it I’ll be more than happy to teach you” was my reply!  So a date was set and to my surprise my “little sister” (Anne-Marie) surprised us all with a wonderful night of delicious Peranakan cooking!  Testament to that there was nothing left in the pot of Ayam Buah Keluak!

Part of the experience of cooking though is the the whole mise en place “ceremony” – the sourcing and preparing of ingredients.  With shopping bags in hand the Chili Padi, Anne Marie and myself headed down to Tekka Market to get some Buah Keluak nuts, candle nuts, dried shrimp and scallops!

IMG_1442Buah Keluak Nuts @ Tekka Market

With supplies in hand the long process of washing then soaking then soaking and soaking the nuts began.  From what I was told it wasn’t much of a fun affair, one of the reasons why this dish is quite troublesome to make.

The hardest and some say the most dangerous part is cracking open the beetle nut shell and extracting the “meat”; the only way that I knew how to do it was with the back of a cleaver, once the meat is extracted it’s mixed with a blend of dried scallops, prawns and mince pork; this was all done and ready for cooking by the time we swung by for the actual cooking!

With the sambal made it was a pretty easy affair of simply throwing all the ingredients into a pot and letting it simmer.  The end result: A delicious fragrant pot of Ayam Buah Keluak!

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We all dove in for well multiple servings, it tasted great!

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Before we knew it the entire pot was gone.. yes there were some very hearty eaters who loved the dish! 

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Thanks Anne Marie for whipping up such a delightful dish on your first attempt.  Hope you had fun learning!

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