Nai Nai Anita’s Buah Keluak
Written by: Michael Lim
y grandma, Anita, learnt how to make buah keluak by watching her grandma make it. Back then, her grandma wouldn’t bother to explain it to her, so she learnt from watching her cook in the kitchen. I’m grateful that now she can teach me how to make the recipe!
“I realised how they put in a weeks work of effort; cleaning, breaking, filling and cooking the buah keluak, just for the family to enjoy one meal.”
This buah keluak recipe holds close to us, as my grandma would make it every Chinese New Year, and our large family (5 children, 17 grandchildren, 1 greatgrandchild) would gather together and eat buak keluak. However, recently my grandma has become less nimble in the kitchen and so she’s become more of a head chef, guiding my siblings as we cook.
In the video we interviewed my grandparents about buak keluak. My grandpa, who’s just turned 89, explains the process and tools he uses. Breaking the seeds alone can take up a whole day and requires quite a bit of strength. There’s a lot of love that goes into making it- as he says, “Eating is very easy, but the preparation is not that easy.” From the interview, I formed a whole new level of appreciation for my grandparents, because I realised how they put in a weeks work of effort; cleaning, breaking, filling and cooking the buah keluak, just for the family to enjoy one meal.
Over the years, many people have asked my grandma what’s her secret for making such amazing buah keluak and here you’ll learn, it’s more than just the addition of minced meat and perfection of the spicy rumpah. It’s love.
Letters to the Chef