Asian Dishes, Malay, Meat


When I first started this food blog ten years ago in 2010, it was to have a space to store all my recipes with pictures so my daughter and son could cook some of my favourite and eventually I’m hoping their favourite dishes too.

But work has always kept me from doing this up properly. Being a working mom is no joke. But the kids are now teens (or one of them is a tween) and I’m now officially under lockdown or over here it’s called a Circut Breaker (CB) (and for Westerners who can’t understand all the snickering and inside jokes whenever you see or hear CB uttered by us, go find out why 😂) I can finally cook more and record my recipes.

Today, I finally finally learned how to cook this classic Indonesian specialty that is much loved by Singapore Malays too. I don’t see this dish in Malaysia often. I wonder why. Maybe we Singaporeans are nearer to Indonesia? Anyway, I grew up eating this dish. And so did my husband’s family. Last weekend the mother in law cooked it and today, I saw my mom cook it.

Rawon is made using this poisonous black Nut called keluak. It is sold raw which the Peranakans cook whole in their dishes such as Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken in Keluak nut) it Babi Buah Keluak (pork in Keluak nut). The Malays/Javanese do not cook it whole.

Rawon is made from blending the processed safe to eat Keluak fruit with onions, ground dried chillies, garlic, and ginger. A thick paste is formed.

It is then sautéed and then beef brisket is boiled in the sautéed mixture. My mom used a pressure cooker for this. It’s fast and convenient.

The Keluak nut in a blender with onions. Later, we added the ground chilli paste, garlic and ginger slices.

Recipe (all approximations as with Malay/Asian cooking):

For the blended ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium sized 🧅
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 huge tablespoons of blended dried chillies (they sell ready made ones here but you can blend them yourself. Dried red chillies boiled full soft. Remove seeds. Blend till fine)
  • About an inch of fresh ginger
  • A packet of food ready made buah Keluak (this I am very sure you cannot get outside our region. For sure. But it’s something new to learn if you’ve never heard of it before!)


  • Fry the blended ingredients in oil till fragrant and some oil separates from the mixtyre
  • Add 2 pieces of crushed lemon grass and 3 slices of galangal
  • Add the cubes beef brisket
  • if using the pressure cooker, then cover and pressure cook for 30 min
  • If not, add water to the beef and sautéed blended ingredients and boil till meat is tender
  • Once meat is tender, season with salt
  • Add two pieces of Assam gelugur (tamarind pieces) and one tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • Add fresh kaffir lime leaves and Bay leaves
  • If you’re using pressure cooker, there’ll be plenty of liquid. See if it’s sufficient for your liking.
  • Season again with salt
  • Some people add slices of Long beans and tomato wedges (like my mom). My MIL does not.
  • Add more water if you like more gravy and a thinner consistency

How to serve

Rawon here is served with other important accompaniments. They include:

  • Bergedil (fried potato patties)
  • Paru (marinated fried beef lungs)
  • Tempeh (fried tempeh)
  • Sambal belacan (fermented fish paste chilli)
  • Tahu (fried tofu)

Here is a plate of Rawon from when I visited my MIL. Her version and my mom’s are not far off at all. Both are tasty and delicious!

This is my plate from Mom’s version. I like it with loads of gravy. There’s the fried beef lung on the TOP left, the bergedil (potato patty) and tempeh. And a dolly of sambal belacan (fermented shrimp chilli ‘sauce’)

I’m keeping this recipe here so I can make it myself in future. The important thing is to buy the Keluak from a reliable seller who knows how to process this fruit well so it’s not that bitter but must importantly not poisonous!

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