My Family’s Food Heritage – Part 1: Kong Ba and Ayam Buah Keluak

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Mastering my Dad’s fantastic Kong Ba & Ayam Buah Keluak has always been a life-goal for the simple reason of wanting to pass these recipes down to my own children. I believe in this one simple equation, that Heritage = Food = Togetherness.

In a bid to learn, I thought I’d start with the simplest way – observation. Last Christmas, dad cooked Kong Ba and Ayam Buah Keluak for us and he encouraged me to do a pictorial and record videos. So I did. Here’s a basic step-by-step photo book of how Kong Ba and Ayam Buah Keluak is made. Do note that I do not have metric measurements as yet. My dad does not measure his ingredients. He’s that good. 🙂  This Lunar New Year, we had the usual suspects – tantalizing kong ba, ayam buah keluak, udang belado and pork bone soup. As you can tell, we love our pork.

To all of you who celebrate this festive season, I would like to wish you a very very happy lunar new year! May this year of the water dragon bring you plenty of blessings, good health and prosperity.

And now, here’s a wee little exclusive peek into our kitchen.

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Kong Ba

Step 1: Buy ‘gor huay ba’ (pork shoulder) from your market. About 1kg+ is fine. Make sure that it has enough fat on it. Lean pork leads to tougher bite. Marinate in Soy Sauce for a few hours before you begin cooking.

Kong Ba. Step 1: Buy 'gor huay ba' (pork shoulder) from your market. About 1kg+ is fine. Make sure that it has enough fat on it. Lean pork leads to tougher bite.Step 2: Marinate in Soy Sauce for a few hours before you begin cooking.

Step 2: Heat oil and throw in star anise, leng kuas (blue ginger), and chopped shallots. Sauteed till golden brown.

Step 3: Heat oil and throw in star anise, leng kuas (blue ginger), and chopped shallots. Sauteed till golden brown.

Step 3: Once the aromatics are ready, add in your beautiful piece of pork shoulder. Let it cook on one side for a while. When that side is seared properly, turn it over.

Step 4: Once the aromatics are ready, add in your beautiful piece of pork shoulder. Let it cook on one side for a while.

That is the seared side. Looks good, yes? :)

Step 4: Drizzle a good amount of dark thick soy sauce. I think my dad uses Tai Hua. I think any brand works.

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Step 6: Add some honey.Honey adds a tinge of sweetness to the Kong Ba.

Step 6: Add some honey.

Step 7: Let the pork braise in the pan for approximately 1 hour. (note that this really depends on how big your piece of pork shoulder is)

Step 7: Let the pork braise in the pan for approximately 1 hour. (note that this really depends on how big your piece of pork shoulder is)

The dark soya sauce aroma that engulfs the kitchen, the first few seconds that Dad removes the lid off the pot that holds the glorious braised pork shoulder – that’s one of my favourite smells.

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But nothing beats the moment it is time to devour those fatty slices of pork 🙂

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Ayam Buah Keluak –

Step 1: Fry your rempah (spice paste). It is made of just 5 ingredients: dried chillies, onions, lemon grass, blue ginger and candle nuts. *Note: My dad prepares his rempah in big batches and keeps in in the freezer for convenient usage.

Ayam Buah Keluak -Step 1: Fry your rempah (spice paste). It is made of just 5 ingredients: dried chillies, onions, lemon grass, blue ginger and candle nuts. *Note: My dad prepares his rempah in big batches and keeps in in the freezer for convenient usage.

Step 2: Prepare your chicken. Clean it, and chop it just the way you like it. Prepare your assam juice (tamarind juice) in a bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare your chicken. Clean it, and chop it just the way you like it. Prepare your assam juice (tamarind juice) in a bowl. Set aside.

Step 3: Prepare your buah keluak. This is an Indonesian nut, known for its earthy texture and taste. Those who hate it, feel like it tastes like soil (not that they have ever tasted soil. probably their guess of what soil would taste like).
Step 3: Prepare your buah keluak. This is an Indonesian nut, known for its earthy texture and taste. Those who hate it, feel like it tastes like soil (not that they have ever tasted soil. probably their guess of what soil would taste like).

Dad prepared these before hand so I did not capture the process of cleaning the shell, cooking the filling and restuffing it. Note that the best way to have buah keluak is NOT adding any pork or additional ingredients. I like mine pure & unadulterated.

Dad prepared these before hand so I did not capture the process of cleaning the shell, cooking the filling and restuffing it. Note that the best way to have buah keluak is NOT adding any pork or additional ingredients. I like mine pure & unadulterated.

Step 4: Add the chicken to the cooked rempah. Saute it for a few minutes.

Step 4: Add the chicken to the cooked rempah.

Now add in the assam juice. Assam is one of my favourite ingredient. Adds a tangy kick to every peranakan dish. Assam Pedas! My fav!

Now add in the assam juice.

Cook it for a few minutes.

Step 5: Now add in water, so it is not so thick. Add in however much you want. My dad doesn’t like his Ayam Buah Keluak too diluted so he adds only a fair amount of water.

Step 5: Now add in water, so it is not so thick. Add in however much you want. My dad doesn't like his Ayam Buah Keluak too diluted so he adds only a fair amount of water.

Now let it simmer till it cooks. My dad boils the potatoes last and adds them in, so they stay firm.

Now let it simmer till it cooks. My dad boils the potatoes last and adds them in, so they stay firm.

To me, Dad’s ayam buah keluak is H-E-A-V-E-N. I want this to be the last dish I eat before I die 🙂

There are so many other dishes I want to learn from my dad. But that’s for another time.

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Me with darling papa and youngest sis.

In the meantime, happy feasting this lunar new year!

With love,
Cheryl & Family


Posted on 24th Jan 2012 in ayam buah keluak, Chinese New Year, Peranakan Food

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There Are 14 Comments

 

Adeline commented on January 29, 2012 at 11:08 am


This is awesome – pls record this for posterity – i’ll stay tuned – adeline mcm


 

masterofboots commented on February 8, 2012 at 3:55 am


Have always wanted to try cooking buah keluak. I’m impressed!


 

eugene commented on July 26, 2014 at 8:28 pm


.

tnx for info!!…


 

ramon commented on July 27, 2014 at 3:07 am


.

tnx….


 

Alberto commented on August 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm


.

thanks for information!!…


 

Harvey commented on August 23, 2014 at 2:11 am


.

спс!!…


 

Larry commented on August 23, 2014 at 4:08 am


.

спасибо за инфу!…


 

Edward commented on August 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm


.

good!…


 

Don commented on August 23, 2014 at 8:32 pm


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благодарен!!…


 

Alan commented on August 23, 2014 at 8:43 pm


.

good info!…


 

luke commented on August 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm


.

good info!!…


 

larry commented on August 24, 2014 at 2:41 am


.

thank you!!…


 

Cherie commented on January 14, 2016 at 7:23 am


Hi would like to check with you where to buy those buah keluak in Singapore?


 

Cheryl commented on January 19, 2016 at 4:57 am


Hi Cherie,
You can get them from the Geylang Serai market. My dad always gets them from there. Hope this helps!


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