Durian – an illustrated guide (thankfully, not scratch ‘n’ sniff)

So – I’ve been on holiday for a couple of weeks looking after relatives from blighty, making our own entertainment in the unseasonably warm surrounds of the Central Coast.


Food wise, once we’d hit lovely new restaurant the Box on the Water at Ettalong a couple of times (great brekkie, great dinner, great coffee, though kiosk lunch slightly more variable – fish’n’chips basically ok, but my salad entirely devoid of any dressing) and gone the usual scenic café route (Point Café at Killcare a case in point) it was back to good ol’ home cooking. Laksa with home made laksa paste a la Christine Mansfield, pressure cooked rendang, Christmas in July (natch). And, on request from the Olds, a durian.


Now, I’m not unfamiliar with durian. It’s stinkiness goes before it, usually literally, albeit this particular example (from a grocer in Chatswood) was actually remarkably bland smelling – until opened – though there were a few sidelong looks on the train as it commuted its way back along the North Shore line.

But with there just being the two of us, and durian being so big, and Mr C being an anglo, well….let’s just say it’s not a regular on our fruity 2 a day roster. In fact, basically I’ve never actually opened one myself before.

They look menacing right? A weaponisable, medieval mace of a fruit. No idea where to start? Well allow me to assist!

Start with either hand protectors (oven gloves would be good) or hold it with a newspaper as we did. Those spines mean business!

Take a good look at the fruit. You’ll see that there are actually sections in the shell, kinda giant segment lines in between the spines. Follow these to the point of the fruit and insert a large, sharp knife there. Follow the line of one of the spines down – the skin is tough so use your muscle power. ???????????????????????????????

Repeat with the next segment line – and when you get to the end, stick the knife into your cut and twist. The segments will pop open – OK, so pop is maybe an exaggeration, you probably will need to get your finger tips in and pull out your first durian segment:


The custardy goodness revealed!


Keep going until you’ve sectioned the whole fruit – it doesn’t keep that well so you may as well cut it all up at once.

Next, use a spoon to scoop out the soft, yellowish flesh, which will contain a dark brown, inedible seed. Discard the seeds.???????????????????????????????

While you’re at it, discard the shell too – unless you need to inflict injury upon someone, in which case throwing would be an option. ???????????????????????????????You’ll be left with a plateful of unedifying looking custardy mush (here pictured still with the seeds in amongst):


According to the Olds, this one was a bit over ripe.

Next step: ignore the smell and tuck in! It’s going to be messy – this isn’t a first date food. Fingers – or cutlery if you have the patience. Enjoy the custard like texture, the faint savoury-ness of it. Think soft cooked scrambled eggs, crossed with….well actually I don’t know what. It’s its own thing. You love it, or hate it. It’s a Marmite fruit.


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