Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sticky Rice With Wild Durians (Dalit)

wild durian rice
Sticky rice with wild jungle durians, the dalit

Every corner I turned yesterday, I saw durians. Less than a minute away is Taman Mesra, and the new mom-and-pop grocery store called Mun Cheong (next to LuMen Bookstore--I refuse to spell that 'lumen') sells durians (RM6/kg). The coffee shop next to it and the one behind too. A friend had just given us 3 durians on Sunday ("From my sister's fruit orchard in Kota Belud") and 2 are still sitting on my patio (durians are not fruits you keep inside the house) but I had to get the durians from the small coffee shop behind Mun Cheong, because last year they had some excellent durians. So I went there, thinking of a story to tell my Hub so he wouldn't know I've bought durians again (Eat them before he comes home! Tell him I found them outside our house! Tell him we have a durian tree we didn't discover until now!), when a car stopped and out jumped J, who also loves the durians from that shop (The durians are from the shop keeper's durian farm in Papar. ). I felt assured that I wasn't splurging; buying durians is a necessity. I bought a large 2 kg fruit for RM16/US$4.30 (his durians are RM8/US$2.10/kg for large fruits and RM7/US$1.90/kg for smaller fruits) and am surprised because for the same size, a Thai hybrid durian is about 3 kg. It confirms my belief that even though Thai hybrid durians are fleshy, most of the weight is in the thick shells.

I got home just as Hub was pulling into the garage and guess what? He was holding two durians, given by another friend whose friend has a durian farm too. Everyone has a durian farm except us, but we are lucky that we have generous friends. We opened my durian. It was gorgeous. It was the thin-shelled, spiky-thorned, white-fleshed original Malaysian durian that hadn't been modified by Thai botanists. The flesh was not too thick or thin (but can be thicker) but the flavor was intense. The flesh wasn't wet and there was no hard layer next to the skin. But wait. I tasted bitterness behind the sweetness. I stopped. I turned to the durians from Sunday and the ones Hub had brought home and devoured those. I don't like bitter durians, unlike most durian lovers. If I want bitter, I can eat bittergourd.

The wondrous thing about durians is that each fruit, even if it's from the same tree, can taste slightly different, each with a different blend of flavors and intensity. It is truly an amazing fruit, did I tell you that already? But if you've tried durians and hate them, chances are you ate Thai durians, which Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans (united about one thing for a change) dislike. Thai durians are bred for export and grown to reduce their flavor and increase the thickness of their flesh (making Thai durians taste like sweet potatoes) and these two characteristics of Thai durians are worsened by the picking of the unripe fruit (genetically modified to have shorter, blunt thorns and short trees) unlike Malaysia durians which are allowed to ripen and drop. Malaysian durians, however, are genetically improved to have thick flesh without loosing their flavor, so that's something we've done right. Read one of my impassioned posts on durians here. Now that I've made my preference clear, let's move on.

So I have these durians and not enough stomach capacity. I have already made durian fresh cream cakes last weekend. A West Malaysian told me once that he eats his durian with plain white rice. In the Indochinese peninsula, durian is eaten with sticky rice, coconut cream and gula melaka. Since durians, gula melaka and coconut cream are my top favorite food, I spent an hour searching for the right recipe . Most of the recipes tell you to soak the rice for hours, steam it without coconut milk, and make a sauce with the gula melaka, blended durian flesh (ruining the durian) and coconut milk . I am not one to wait 3 hours for my rice to soak, and I prefer to have my rice with coconut flavor (but not too oily, so I used the second squeeze of the coconut) and taste the texture of my durian, so I didn't blend the flesh or cook them into a sauce. As for the salt, the Thais have a habit of salting their desserts very heavily and I think that's a strange and harmful habit. First of all, the sweetness is confused with the saltiness (if you've been to Thailand, you'll know that they don't add salt like we do, in a trace, they add enough to make their desserts salty. Yes, today I'm not bashing Singapore.). Second, the heavy addition of salt means you need more sugar to taste any sweetness. There's this disease called dia-be-tes.

