Candlenuts are widely used in Indonesian Padang cuisine, enjoyed also in Malaysia and Singapore - appearing in Nyonya recipes. The nuts are known as candlenuts, because their oil content is so high that they will burn like a candle. In Indonesia they are also known as kemiri nuts.
Candlenuts are a key ingredient in the classic Malay spice paste rempah, and crushed and pounded in other curry pastes or Indonesian sambal sauces. To make rempah, the candlenuts are pounded with chillies, shallots, garlic and usually belachan shrimp paste and fried in oil. The rempah can be used as the basis for Southeast Asian curries, or served alone as a richly flavoured condiment.
The nuts can also be ground or grated and then stirred into soups and stews to thicken and bring richness, as well as a mild nutty flavour.
Note: Candlenuts are mildly toxic when raw, so must be thoroughly cooked before eating. Once opened, store in an airtight container away from heat, humidity and light.
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July 13th, 2020