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Mama’s Ayam Buah Keluak

  • Serves 8-10
  • Difficult

When Mama passed on, some family members inherited bits and pieces of her jewellery. I, however, inherited her recipe book, which in my opinion, was far more precious to me than gold!


How old were you when you started cooking? 10 years old… Just instant noodles! 30 years old when I started learning Peranankan cooking!

Personal wish related to cooking: My wish is that I can share the sheer bliss of enjoying Peranakan food with more and more people . Honestly, it can take you to the clouds!

Geraldine G. K. Tan , CEO Cirrus Culinnaire Pte Ltd & Chief Fan, My BiBik Sayang


  • 50 pcs buah keluak seeds

    2kg chicken thigh, with bone in

    50g fresh leng kuas

    4 stalks lemongrass

    250g candlenuts

    250g shallots peeled

    60g ginger, peeled

    80g garlic, peeled

    2 pkts assam (tamarind paste)

    Half a lemon

    2 tsp brown sugar

    4 cups chicken stock

    3 tbs salt


    Preparing the buah keluak :

    1. Scrub the seeds in water.
    2. Change the water and soak.
    3. For best results, repeat over 3 days.
    4. Crack open the buah keluak shells at the top. Set the shells aside for use later.
    5. Scrape the meat out of the buah keluak.
    6. Marinate the buah keluak meat with juice of half a lemon and brown sugar for a few minutes.
    7. Pound the buah keluak meat in pestle & mortar till it becomes a smooth paste.
    8. Stuff the paste back into the buah keluak shells.

    Preparing the Rempah :

    1. Blend ginger, shallots and garlic separately.
    2. Remove the skin from the leng kuas and cut into smaller pieces, then blend.
    3. Remove the tough outer layers from the lemon grass, leaving only the tender middle and cut to about one-inch in length, then blend.
    4. Soak the candlenuts in water for about 10 minutes. Discard water and blend the candlenuts to a paste.

    Cooking the Ayam Buah Keluak :

    1. Heat oil in wok.
    2. Add the garlic, followed by ginger. Saute till fragrant.
    3. Add in the leng kuas and lemongrass, and continue frying.
    4. Add in the shallots till fragrant, then add the candlenut paste.
    5. Saute for a few more minutes and add the chicken pieces, making sure the chicken is coated well with the rempah.
    6. Add half of the juice of assam to the chicken, followed by the buah keluak.
    7. Pour in the other half of the juice of assam and simmer.
    8. Serve with steamed rice.


On average you should be able to achieve at least 38 filled-shells if you have good quality buah keluak.