Just as I was about to publish post, Hub walked in, holding two big plastic bags of wild durians, called dalit. He was in Papar this morning, and he reported that the town if filled with durians. I made a quick switch of the dessert, chucked out most of my white durian and replaced them with the colorful wild durians.

Here are the 3 types of wild durians from Papar: yellow, orange and reddish-orange. The yellow was great, thick-fleshed, creamy and flavorful, the orange was too wet, thin-fleshed and had a strong alcoholic flavor (which many durians have) but the orangy-red ones were my favorite: full, intense wild durian flavor (which puts the regular durians to shame) and so creamy that it was waxy. But it's not just the intense flavor or creaminess that makes wild durians so heavenly.If you sniff the shell of an unopened wild durian, it smells like regular durians. But when you taste it, the wild durian is infinitely better, with blended layers of different flavors that can taste like a combination of roasted peanut butter, vanilla, candy floss and many other flavors that I am at a loss to describe.

wild durians1
I read a comment somewhere that durians do not look like fruits because because they look 'organic'. These wild durians sure look like kidneys.

Take a look at the most exotic durian I've ever tasted, the red durian.

So what do I think of sticky rice with durian? It was delicious, heavenly, unbelievable. Maybe because the wild durian flavor was so strong, the gula melaka and the coconut cream didn't mask the flavor of the durians but instead the cream blended with the rice and the durians while the gula melaka gave extra sweetness to the dessert. Each of the wild durians had its own special flavor. I felt so privileged eating them. Heaven. But the dessert also made me feel heady, hot, like I've been drugged or intoxicated, and very full. I think I can omit the rice next time and just add the coconut milk and sugar syrup. And I think it's time to cool off durians. Until this weekend that is.

Sticky Rice With Wild Durians
Durian flesh (mashed if like), chilled
1 cup uncooked glutinous rice
1 1/4 cup thin coconut milk*
1 cup thick coconut milk*
1/3 cup gula melaka syrup
a good pinch of salt

* Add 1 cup room temp water to 400 g (from 1 coconut) shaved coconut. Massage the coconut and squeeze the milk out, with a sieve over the container. You will get more than 1 cup. Chill this in the fridge. Add 1 1/2 cups water to the squeezed coconut, massage again to release the milk, squeeze over a sieve into a container.

1. Wash the rice, place into a steaming plate and sprinkle a pinch of salt over. Add 1 1/4 cups (or 1 cup if you like your rice with a bite) of the second squeeze of coconut milk to the rice and steam at high heat for about 8 minutes. Remove, fluff and let cool.

2. To serve, scoop 2-3 spoonsful of the rice into a small bowl. top with lots of durian flesh, pour some sugar syrup over and finally a generous amount of the thick coconut milk over. Oh. My. Goodness.


Sonia said...

wah, this rice made me drooling, just realized I have not had durian with rice for age, must try in one day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing...Btwn, where is Taman Mesra? Not too familiar with the Tamans in KK. Any prominent landmarks?

ian said...

hey terri.. loving all the posts again... always refreshing and interesting to read.. always leave me salivating so i try not to visit on an empty stomache!!

Kim said...

Terry, you are killing me with the durians post. I LOVE durians and canot get the good ones here in Florida (we get frozen Thai ones - yikes!)Thank you for your post and commentary. Enjoyed them everyday.

Simply June said...

Mmmm...I miss my Durians!! These wild durians look so good!!

Jasmine said...

I love your post! I love durians! That orange! That red! What gorgeous colours and photographs. Agree completely about Thai durians :P

I've never visited Sabah but your post on Donggongon Tamu made me want to go there immediately. Please keep writing in that original voice of yours. It makes me laugh and wish I was back in Malaysia.

Mina said...

The original wild durian looks so beautiful and colourful. New breeds of durians are very different. The thorns are short and thick and the flesh is yellowish white. You are very lucky to have wild durians while the rest of us can only have the cultivated durians.Very interesting posts!

Bunnies said...


