Candlenut or Buah Keras, a South East Asian native plant and multipurpose tree found its usage in food, medicine and more. It should not be eaten raw as candlenut is mildly toxic. Therefore, candlenut needs to be cooked for its toxicity to be removed.
|Alternate Names||buah kerasbuah kemiriindian walnutkukui nuts石栗果|
|Taste||nutty, oily, mildly bitter|
|Substitutes||unsalted macadamia nuts, cashew nuts|
Candlenuts are often used in curries or stew when it comes to Malaysian, Indonesian or even Singaporean cuisines. The high content of oil in candlenuts contributes to the gravy being thicker in curries and stews. Candlenuts are added into the chilli pastes of curries to make the dish thicker, creamier and slightly oilier. The mild bitterness in the candlenuts disappears upon cooking.
Fresh candlenut fruits (and seeds) are toxic and have laxative effects. They are left to decay in a moist environment to harvest its seeds. Candlenuts are seeds which had matured. One fresh candlenut fruit have one to two seeds. The name "candlenut" is derived from the high content of inflammable oil in it. Upon cooking the candlenuts, its toxic effect disappears just like its bitterness. They are also used as candles or even to light torches. Besides the South East Asian region, candlenut is also an important ingredient to the Hawaiian cuisine. Poké, a typical Hawaiian dish uses roasted crushed candlenuts as one of its seasoning. As the content of oil in candlenuts is high, it is said to contain the benefits like other oily nuts which are beneficial for the hair, skin and even to heal wounds.
Just like any other oily nuts, candlenuts have moisturizing benefits which are good for the hair and skin. The oil which is extracted from candlenuts is used as a moisturizer for both adults and babies as it is said to contain vitamins A, C, and E.
While there are no actual clinical studies to prove its medicinal benefits, South East Asians and also Hawaiians have been using candlenuts as a natural medicine for centuries to cure wounds, ulcers and even fever. The natural laxative effect in candlenuts supports the belief that candlenuts encourage weight loss.
Candlenuts may turn rancid easily. Choose candlenuts which are light beige/cream coloured. They should not be brown in colour.
Candlenuts stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Otherwise, store candlenuts in the freezer for up to a year.
Candlenuts must be cooked before consumption. A popular way is to toast the crushed/chopped candlenuts. Otherwise, blend or pound the candlenuts to add to chilli paste, which will be then sautéd in oil until cooked.