Raising a Stink

Durian, the so-called “king of fruits,” is quite possibly the single most polarizing food known to man. The aroma is so distinctive that you’d identify it in a second, even on your first encounter. I’ll never forget my first time in Hawaii when I spotted one of those prickly, thorn-covered shells. Sussing out the smallest one in the pile, I bagged my prize and escorted it back to my room. Surely, the rumors were overblown; this didn’t seem too bad! There was a light funk but nothing unmanageable. I stashed it in the mini fridge and went about my day.

Later that evening, something was amiss. Had an animal gotten in and died in the walls? Had someone forgotten to take out the trash, full of dirty diapers, for a week? To my horror, as I approached my door, the smell got stronger, and stronger…

Yes, it was the durian.

What does durian taste like?

Some people love that ripe pungency but to me, it’s an obstacle to get through. My best explanation is to compare it to a mixture of rotting onions, moldy cheese, sweaty gym socks, and a porta potty at the end of a music festival. Pungent and assertive, it’s the reason why durian is banned from many public spaces in Southeast Asia.

The flavor of durian is considerably more mild, with subtly sweet notes that add a final note of confusion on the back end. Some call the texture custard-y because it’s creamy and rich, but the high fat content would put the average pudding to shame. The unctuousness makes it impossible for me to eat more than a few bites straight.

How can you cook with durian?

Durian will never be my favorite food. However, once I stopped trying to eat it like a dessert or a sweet snack as it is typically recommended, I started I see the appeal. Leveraging the allium flavor to lend greater depth to recipes where raw onion would be far too harsh, my first big breakthrough happened when I blended it into a bright, punchy pesto sauce.

Pureed to a silky smooth consistency, this also helps alleviate any textural challenges. Durian pesto pasta might sound a bit crazy, and maybe it is, but it’s also delicious.

My greatest success came in the form of crispy durian rangoons. Chopped enoki mushrooms lend the filling a chewy seafood-like texture to take the place of crab meat, while durian brings in that creamy, gooey decadence typically conveyed by cream cheese. This killer app could help ease durian-haters back into the fold. No one can resist a deep-fried wonton, especially with a beer or two.

Fresh durian is not cheap, and a little bit goes a long way, so I’d suggest blending the whole thing and freezing it in ice cube trays for future use. That way you can pop out a cube or two whenever you’d like, which will prevent spoilage and cut down on that oppressive aroma. It only gets more intense as the fruit sits out at room temperature. Consider yourself warned!

Try incorporating durian puree into a wide variety of dishes, such as:

Don’t be afraid to play around with it! Love it or hate it, you’ll never forget your first durian.

Yield: Makes 2 - 4 Servings

Durian Pesto Pasta

Durian Pesto Pasta

Pureed durian adds incredible depth of flavor to this bright, punchy pesto sauce. Toss it with pasta and fresh vegetables for an instant savory side dish

Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

Durian Pesto:

  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Durian Puree
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 - 4 Tablespoons Water, As Needed

To Assemble:

  • 8 Ounces Spiral Pasta, Cooked al Dente
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas, Thawed
  • 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, Halved

Instructions

  1. To make the pesto, combine the garlic, basil, parsley, durian, and lemon juice in your food processor or blender. Pulse to combine and break down the herbs. Pause to scrape down the sides of the canister with your spatula as needed to keep everything incorporated.
  2. With the motor running, slowly stream in the oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle in a little bit of water until it reaches your desired consistency.
  3. To assemble, place the cooked pasta, peas, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the pesto and toss until thoroughly coated. Serve warm, or chill for up to 24 hours to enjoy cold.

Recommended Products

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experience with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 222Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 287mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

Yield: Makes 15 - 20 Rangoons

Durian Rangoons

Durian Rangoons

Who needs crabs when you can have plants? Chopped enoki mushrooms lend the filling a chewy seafood-like texture to take the place of crab meat, while durian brings in that creamy, gooey decadence typically conveyed by cream cheese.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Durian Puree
  • 1 Scallion, Thinly Sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Enoki Mushrooms, Cut into 1 Cm Lengths
  • 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 15 - 20 Square Wonton Wrappers
  • Neutral Oil, to Fry

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the durian, scallion, mushrooms, soy sauce, ginger, salt, and pepper.
  2. Work with one wonton wrapper at a time and keep the rest covered with a lightly moistened paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Place 1 - 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center, than use dampened fingers to spread water around the edges. Bring the corners up and press the sides together to seal. Repeat with the remaining components.
  3. Set a large pot with high sides over medium heat. Add at least 2 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees. Gently lower 3 - 4 rangoons into the oil at a time with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, until golden brown all over.
  4. Remove the rangoons and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining wontons and serve hot.

Notes

If you'd like to make spicy rangoons, add 1 - 3 teaspoons sriracha to the filling.

Recommended Products

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experience with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 99mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

5 thoughts on “Raising a Stink

  1. Durian is so rich and warming. You can can only eat a little bit at a time. You get used to smell if you live in Asia but it is not acceptable to get into a taxi that a driver is currently eating a fresh durian. Of course there is always a story behind this one. (LOL) Take Care and love all your ideas to use it in.

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