I have finally conclusively identified the mysterious sak luk ingredient. My hunch proved to be correct.
This is what I’ve put up on the ‘Unfamiliar Ingredients’ page:
sak luk (Cantonese) – solved: 18.5.07
= candlenut/buah keras
= 石栗果 (Cantonese: sek6 leot6 gwo2/ Mandarin: shi2 li4 guo3)
= also known as 石古仔 [used in Patsie Cheong’s bilingual English/Chinese Malaysian recipe books]
My Cantonese relatives said the recipes looked very nonya and didn’t know the answer. My Peranakan relatives said it was a Cantonese word and didn’t know the answer. My koo koo had a strong feeling it was candlenut as she had heard the word before, and guessed from the context of the recipes as I did. Then I went to look at the Chinese translation of Shermay Lee’s ‘The New Mrs Lee’s Cookbook’, and found the Chinese characters for buah keras. Coincidentally, a woman also browsing at the shelf was talking on her handphone in Cantonese, so I cornered her and asked her how to pronounce the Chinese characters in Cantonese :). Double-checked the pronunciation at CantoDict.
Click on the category ‘candlenut (buah keras/sak luk) in the right-hand column to read the history of my sak luk trail :).