Monday, 4 August 2014

Durian Delicacies : Durian Flower and Durian Soup

Durian is popularly known in Asia as 'King of All Fruits'. It does lived up to its name due to its pungent smell and thorny skins. In fact, in Malay durian means 'thorny'. There are various type of durian in Malaysia, from the infamous Musang King/Raja Kunyit (also known as Cat Mountain King), Red Prawn (D175), D24, Black Thorn and Durian Kampung (Village Durian). The priciest among the durians? I'd say it is either Black Thorn and Musang King as the price range is between RM20 - RM30/kg. An average durian fruit is weighted around 1.5-2kg per fruit, so be ready to fork out that amount for that special treat!

Dad proudly show-off his durian

Look at that yummers! For those who never tried it, oh my I have to warn you, not many can survived the pungent smell. Mostly Asian have no problems in digesting and savouring the fruit but based on experience, some Westerner may enjoy the taste by closing their nose (some say it smells like death, haha). So, it is only meant for people with exquisite taste (not all Asian are into durian though).

Personally, I loved Durian Kampung (Village Durian), as I like the surprises it brings. If you are lucky you score a sweet, soft flesh and creamy durian. But in the end, it all depends on your preferences as some like it bitter, sweet, creamy, fleshy, less sweet etc. 

Both my grandparents and parents own a small durian farm back in Kuching (location). So, whenever I'm back in town during the durian season, it is something that I look forward for. My mum even stored the durian flesh in  frozen refrigerator to retain the original taste (taste like ice-cream) especially the sweet & creamy type. This is to ensure all-year round supply of tasty durian for the families. The not-so-tasty batch will be stored in a jar, to be fermented into something that we called tempoyak. 

Fermentation of tempoyak will produce a sourly-version of durian flesh which often served uncooked together with sliced chilies as a side dish. However, in Borneo tempoyak is usually stir-fry with anchovies and sliced chilies (I'm salivating while writing this). The longer the tempoyak kept in the jar (room temperature) the more sourly it gets, unless it was kept refrigerated. 

For me, I'm a big fan of durian soup (Sup Tempoyak). It is a type of dish that I would make to remind me of home. Durian soup is often cooked together with chicken (thigh), fish (fish head/silver catfish) or pork (pork bone/ribs). The end result would be something made in heaven savory & sour, best served with rice. How to make durian soup? It is quite simple, pound 2 lemongrass stalk, 2 clove of garlic and ginger. Saute everything until fragrant, toss in the meat and continue stir-frying it until the meat is half-cooked. Pour in one bowl of water, put in 2-3 tbspn of tempoyak and simmer it until the meat is thoroughly cooked. 

Durian Soup (Sup Tempoyak)

Another thing to lookout for is durian flower. While durian flesh can be stored in frozen refrigerator for a long time, durian flower is a very rare treat. It is only available during flowering season and quite difficult to retain the freshness after refrigerate. Picking up the flower also can be a fun activity with family as it process of 'pollen cleansing' can be tedious. 

Durian flowering season

Durian flower, after cleaning

You can refer the step-by-step process to clean the flower from the pollen in this blog.

Due to its rarity and tedious cleaning process, people are selling it off as much as RM2-RM4 for a small plastic bag (my mum selling cleaned flower for RM2/bag). Don't worry though, the flower does not smell anything like the fruit, in fact a fresh durian flower smell a fairly sweet. Stir-fry with chilies and belacan (shrimp paste), makes a perfect companion to a hot plate of plain rice.

Durian Flower with Belacan (Shrimp Paste)

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