Beef Buah Keluak by Jean Chua

It may not look like a beauty but it's a potful of goodness - nuggets of black gold. Traditionally cooked with chicken with the Buah Keluak shells stuffed with Minced prawns and minced meat, I have tweaked the dish by using shin beef 600 gms and beef brisket 400 gms and left the Buah Keluak au naturel so that the beef can absorb the unique aroma of the black nut. Here's the recipe:


* 600 gms shin beef & 400 gms beef brisket both cut into 1" thick x 1.5 " length
* Buah Keluak Nut - 10 pcs - use blender to blend into a smooth paste with 1 tbsp sugar & 2 tbsps water as the nut has a bitter taste
* 10 pcs dry chilies soaked in hot water
* 10 big pcs fresh chillies
* 5 chilli padi
* Galangal - thumb length - cut into few pcs
* Buah Keras 8 pcs - pound finely in mortar
* 5 big stalks lemon grass
* Shallots 400 gms
* 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 5 stalks lemon grass
* 5 cm piece of a square blachan
* 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
* 4 tbsps Tamarind soaked in 800 ml water
* 6 tbsps oil
* 2 tbsps addtional sugar

Preparing the ingredients

1. Using a food processor, grind tog the 3 types of chillies into a paste, but not too fine.
2. Grind shallots in food processor to a fine paste but NOT Puree-like
3. Cut the white part of one stalk of lemon grass and 2 slices of galangal finely and pound tog to a paste. Bash the balance 4 stalks of lemongrass with a pestle.

Cooking process

1. In a non-stick pan, heat up oil till hot and fry the Buah Keras, blachan, and the chopped garlic.
2. Add the shallots and keep frying it for about 10 mins
3. Add the chilli paste, lemongrass stalks, galangal pieces and turmeric powder and continue to fry till it is aromatic. This should take another 10 minutes. This frying of the Rempah should be done patiently on a medium fire without any shortcut in order to get a fragrant Rempah
4. Finally, add the beef and increase the fire. Continue to fry another 10 minutes until the beef has sealed in the juices.
5. Add the tamarind water and when it is boiling add the Buah Keluak paste . Stir to amalgamate the beef with the Rempah.
6. Add the 2 tbsps sugar .
7. Once the beef is boiing, transfer to a pot and stew on a slow fire for 2 hours or till beef is tender, stirring periodically.
8. Serve with plain rice or, like "pulled" beef in a steamed bun with lettuce (like Kong Bak Pau).