Kluwek: A Spice that Contains Cyanide

Connoisseurs of typical Indonesian culinary delights will be familiar with the name kluwek as a cooking ingredient. Other names are keluak, kepayang, and pucung, which are famous for being able to make food black or brown with their distinctive taste. Apart from rawon and brongkos, the food that contains additional keluak in the recipe is pucung gabus in typical Betawi culinary delights.

Not only that, Makassar food such as konro soup and nasu kaloa also use this spice. Apart from being used as a kitchen spice, kluwek also has other benefits. But on the other hand, this food ingredient can also be poisonous. What are the benefits and other sides of this plant which is often called pucung? Come on, find out through the following review!

Get to know the origins of Kluwek

Kluwek is a type of plant seed that comes from the picung or pucung tree, which is a tropical plant that grows widely in the Indonesian archipelago. The tree itself is known as a multi-purpose tree, because almost all parts of this plant can be used. Starting from the leaves, fruit, seeds, stems, to the bark.

The picung or pucung plant belongs to the Flacourtiaceae family, the pangium genus, and the edule species. The English name is more commonly called pangium seeds. This plant is also known by various names in various regions. For example, pakem in Bali and Kalimantan, kluwak in Java, and kapencueng, kapecong, or simaung in Minangkabau, and pucung in Betawi and Sunda. In one fruit, there are generally 20-30 triangular-shaped seeds about 5 cm long. The seed coat is rough, woody, and has grooves. If the seed coat is cracked, the flesh will be white when it is fresh but will turn black if it has been stored for a long time. When it is black, this can be used as a seasoning for Indonesian cooking.

Can be poisonous because it contains cyanide

This kluwak or pucung plant is also known as the kepayang fruit tree. This fruit plant can actually be dangerous for humans. Kepayang seeds also contain gynocardin, a type of glycoside that can easily release toxic cyanide acid.

In low concentrations, if eaten or inhaled the aroma can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and even vomiting. This effect is often referred to as infatuation. Well… This is where the term “drunk in love” comes from. Meanwhile, if eaten at a higher concentration of around 50-60 mg, the cyanide acid can make us feel paralysis or paralysis and even death. To be safe, these kepayang or kluwek seeds must be washed thoroughly, soaked in water or boiled first. The soaking and boiling process can remove the cyanide acid content. This is because cyanide acid easily dissolves in water and evaporates in hot temperatures for a long time.

Kluwek for Food

Even though it can cause poisoning, as long as you don’t consume the kepayang fruit and seeds directly, it will be quite safe for consumption. Kepayang or keluak seeds are known to be useful as a cooking ingredient. The use of this kepayang seed spice in cooking, apart from producing a brownish color that tends to black, can also create a distinctive savory taste sensation.

Kluwek is also famous for being a food preservative, because it has good antimicrobial properties. The cyanide acid in the seeds turns out to be useful in inhibiting the growth of bacteria in fish and meat so that they can stay fresh for a long time. Fish and meat preserved with the seeds of this fruit can usually last up to six days. The manufacturing process is very simple by mixing kluwak seed flesh with salt.

Health Benefits of Kluwek

Apart from making the taste and aroma of food more delicious, kluwek also contains vitamins and minerals that the body needs. The nutrients contained in the seeds include iron, vitamin C, vitamin B1, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Even the vitamin C content is quite good, namely around 30 mg per 100 grams. And also the iron reaches 2 mg per 100 grams.

The vitamin C and iron content is very good as a natural antioxidant for the body. When the seeds are in the form of black kluwek, aka they have been fermented, the antioxidant activity will increase. This black spice also contains tannin, which is a kind of antimicrobial substance to help kill worms that nest in the digestive system.