Buah Keluak

This is the most amazing plant that I know of. Its fruits are so poisonous and yet they are eaten as delicacies from Southeast Asia to the Pacific Islands. I am talking about Pangium edule. Locally, we know the fruits of this plant as Buah Keluak, and the seeds are used as a significant ingredient in the nonya dish - Ayam Buah Keluak.

We have an old tree in the garden. It flowers and bears fruits regularly, but in small quantities. The fruits are like papayas, but are harder, more rough-textured and more brown. 




Inside the fruit, embedded in yellow pulp are the large seeds. Each seed has a hard shell. The raw seeds taken from the fruits are highly poisonous. Native people apparently have found ways to detoxify the seeds before consuming them. One way apparently, is to boil the seeds without their shells in several changes of water before leaching them in flowing streams or rivers for a few days. Another way is to boil the seeds with the shells intact and then burying the boiled seeds in ash for over 40 days. The seeds that we can buy in our markets in Singapore are apparently detoxified by the latter method.





The next time you enjoy a meal of Ayam Buah Keluak, take time to marvel at this amazing plant - so poisonous, yet so edible. Simply fascinating.



- by Wong Wei Har


  1. Harro! said,

    January 11, 2007 @ 9:25 am

    So tempting…

  2. Ijay Ngan said,

    February 12, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

    Good day,

    Can i take your photo to put it in my blog as i wanted all my friends to know about this baba nyonya delicacies?

  3. Wei Har said,

    February 15, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

    Sure, please go ahead.

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