Ayam Buah Keluak Recipe



Prepare one day in advance | Serves 3-4 | 35 min cooking time

Ayam buah keluak is a staple dish of the Peranakans in Singapore and Malaysia. The core ingredient of the dish is the keluak nut and the spicy tamarind gravy. It is one of the most labour-intensive Peranakan dishes to prepare.


The gravy is made from a blend of spices consisting of candlenuts, turmeric, chilli, galangal (a type of ginger root), and belacan (prawn paste). The spice mix is then stir-fried till fragrant, after which lemongrass along with the flesh of the keluak nuts are added. Part of the cooked mixture is mixed with minced pork and prawns before it is stuffed back into the nut, while the rest is made into a thick gravy using chicken stock and tamarind juice. During the process, pieces of chicken are added to the gravy and allowed to simmer.


Ayam buah keluak is usually served with rice. Typically, diners consume the chicken, gravy as well as the mixture in the keluak nuts. They either use small forks to scoop out the mixture in the nuts or simply knock it out onto their plates.


This dish can be easily prepared at home as a family meal using our recipe from Chef Sunny Goh, Executive Chef of Concorde Hotel Singapore. Go ahead and give it a try and we hope you enjoy preparing it as much you eat it!



  • 20 buah keluak nuts
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 8 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • 1L water
  • 5 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoon salt
  • 120ML oil


Ingredients for Rempah

  • 12 slices galangal
  • 2 slices turmeric
  • 6 candlenuts
  • 20 shallots
  • 10 red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 stalk lemongrass



  1. Soak and scrub the buah keluak for 24 hrs
  2. Remove the meat using a cleaver to chop off the tip of the shell
  3. Pound the meat with half the sugar and salt then press the mixture back into the shells
  4. Rinse the chopped chicken
  5. Pound or blend the Rempah



  1. Heat wok over high heat until it smokes. Add oil and stir fry Rempah for 2 mins
  2. Lower the heat and continue stir fry for another 2 mins
  3. Over high flame, add the chopped chicken
  4. Stir fry until liquid has been reduced
  5. Add the nuts and fry till oil surfaces
  6. Add tamarind juice and season
  7. Simmer for at least 30 min


Article adapted from Bonny Tan.