Summer aka durian season is here. Or actually not here, but in South-East Asia. It's often called the king of fruits there.
Only about a third of the big fruit is edible. About 30% of the calories come from fats. The seeds inside are toxic (unless cooked). It emits an overpowering aroma and odor, which most people would not describe as pleasant. It's armed with sharp thorns all over ('duri' means thorn). However many animals (including tigers) seem to love it.
Anyway, here are some great quotes about durian:
"Completely rotten, mushy onions".
- Chef Andrew Zimmern
"It smelled like you'd buried somebody holding a big wheel of Stilton in his arms, then dug him up a few weeks later... It's taste can only be described as… indescribable, something you will either love or despise. Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother."
- Ex-cook-who-tells-stories Anthony Bourdain
"Like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory".
- British novelist Anthony Burgess
"…it's odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock."
-Travel and food writer Richard Sterling
"A rich custard highly flavored with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavor that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine… It's neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you will feel inclined to stop… as producing a food of the most exquisite flavor it is unsurpassed."
- British naturalist Alfred Wallace in 1856
On first tasting it, I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction".
- French naturalist Henri Mouhot
"The most accurate description by far is that of a sewer full of rotting pineapples."
"The durian's smell is its outstanding feature - it is pungent, a bit like a clogged drain or rotten eggs."
- Financial Express
Be as it may, durians from different species can have significantly different aromas. The degree of ripeness has an effect on the flavor as well.
If you are not familiar with durian, try eating a piece when you can. It will be an unforgettable experience for sure. And you'll feel so grateful that there are ordinary fruits like bananas.
My favorite way to enjoy durian is to blend it in a smoothie. The following recipe has worked well for me:
- about 150 g durian (seeded)
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 1 red or pink grapefruit
- a few bananas (as many as you like and your blender fits).