It’s that time of the year—durian season—where you may find that all-too-familiar scent wafting through the markets and even your corridor.
The king of fruits is certainly a point of contention, splitting almost everyone into two camps.
I personally love durian; I cannot wrap my head around why there are some people who absolutely detest it. But taste is subjective, and if there are people who dislike it, it only means more for me!
Speaking of taste, I caught wind of a certain hawker in Penang who recently whipped up a Musang King Durian Fried Rice.
It intrigued me as much as it mildly disgusted me, but my curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out for myself if this savoury concoction is as good as it’s claimed to be. Now, I know different durians offer quite varying flavour profiles, but for the sake of price and accessibility (i.e. most common), I substituted Musang King with Mao Shan Wang.
I also decided not to cook my own fried rice because I knew it wouldn’t turn out as nice as one that was stir-fried in a wok, for that authentic and irresistibly distinct wok hei. I went with a simple Seafood Fried Rice and requested for extra sambal on the side.
It definitely pained me to sacrifice a few golden nuggets of Mao Shan Wang durian for this experiment, let me tell you.
After having a few nibbles of the Mao Shan Wang durian, I was elated to find it exceptionally delicious; the flesh was creamy, the seed small, and most importantly, the taste was the finest balance of sweet and bitter.
I threw in about three tablespoons’ worth of durian flesh in with the already cooked Seafood Fried Rice in a pan, to re-heat everything together as well as to aid in combining the two together.
I then proceeded to add about a third of the packet of sambal just to help better infuse the chilli into the fried rice, although I was aware that the original recipe only served the sambal as a dipping sauce.
The result was a stickier serving of fried rice, which was an unexpected outcome.
The durian flesh became stickier whilst cooking and it came onto the plate like sticky rice. Nevertheless, I was excited to have my first bite.
The sweet, sticky aroma of durian greeted me as I brought the spoonful of fried rice to my mouth and I was internally bracing myself for a mini gag reflex—I’m not going to lie. However, the complete opposite happened.
I actually enjoyed this novel sweet-savoury creation and I even went back for a second spoonful, only this time, with more sambal.
The second spoonful was even better than the first, given that the sambal‘s acidity helped to cut through some of the durian’s creaminess. Also, the sambal was more savoury than spicy, so it really added another flavour element to the dish.
The final verdict? If you’re willing to forego a few seeds from your next durian haul, give this creation a go! One thing to note is that this dish can become cloying pretty quickly so if you want to make this at home, remember to start with a small portion of fried rice first.
Don’t knock this odd combination before you try it, so thank you, Penang, for giving us something new to try while we wait for travel restrictions to ease!
Date & Time: N.A.
Price: From S$65 (for whole durian fruit and Seafood Fried Rice)