Week 20: Durian, the King of (Stinky) Fruits

The durian. I had heard so many odd things about this odd looking, infamous fruit. It smells so bad (and like natural gas) that it’s not allowed on public transportation in Singapore and has caused hospitals to evacuate. But at the same time, it’s supposed to taste good – how is that supposed to work?

Lucky for me, my awesome sister spent a small fortune on a giant durian at Berkeley Bowl and brought it up to my house.

I hacked it open (cut it down the middle and pull the 2 halves apart) to find an almost fish-shaped light yellow flesh, which looked strangely like artichoke hearts when scooped out.

It was sweet and had a pretty unique taste, with almost a hint of coconut. The texture was fairly smooth and creamy, not unlike an avocado. And it was delicious…for a while. We came back to it a few hours later and it smelled a little funny and tasted a little funny. What is up with this weird fruit?!

So, moral of the story: durian tastes good, but not for long so don’t buy a big one. Cut it up and eat it fast!

It was great cooked with some coconut milk – it became a thick, creamy, sweet pudding. Serve immediately, of course.

Durian Coconut Pudding

  • 1 1/3 C durian
  • 1 15-oz. can coconut milk
  • Sugar to taste

Combine durian and coconut milk in small saucepan over low heat. You can add more durian if you want, just make sure it is covered by the milk.

Heat to a slow simmer, stirring frequently. Cook until it has thickened to a paste and add sugar to taste (you may have to add more later if you don’t eat it right away). If you want a smooth texture, blend with a stick blender or transfer to a blender or food processor. Serve immediately.

Note: the seeds are toxic if not cooked properly. To be safe, we removed them before eating.

18 Comments on Week 20: Durian, the King of (Stinky) Fruits

  1. Angela
    May 16, 2010 at 8:13 am (11 years ago)

    I’ve been hearing interesting things about Durian…but I still think I’m too scared to try some! I don’t think I’d be able to get past that smell.
    I think it’s awesome that you tried it though!

    • Stephanie
      May 16, 2010 at 8:23 am (11 years ago)

      I thought it smelled fine at first – it was a distinctive smell, but not a bad one. It just got worse with time, so you have to have a game plan about what you’re going to do with it right away. Don’t be scared!

    • Danica
      May 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm (11 years ago)

      You should do Durian Week! 😉
      oohhhh my god it smelled and tasted so good to me when we first opened it. I have to google what it is that makes it get stinkier as it goes. I actually thought it smelled fine, just strong, but I was already into the smell. All our family members were like “WTF IS THAT HORRIBLE THING” because their first encounter was after the smell started!

      If you want to avoid the smell but still explore durian, there are durian candies, and restaurants that sell durian milkshakes or durian juice. I’ve had all of those and they are great!

  2. Monet
    May 16, 2010 at 10:21 am (11 years ago)

    This is amazing! Your blog is becoming the highlight of my day. I can’t wait to see what other recipes/ingredients you come up with!

    • Stephanie
      May 16, 2010 at 10:30 am (11 years ago)

      Thank you Monet! Your comment just made my day! It especially means a lot because I enjoy your blog too.

      Let me know if you ever have any ideas or requests for certain ingredients or anything!

    • Danica
      May 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm (11 years ago)

      Is she not the bomb? I am especially amazed by how often Steph manages to post. Sure the writing and the pictures are awesome, but the frequency!! I never have managed to blog regularly yet, so that’s what impresses me 🙂

  3. The Housewife
    May 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm (11 years ago)

    I kinda like Durian! I first had it at a friend’s place in Bangkok and I’ve been hooked to thai fruits since them. I do like the way you’ve served it!

  4. Cindy
    May 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm (11 years ago)

    I jumped on Wikipedia and read the article, but it was a lot like walking through pudding: slow going and afterward I felt kinda dirty.

    • Danica
      May 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm (11 years ago)

      that’s how I always feel after reading wikipedia!

  5. Chris @ bonviveur
    May 16, 2010 at 7:47 pm (11 years ago)

    Durian is a fruit of extremes, people either love it or hate it with very little middle ground. I personally love durians, especially fresh from the shells when it is still slightly warm inside. The flesh soft, sweet almost custard like.

    I still have fond memories of my family having durian feasts, back in Malaysia. We would have easily gone through 6 – 8 of those large fruits in one sitting.

    They tend not to keep well if left on its own. If you do want to store any leftover durians, it’s best to place them in a tightly sealed jar, in a fridge. Although inevitably some smell will leak out. If that happens, place a lump of charcoal or carbon in the fridge to help absorb it.

  6. Emily
    May 16, 2010 at 11:46 pm (11 years ago)

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m impressed with the way you hacked open the durian – nice & clean slit! I’m too scared to handle a whole durian by myself LOL. If I ever have leftover durian, I would freeze them as they would taste like ice cream after that. 🙂

    I think your pudding looks and sounds amazing, maybe I get my mum to make it the next time I visit her. 😛

    • Danica
      May 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm (11 years ago)

      My coworker Veronica from Penang, who likes to spend her vacations sitting around on durian farms eating them when they fall, looked at the pictures and told me that THEY have a little wooden triangular thing that you stick in the bottom, and twist, and it cracks the whole thing into its four wedges just like that! I want one of those, it sounds frigmazing.

  7. TaleTellerin
    May 17, 2010 at 10:55 am (11 years ago)

    I had durian once at a friend’s place and yes, the smell is not pleasant at all, though also not so bad. But the taste really is unique.

  8. Kathy
    May 19, 2010 at 3:12 am (11 years ago)

    your pudding looks and sounds amazing. I’ll definitely try this at home.

  9. tasteofbeirut
    May 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm (11 years ago)

    I have many Asian markets near my house and I have seen Durian there almost on an ongoing basis; never dared to even come close to that thing! I admire you for cutting it open so bravely and even eating it and creating a recipe for it! Bravo!

  10. Megan
    June 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm (11 years ago)

    Very nice and informative article.

  11. Kristen
    July 6, 2010 at 12:43 am (11 years ago)

    I actually thought it smelled fine, just strong, but I was already into the smell. All our family members were like “WTF IS THAT HORRIBLE THING” because their first encounter was after the smell started!


1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Week 20: Durian, the King of (Stinky) Fruits

  1. […] we tried over the past year. These were some of my favorites, although I’ll never forget the oddly smelly durian, pig’s feet, or the tiny mini limequats. It was fun to pick up random things I’d never […]

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