Sunday, 6 February 2011

Asian Truffle - the charm of Buah Keluak

Ok if you love food from the Malayan Peninsula, there are a lot of necessary ingredients to be got in Melbourne. You could replicate any of the dishes commonly found in hawker centres around the region except this one - Ayam Buah Keluak ... for that you need what is sometims referred to as Asian Truffle ... the nut from the Pangium Edule (or Kepayang) tree.

We were very lucky to have the bro's friend LT offer to make this sumptious Peranakan dish for us. Of course, more hands were coerced into the bargain, and before you know it, a little dinner party was planned which included said Ayam Buah Keluak, Chap Cheng (mixed veg consisting of a variety of fungus and beancurd related delicacies - word also doubles as a derogatory term referring to mixed blood), Devils Curry and Satay Curry Chicken.

 Ayam Buah Keluak

I recently learnt that the Buah Keluak nut in its natural state is poisonous. It has to be buried before use, which acts as a sort of fermentation, which I gather kills the toxicity.

Some people say its easy to cook, and others bemoan the hassle of scooping out the flesh, cooking this seprately and then spoon feeding the cooked flesh back into the nut ... time consuming if nothing else.

Chap Cheng

I have to confess that I can take it or leave it. I love the dish in itself and the nut does contribute heavily to the scent and flavour of the sauce, but M absolutely adores this. Its always wise to have a little teaspoon handy to scoop out the black morass held within. It has a tangy,earthy flavour, like truffle, but it also has a sweet accent which reminds me of stewed prunes.

 Satay Curry Chicken

It was one of the big ticks on our culinary list for Singapore. And it was great to share it with friends and family.

Here's M showing you how its done!

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