Ingredients Index


Candlenut, also known as kemiri, is a tree native to Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. The term "candlenut" comes from the fact that the nuts have a high oil content and were traditionally used as a source of light. The tree is a tall evergreen, reaching heights of up to 20 meters, and is characterized by its large leaves and knobby fruits. Candlenut is highly valued for its culinary and medicinal uses. In cooking, the nuts are commonly used as a thickening agent in curries, soups, and sauces, giving a rich, creamy texture to dishes. The nuts are usually ground or grated before being added to the food. They have a delightfully mild, nutty flavor that adds depth and complexity to the overall taste. In traditional Indonesian cuisine, candlenut is a staple ingredient in dishes like rendang, a popular spicy meat dish, and gado-gado, a vegetable and peanut salad. Aside from its culinary applications, candlenut also has various medicinal properties. The oil extracted from the nuts is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals, making it an excellent natural remedy for skin and hair care. It is commonly used in traditional beauty treatments to moisturize and nourish the skin, promote hair growth, and strengthen the hair shaft. The oil is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, making it effective in treating skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. In addition to its culinary and cosmetic uses, candlenut has been utilized in traditional medicine for centuries. It is believed to have a wide range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and regulating blood sugar levels. The nuts are often used in tonic recipes and herbal remedies to address various ailments, such as arthritis, indigestion, and diabetes. Candlenut trees are also highly valued for their wood, which is durable, water-resistant, and has a beautiful grain pattern. The wood is commonly used in furniture-making, construction, and handicrafts, adding a touch of elegance and functionality to various products. Despite its many uses and benefits, candlenut is relatively unknown outside of Southeast Asia. However, with the increasing popularity of Asian cuisine and natural remedies, the demand for candlenut products is growing. It is now available in specialty stores and online platforms, allowing people from different parts of the world to experience the unique flavor and health benefits of this versatile ingredient. In conclusion, candlenut is a versatile and valuable tree that plays a significant role in Southeast Asian culture, cuisine, and traditional medicine. It is prized for its culinary uses, as a natural beauty remedy, and for its medicinal properties. Whether enjoyed in a delicious curry or used in a skincare routine, candlenut continues to capture the interest of people worldwide.

About Preparation and Cooking

Candlenut, also known as "buah keras," is a versatile ingredient commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly Indonesian and Malaysian dishes. It possesses a rich, earthy flavor and a creamy texture, making it a popular addition to curries, soups, and stir-fries. Preparing and cooking candlenut is relatively simple and can be done in several ways. One approach to preparing candlenut is by roasting them. To do this, start by cracking open the hard shell of the nut using a hammer or nutcracker. Remove the flesh from the shell and discard any browned or spoiled nuts. Rinse the flesh under running water to remove any impurities. Then, place the flesh on a baking sheet and roast them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Allow them to cool before grinding or crushing them into a paste. Another approach is to soak the candlenuts in warm water. Begin by removing the outer shell and slicing the flesh. Place the sliced nuts in a bowl and cover them with warm water. Let them soak for about 30 minutes to soften the flesh. Once softened, drain the water and use the soaked candlenuts as directed in your recipe. When it comes to cooking, candlenut can be used in various ways. It is commonly ground into a paste or finely chopped and added to dishes like rendang, a rich and spicy meat stew, or sambal, a chili-based sauce. The nutty flavor of candlenut complements the spiciness of these dishes, adding depth and creaminess to the overall flavor profile. In conclusion, candlenut is a versatile ingredient that can be prepared by roasting or soaking, and then added to various dishes for flavor enhancement. Whether grinding into a paste or adding finely chopped pieces to a recipe, candlenuts add a unique taste and texture to Southeast Asian cuisine.

Jain Diagram

Details about Candlenut

Candlenut, also known as kemiri in Indonesian, is a highly versatile nut that is native to Indonesia. It belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and is primarily grown in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This nut has been cultivated for centuries and holds great significance in Indonesian cuisine and traditional medicine practices.

Candlenut trees are medium-sized evergreens, reaching heights of up to 20 meters. They are well-adapted to the tropical climate of Southeast Asia and thrive in sandy, well-drained soils. The tree's leaves are smooth and elliptical, while its fruit resembles a small plum and contains the valuable candlenut seed within.

Candlenut is primarily used for culinary purposes and is famous for its rich, nutty flavor. The nut is essential in the preparation of traditional Indonesian dishes such as rawon (a black beef soup), soto ayam (chicken soup), and rendang (a spicy meat dish). The process of incorporating candlenut into these recipes typically involves roasting or frying the nuts until they turn golden brown. This step is crucial as it enhances the nut's flavor and provides a slightly toasted aroma.

Besides adding flavor, candlenut is often used as a thickening agent in various Indonesian dishes. The nuts are finely ground into a paste, which is then mixed with water or other ingredients to form a thick, creamy consistency. This paste serves as a base in many curries, sauces, and stews, providing a velvety texture and a subtle, nutty undertone.

In addition to its culinary uses, candlenut has long been recognized for its medicinal properties. Traditional healers in Southeast Asia have utilized the nut for its various health benefits. Candlenut oil is particularly valued for its ability to moisturize the skin and provide relief from dryness and irritation. The oil is often blended with natural ingredients and massaged onto the skin to promote hydration and soothe skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Furthermore, the candlenut, when crushed and mixed with water, has been used to treat various ailments such as constipation, toothaches, and rheumatism. It is believed to possess anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and analgesic properties, making it a popular natural remedy in traditional medicine practices.

To prepare candlenut for culinary use, it is important to handle it with care due to its toxic nature. The raw nut contains a compound called saponin, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, it is essential to roast or fry the nuts before consumption to neutralize the toxins and bring out their unique flavor.

To roast candlenuts, they are typically spread out on a baking sheet and placed in an oven preheated to about 180 degrees Celsius. The nuts should be stirred occasionally to ensure even roasting, and they are considered ready when they turn a light golden brown. Once roasted, the nuts can be ground into a paste using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, depending on the desired texture.

Another common method of preparing candlenuts is frying them in oil until they become crispy. This technique adds an extra dimension of flavor and creates a delicious crunchy snack. Fried candlenuts can be eaten as they are or used as a topping for various dishes, adding a tasty and textural element to the overall meal.

In conclusion, candlenut holds great significance in Indonesian cuisine and traditional medicine. Originating from Southeast Asia, this versatile nut is grown predominantly in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Its nutty flavor and thickening properties make it a staple ingredient in many Indonesian dishes, while its oil is used for skincare and treating various ailments. Although handling the raw nut requires caution, roasting or frying candlenuts enhances their flavor and removes any toxins, making them safe and enjoyable to consume.