Durian Seeds, Anyone?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

PhotobucketWhilst browsing David Lebovitz's blog, I chanced on his comment that he had eaten durian seeds before. He didn't say whether the durian seeds were good though, not that I would trust him even if he had. I mean, what would an ang moh know about durians? According to him, durians – the pulp or, if you want to be technical, the aril – taste like "a ripe, almost rotting coconut". See? Told you!

Durians don't taste anything like coconuts, rotting, green or whatever. All durian experts – like me, ahem! – know that durians taste like . . . well, durians. Nothing else in the world that comes close.

I totally respect David's expertise in cakes and such. He used to be a pastry chef after all. But when it comes to durians, step aside, David!

How is it that an American ang moh in Paris has eaten durian seeds whilst I'd never heard that they were edible? Indignant that I had been outdone by a 'barbarian' – – I felt I had to try some durian seeds myself, pronto.

I guess most people throw away durian seeds after eating the pulp. Is that a waste? Are durian seeds the biggest culinary secret waiting to be discovered? What do durian seeds taste like? I set out to find out.

PhotobucketAfter I made durian with sticky rice, I kept the seeds instead of chucking them away like I usually do. I put them in a small pot of gently simmering salted water and waited impatiently. The seeds were chopstick tender after 20 minutes but even before I tasted one, the signs weren't good. The seeds emitted a rather foul smell whilst they were on the stove. And when I fished one out of the pot, it was very slimy, somewhat like boiled ladies' fingers. I pried it apart with a pair of chopsticks and . . . 'Eeeew!' See the photo? There were sticky strands of what looked like glue or saliva. Gross! Not gross enough to me make abort the investigation though. I broke off a tiny, tiny bit of the seed and popped it in my mouth. I was prepared to spit it out immediately but it was ok. After a moment's hesitation, I chewed, cautiously . . . . There was only one way to describe it:



PhotobucketOk, not quite retching bad because it was actually quite bland. But it was bland in a bad way, with something that I couldn't quite put my finger on at first. What is that smell? After taking the photos, sniffing, tasting, and as I write this post, I now have some idea. The seeds tasted like sulphur compounds, rotten eggs and, to quote David Lebovitz's grandmama, 'the gas from a thousand asses'. It was all those things that durian haters say durians taste like. Honest to god, it smelt and tasted like someone farted . . . a silent one, know what I mean? Not the most horrible one possible but bad nonetheless. It also tasted like gum, the starchy, paste type that comes in small, colourful plastic tubs. And the texture was kind of gummy. Here I go again, eeeew!

I wish I could tell you that durian seeds are delicious but unfortunately that's not the case. They're bland yet vile at the same time. Chuck 'em where they belong: in the bin! That was what I did with the ones I cooked.

11 comments:

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

he must have ate chempedak seeds and remembered wrongly lah. hahahahahahahahahaha......

ckl said...

I'm sure I tasted them when I was a kid, don't remember it was that bad though. But then, like FF said, it could have been chempedak seeds? Afterall, it was very long ago...

Blur Ting said...

Jackfruit seeds are good. You should try.

KT said...

Chempedak and jackfruit seeds are quite nice. I sometimes boil jackfruit seeds when I have a lot and am not feeling lazy. Peeling the tight layer of tannin is a pain though. Pulasan seeds are also edible, raw, but are so-so.

CandyCane said...

Great posts, I don't do much cooking yet I find your blog so interesting. I might try the chai poh recipe, that looks simple enough.

Durian seeds: I've had deep fried durian seed slices before. As I didn't cook them, I was lucky enough to not smell the smells you smelt! I agree it tasted bland, but the texture was good. Someone like you could possibly do wonders with it - if you're up for another trial :)

KT said...

Thanks, CandyCane, I just might. I actually have a durian sitting in the kitchen right now, a 'wild' one from Pulau Ubin that's, um, perfuming the whole house.

Kelum Jayasinghe said...

Hi from Sri Lanka, I have some seeds, lets me make a curry out of them and will post the recipe here.

Anonymous said...

I ate durian seeds long long ago cooked by my Indian friend's dry goods shop cook and they were really nice. Maybe its's bec they smashed the seeds up 1st before boiling. I suspect they boiled in plain water until almost cooked then discarded the water washed the seeds and boiled them again with some durian pulp and sugar to make it sweet.

zwebmedia said...

Why throw away any seed. Just leave it floating in a glass of water for a few days, change the water every day, it will sprout, then plant it.

CosmicGorilla said...

I heard that they should be roasted like chestnuts. The next time I find a durian in Derby (a tait treat) I'm going to try this.

Gladys said...

I just saw a cooking show in Hong Kong and the Chef, 肥媽 used durian seeds to boil soup. Ingredients include drian shell, durian seed without flesh, walnuts and black chicken. It's supposed to be nutritious since black chicken and walnuts known to be nutritious in TCM. I don't like the durians in Hong Kong as they're from Philippines and Malaysia durians are too expensive here. Otherwise I would love to do an experiment. @laplosh

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