Are you familiar with dishes made from the durian?

It is the durian season, a boon for those with a primaeval desire for the golden treasure that lies within the rounded, piercing chartreuse husk. The king of fruits is frequently savoured uncooked much like any other fruits. But it was long discovered that at the core of the ball of thorns were lobes of rich, dense flesh of buttery, custardy texture boasting underlying culinary potentials waiting to be unearthed. The durian was subject to a range of culinary tortures. It was macerated, left to ferment, dunk into scalding oil and more, and somewhere along the line, the durian yielded these absolutely must-try dishes and desserts below that will alter your perception of the fruit. 

Tempoyak  

The basic condiment requires only two ingredients: overripe durian flesh and salt, and let time jump start the rest of the natural fermentation process. Easy to make at home, as you can leave the mixture in a sealed container and let it ferment at room temperature for several days. Mildly sweet and slightly tangy, the end product is somewhat reminiscent of mayonnaise. If you would like to go one step further, try the sambal variant. 

Tempoyak Ikan Patin 

This mild curry made with the silver catfish is the most typical way of incorporating the umami properties of tempoyak into a full-flavoured dish. You will find other spices and ingredients intermingled in the yellowish gravy such as shallot, garlic, turmeric, galangal and chilli, which only serve to enhance the overall flavour profile and widen the spectrum. It is sweet, sour and spicy, leaving you salivating. 

Serawa Durian
(Photo: suzairhe on Instagram)

Bubur Durian or Serawa Durian 

Sweet, creamy and rich, this durian porridge (pictured above) might even trump the mouth-watering bubur cha-cha. Apart from coconut milk, in some recipes, this dessert makes use of other favourite Malaysian ingredients – pandan leaf and palm sugar.  It can be served warm or chilled and offers a divine alternative to the durian-laced cendol.  

Cekodok Durian 

Malaysia is blessed with fruity fritters such the ubiquitous pisang goreng (deep-fried banana) and cempedak goreng (a cousin of breadfruit and jackfruit deep fried with seeds intact). Cekodok durian can also be found at the plentiful roadside stalls where these fluffy amber-coloured balls consist of mashed durian and flour are freshly fried and hot out of the wok.  

Durian Desserts at Goodwood Park Hotel (Image credit: Goodwood Park Hotel)

Durian Cheese Tarts and Durian Cream Puffs 

An evolution of the baked cheese tart and the cream puff, baked durian cheese tarts and durian cream puffs are a socially acceptable form of durian consumption in places such as malls and public spaces where a blanket ban on the sale and transportation of the durian is customarily imposed. It is palpable why the tart has caught on – people genuinely enjoy having the durian in public.

Justin Ng
Digital Content Director, Kuala Lumpur
Often think of myself as a journalist and so I delve deeper into a range of topics. Talk to me about current affairs, watches, travel, drinks, new experiences and more importantly, the business, economics and dynamics behind it.