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Taste the World: A heady Malaysian sweet treat

Eat | Drink | Explore

Es Buah Buahan is a Malaysian iced fruit compote made with a mix of tropical fruits and nuts and spiced up with Irish whiskey, fragrant rosewater and strawberry schnapps.

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The refreshing dessert is made for sharing and is generally served in a large bowl with two or more spoons.

This recipe for Es Buah Buahan has been shared by Tek Tek Ensemble, an Australian multi-genre orchestra playing at the 2016 WOMADelaide (March 11 to 14) in Botanic Park.

Each of Tek Tek’s six members plays at least two instruments, performing music said to be inspired by “tropical jungles, late-night Balkan weddings, 1960s chic and shamanistic rituals”. The group (pictured below) will be participating in WOMADelaide’s Taste the World event, where musicians swap their instruments for cooking utensils and introduce festival-goers to the food of their homelands.


Es Buah Buahan

You will need gardening gloves, a machete, a blender, a mortar and pestle and an ice crusher for this recipe.



1 coconut
1 cup of water
1 tbsp of palm sugar


1 tbsp Irish whiskey (ideally from Donegal, but Jamesons brand is OK – whiskey not whisky!)
2 tbsp good-quality cacao
1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp palm sugar
1/3 cup of water
1 tsp rosewater

Fruit and nut mix

1 durian
6 macadamia nuts
8 strawberries
6 prickly pears
10 large ice cubes


2 tbsp strawberry schnapps 


To prepare the broth, drain coconut and bake in the middle of an 80ºC oven for 30 minutes. When cool, crack open coconut by slowly and definitively tapping it along its circumference with the back of a machete.

Pry off the meat from the inside of the coconut and place in blender with the water and palm sugar. Transfer mixture to a saucepan and simmer until the palm sugar has dissolved. Drain through sieve and leave to cool.

To make the sauce, place the cacao, water and palm sugar in a small saucepan and cook until palm sugar is dissolved. Add the sweetened condensed milk, whiskey and rosewater, and leave to cool.

To prepare the fruit and nut mixture, crack open durian, remove the flesh and deseed. Place the durian flesh on the bottom of a serving bowl. Using garden gloves, peel the prickly pears with a knife. Once peeled, cut the fruit into 0.5cm slices and place on top of durian.

Place macadamia nuts in the mortar and pestle and lightly crush until they break into pieces around the size of half a peanut. Layer on top of prickly pear.

Cut the green stalks from the top of the strawberries, cut fruit in half and layer on top of macadamia nuts.

Pour coconut broth over the fruit and nut layers.

Crush ice in ice crusher. Pour ice on top of broth and fruit and nut layers.

In a circular motion, pour the cacao sauce over the ice. Create another circular motion with the strawberry schnapps.

Serves 2

Join local chef and food identity Rosa Matto and selected WOMADelaide artists at Taste the World as they celebrate the delicious food and fascinating culturez of their home countries, all entwined with musical interludes and intimate personal anecdotes. More information about Taste the World can be found here.

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