Homemade Durian Fest in Melbourne – with Mao Shan Wang
All those who clicked when you saw MSW (mao shan wang – loosely translated as cat mountain king), I may have just duped you into thinking MSW is available to buy in Melbourne. In fact they are not YET available here to my knowledge. If you know the right people you may be able to obtain some imported packaged varieties though *cough cough*. The MSW cultivar is particularly popular in Malaysia for its golden flesh, with desirable attributes as smooth, creamy texture with an intense bitter-sweet note.
Before I go on, I thought I would digress with an interesting excerpt from Wikipedia that illustrates the polarising reactions of either gross disgust or unchallenged appreciation:
British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in mid 1850’s described durian as: its “consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds … [with] occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect … the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop.”
Others have described it less appealingly with “its odor … best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away … the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia”
Now back on track with this Durian Fest, hosted by Li, cooked by Thanh, Bryan and Rebecca, and lazily tagged along by me.
Check out all the blood and sweat going into the durian fest, thanks guys for all the effort! P.S. I surely hope there wasn’t too much of the bodily liquids (i.e. blood and sweat) actually in the food, mind you. If you look closely we prepared much of the durian with “forks” and scissors – how civilised for such an exotic fruit.
Fish head curry – absolutely gorgeous curry! A little something to start the appetite.
What is this? Fish curry, rice and durian? You didn’t think we had fish curry without durian did you? It actually works quite well together. You should try it.
Durian puffs – with choux pastry and durian custard filling. This was one of the failed recipes of the night – custard too coarse, and choux pastry not light enough.
Durian cheese cake paired with durian ice cream was a success. Intensely rich but damn right good with durian, durian and more durian.
This would be my all time favourite – durian on glutinous rice with a dash of coconut cream. Apparently you can microwave-cook glutinous rice – might try that next time.
At the end of the night everyone was feeling way too full and too bashful to be photographed. We did go for a walk along the Yarra River in hope of aiding digestion. Stomachs felt a little better, but poor Thanh came back sucked dry by blood-sucking mosquitoes. I wonder if mosquitoes can smell durian?
Many thanks to Li for providing us imports of MSW, and allowing us to host the dinner her house. And of course thanks to the Chefs of the night! Hopefully MSW might be available in Australia soon!