Wow!! Such things are time bomb! Hehehe... I see that you do indulge in very bad food... coconut milk and durian are 100x more lethal and poisonous to your body than any thai salt and sugar laden dessert...

zurin said...

i'm up for adoption. Will you adopt me. Please. :)

not only the durians but the colours are making me weak at the knees.

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri
i want to bake your salmon-bacon quiche recipe but the temperature of the oven is not stated. Pls help and thk you very much.

terri@adailyobsession said...

sonia: i stil prefer durian au natural, no rice.

anon: oh dear, it may be called Taman BPL. i'll drive by and check it out.

ian: tt's the idea :)

kim: frozen thai durians. yes, yikes! thnks for ur kind words, keep in touch:)

simplyjune: just get hubby to get some from paper on his way down!

jasmine: thank u, i will :))

mina: yes, sabahans are truly the most blessed ppl in malaysia, n it's not just the durians.

bunnies: durians are very nutritious fruits, packing 4 times as much potassium as bananas, and its nutritional value outstrips many many other fruits, according to nutritionists. only thing is they are high in carbs, but so what? just exercise more... about the salt n sugar, i think it's more harmful the thai way bc they overload their food with sugar n salt ALL the time. agree with u on coconut milk tho, but as in anything, moderation is the key.

zurin: come, come and i'll adopt u as my durian kaki.

anon: ha, u are not reading the recipe carefully. step 1 says oven at 200 C. that means 200 degrees celsius. all the way through.

terri@adailyobsession said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TeaLady said...

Such an interesting looking fruit, Terri. Wonder if they are available ANYWHERE in the Deep South USA??

Anonymous said...

This 'fruit' looks like turds. I can't imagine how good it can be but there's no way I'll eat it!

Rei said...

I read the papers in SG, it says that there is this species of durian with red flesh, only found in Sabah. Is that the one in your last pic, lower right fruit?

Foodies Queen said...

Red Durian? I have never seen anything like this before.

gerrie said...

O.M.G!!!! I gained a pound per paragraph, and I am sure the flavour when it hits the taste buds is worth every pound!

p/s love the "organic kidneys"....LOL!

Tigg3r said...

Gosh! the durian sure looks yummy! Drooling....

aifuah said...

aunty terri,
your recipe reminds me of de way the thai eats their mango with glutinous rice! But yours look absolutely yummy, must try! Just a question, how to make de gula malaka liquid?

David Jr said...

Wow, I really love the picture with the 3 durian colours. Mind if I ask where you got them from? Oh by the way, I visited you from your daughters blog :)

Malaysia Asia

terri@adailyobsession said...

tealady: now that's the question.u must make a trip out here one day!

anon: it does sort of looks like turds, wrong color

rei: yes! hm. maybe i shd freeze some for u..

foodies queen: tt's bc u're not in sabah :D

gerrie: it is awesome! get some!

tiggr: they are everywhere now

aifuah: hi! you crush the gula melaka and boil some water (not too much), add the gula and stir until it's melted. let it boil to the consistency you want. don't make it too thick or it'll harden upon cooling. make it like the consistency of light maple syrup.

david: do u mean the durians or the photo? my hub bought the durians from papar, a small town soth of kk, and i took the photos :) interesting posts on you blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry, my name is Raul from Mexico, the picture of your yellow, orange& red Durian look wonderfull!
I only have some small trees of regular Durian,
Would you sell me some seeds through mail some
Seeds of wild durian?
best regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry, my name is Raul from Mexico, the picture of your yellow, orange& red Durian look wonderfull!
I only have some small trees of regular Durian,
Would you sell me some seeds through mail some
Seeds of wild durian?
best regards

Lim said...

Hi Terry! I am from Singapore. Can you sell me the wild durian seeds too? My email: arhlm3@gmail.com. Thanks

Lim said...

Hi Terri! Lim again. You took very beautiful pictures of the wild durians.Can you send me some of your best pictures. I am building a durian photos gallery at Durianon.My email: arhlm3@gmail.com. Thanks. Best Regards

terri@adailyobsession said...

lim: you are welcome to grab the photos off my blog:)

yokahu said...

Looking forward to buy some durian seeds


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