Braised chicken and pork in a black nut curry

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Asian cuisine

Quick and easy

” Known as an Indonesian black nut called buah keluah in Malay. The nut is mainly found in parts of South East Asia of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Growing up in a peranakan/nonya home, this is known to be a traditional dish, a hard treasure to find but one of the most frequent delights.”

My grandmother’s mom (great grandmother) taught my grandma at a very young age how to make this authentic dish that is usually very famous among the peranakans/nonya people. The nut needs to be soaked for a number of days then cracked open, scooping out the flesh and then refilled. Because of it’s rarity in western countries (e.g Australia), you can easily find the flesh filling in a vaccumed packed in the frozen section in China town. The meat for this dish can consist of either chicken and/or pork. In Malay, ayam means chicken and babi means pork, directly translated as “ayam buah keluak” and “babi buah keluak.”

You will need:

1 pork hoak
1 strip belly pork (optional for extra meat)
1 whole chicken

Blended paste:
10 shallots/2 onions
1 lemon grass
1 tablespoon belacan
Handful of candle nut
2 tumb size galangal
6 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground tumeric
10 dried chillies, soaked in warmed water (use less if you don’t like it too spicy)
1-2 tablespoon chillie powder

Canola or sunflower oil – Lot’s of oil for frying paste
Handful of kaffir leaves
2 tablespoon tamarind
1 tablespoon sugar
salt to taste
1 packet of frozen black nut filling
500ml water

Make the rempah paste, it needs to be smooth without any chunks. Cut the meat pieces (making sure to put aside the bones, fat and skin, this makes the curry rich in flavour). Pour a big amount of oil into the pan, make sure the oil is on medium to high heat before adding the blended paste, leave it to fry till it’s got a strong spicy aroma to it, mix it once in a while then add a few kaffir leaves. Keep leaving the paste to cook and slowly but gradually add little by little the chilli paste, sugar, belacan, chilli powder and half of the black nut (buah keluak) before adding in the pork and bones. Slowly mix in the meat with the blended spices then add water and covering the pan with a lid, lower the heat to medium to low, allowing the curry to simmer for 15-20mins. Add in the chicken pieces and it’s bones with more kaffir leaves, sugar, salt, tamarind and the rest of the black nut filling. Throughout the cooking time, the curry sauce darkens. Leave to simmer with the lid on for another 45-60mins. Taste the seasoning and adjust it with more salt. This dish is usually best eaten a day or two after cooking it, as the black nut makes the curry more flavoursome with the meat and spices.

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The Author

Born into a family that love food, Kelsey inherited her cookery skills from both her grandmother and mother that enable her to prepare delicious home cooked meals.

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