Tag: Ingredients

Candlenuts (Buah Keras)

Candlenuts (Buah Keras)

Many readers emailed and asked about candlenuts or buah keras when I posted the Udang Masak Lemak Nenas recipe by Nyonya Pendek Melaka. An important ingredient in Nyonya (and Indonesian) cooking, this post serves as a brief introduction of candlenuts, or buah keras in Malay, or kemiri in Indonesian.  On the packaging of candlenuts, you will mostly see the above…

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Bunga Kantan (Ginger Flower/Torch Ginger Bud)

Bunga Kantan (Ginger Flower/Torch Ginger Bud)

Bunga Kantan is the soul of many Nyonya dishes—Assam Laksa, Nyonya fish stew and curry dishes such as perut ikan and gulai tumis. Bunga kantan is another Nyonya ingredient that I can’t find here in the United States. Bunga kantan, or in English, ginger flower or torch ginger bud is the bud of red ginger plant. (There are a few…

Pandan Leaf (Screwpine Leaf)

Pandan Leaf (Screwpine Leaf)

If you are not familiar with Southeast Asian cuisines, you might not have seen or heard of pandan leaf or screwpine leaf. Known as “the vanilla of the east,” pandan leaf is an indispensable ingredient in many Nyonya recipes, especially when it comes to Nyonya desserts and sweet cakes known as Nyonya kuih. My next post is about a favorite…

Nyonya Ingredients: Jiu Hu See (Shredded Cuttlefish)

Nyonya Ingredients: Jiu Hu See (Shredded Cuttlefish)

Jiu hu see, or shredded dry cuttlefish is mostly used by Nyonyas and Peranakan cooks to make jiu hu char, a vegetable dish flavored with dried cuttlefish. In Hokkien dialect, “jiu hu” means cuttlefish, and “see” means thin threads. Other than making the signature jiu hu char, my mother often used jiu hu see to flavor her white turnip (daikon)…

Nyonya Ingredients: Tamarind (Assam)

Nyonya Ingredients: Tamarind (Assam)

Tamarind is a very common ingredient in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines, but an exotic and foreign ingredient to many in the west. I often receive emails from readers asking me about tamarind; I hope this post about tamarind would help you understand this core ingredient. Tamarind–or “assam” in local Malay language–is the fruit of tamarind trees. Tamarind (pictured above)…

Nyonya Ingredients: Taucheo (Soy Bean Paste)

Nyonya Ingredients: Taucheo (Soy Bean Paste)

There are many ingredients used in Nyonya recipes–some common while others are exotic and unknown ingredients to many foreigners. As mentioned in “Introduction to Nyonya Food,” Nyonya cuisine is the result of mixing Chinese ingredients to local produce, spices, herbs, and roots to create the exotic flavors. Hence, I have started a “Nyonya Ingredients” series to cover all essential ingredients…