Ayam Buah Keluak: A Five-Day Peranakan Culinary Masterpiece for Special Occasions

Ayam Buah Keluak: A Five-Day Peranakan Culinary Masterpiece for Special Occasions

    In the vibrant tapestry of Peranakan cuisine, few dishes stand out as much as Ayam Buah Keluak. This iconic dish, with its rich, earthy flavors and complex preparation process, is more than just a meal; it's a culinary tradition steeped in history and cultural significance. Preparing Ayam Buah Keluak is a labor of love that spans five meticulous days, making it a dish reserved for the most significant occasions.

    The Significance of Ayam Buah Keluak

    Ayam Buah Keluak is a beloved Peranakan dish made from chicken and the unique buah keluak nut. This dish is traditionally prepared for special events and celebrations, symbolizing the effort and dedication required to create something truly extraordinary. Its preparation is a testament to the Peranakan community's respect for tradition, family, and culinary excellence.

    The Five-Day Preparation Process

    The painstaking five-day process of preparing Ayam Buah Keluak reflects the Peranakan commitment to preserving the authenticity and depth of their cuisine. Each step is crucial in developing the dish's signature flavors and textures.

    1. Day 1 to 3 - Soaking and cleaning the Nuts

      The process begins with selecting high-quality buah keluak nuts. These nuts, known for their distinct, earthy flavor, are soaked in water for two to three days to soften their hard shells. This soaking also helps to reduce the nuts' natural toxins, making them safe to consume.

    2. Day 4 - Preparing the Buah Keluak and Cooking the Chicken

      Once softened, the nuts are carefully cracked open. This step requires skill to ensure the shells do not shatter completely, preserving the nut's contents. The nuts are then cleaned thoroughly, and the flesh is extracted and mixed with a blend of spices to create a paste. This paste is then stuffed back into the shells, ready to impart its unique flavor to the dish.While the nuts are being prepared, the chicken is marinated in a rich blend of spices, including turmeric, coriander, and tamarind.

      The chicken and stuffed buah keluak nuts are cooked together in a fragrant gravy made from shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and various spices. This slow-cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, creating a harmonious and deeply satisfying dish. After the dish is cooked, it is then set aside for one day to ensure the flavours are absorbed into the chicken.

    3. Final Touches and Serving

      On the fifth day, the dish is reheated and given its final touches. The cooked Ayam Buah Keluak then ready to serve making it the centerpiece of any Peranakan feast.

    A Dish Reserved for Special Occasions

    Due to the intensive preparation process, Ayam Buah Keluak is reserved for significant occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, and major family gatherings (Chinese New Year). Its preparation is often a communal effort, with family members coming together to share the workload and celebrate their heritage. Serving Ayam Buah Keluak at these events is a way to honor traditions, connect with loved ones, and create lasting memories.


    Ayam Buah Keluak is more than just a dish; it's a celebration of Peranakan culture and culinary artistry. The five-day preparation process, filled with care and dedication, reflects the significance of this dish in Peranakan community. By reserving Ayam Buah Keluak for special occasions, the Peranakan community ensures that each serving is a tribute to their rich heritage and an opportunity to bring people together over a shared love of food and tradition.