Sunday, April 08, 2007

"Food Thoughts"

Recently my blogger pal Gattina made a pasta dish using cuttlefish ink spaghetti. It is a very pretty dish, but Gattina had some thoughts – since squid ink neither enhances the taste, nor the colour of the spaghetti, why add it in in the first place? Yes, why? Perhaps for novelty? Or to make a more interesting dining experience?

It also set me thinking, though on a slightly different mode, how you ever wondered how some foods can be ‘offensive’ in their own ways? Yet we cannot resist their charm and simply adore them to bits. By ‘offensive’, I mean the smell in particular. Just think the widely-eaten cheese(especially blue cheese), or the Chou Dou Fu a.k.a ‘smelly beancurd’ commonly sold in Hongkong and Taiwan, and natto – fermented soyabeans, Japanese style

Of course, one man’s meat is another’s poison. Afterall, taste is a very personal thing, and also changes with time. Like myself, I used to hate cheese, but over these few years, I’ve learnt to appreciate them, though blue cheese is still one that I can’t stomach.

Before I digress further, I better come back to this post, dedicated to Weekend Herb Blogging. This week’s WHB is hosted by the talented Anh, who never fails to amaze me with her creations, especially those reflecting her Vietnamese heritage. Of course, don’t forget to check Kalyn’s Kitchen for more details on WHB.

Okay, here I present a really smelly fruit – durians. A tropical fruit with a thorny husk, durians are very popular in Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysian and Thailand. Used in a variety of desserts such as cakes, puddings and ice creams, durians represents a true ‘love-hate’ with many people. You would either love it or hate it, there is no ‘in-between’. This of course stems from the pungent odour from durians, which have been described in various colourful terms – garbage truck, unwashed sneakers, rotting fish etc. But if you can get pass the smell barrier, the flesh of durians is actually very rich, creamy and sweet (some varieties have a slight bitterness, which helps to enhance the taste).

I managed to buy some pre-packed(flesh removed and packed) durians from the neighbourhood supermarket, and hence I don’t have a picture of the whole fruit. For a look at the thorny fruit, click here.

A look at the seed:
Using the cream puff recipe from Florence, I made my first batch of puffs. Yes, so many years of baking and I’ve never attempted choux pastry. It was interesting to see these baking in the oven, because they amazingly puff to almost thrice the height, and yet they are hollow in the centre.

Instead of cream, I filled these with durian instead. I just removed the flesh from the seeds, pass them through a sieve to remove the fibres. I did not add any cream or milk, so it’s pure, unadultered, creamy durian in these light-as-air puffs.


Anh said...

Angie, thanks for supporting me :).

Now, I am drooling over your durian cream puff. I can eat at least 3-4 pieces of that. I never really liked durian until I was "forced" to try it in Singapore some years back. Eversince I am addicted to anything durian. If you can get over the smell, durian is truly the king of fruit!

Kalyn said...

Very, very interesting. What a creative use of the fruit. I'm quite curious about these. I've been to China, but never did see any. I heard they are not even allowed in some fancy places because of the smell. Yet many people say the taste is great, so I would love to taste it.

Precious Moments said...

Angie, you are wicked! I have a soft spot for this. Reminded me when I was young I can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Kalyn, this fruit is either a hate it or love it type. go for it if you have a chance. Personally, I don't find the Thai version yummy but for the rest, yum yum.

Gattina said...

Angie my pal, my mom is a "convert". Some years back she initiated eating durian (I think China doesn't grow this fruit, that's why ppl there couldn't acquire such a taste... I guess). Now her and her sis are the "queen" of this king, hehee. I still don't, I (that time) ate the seed though... my mom roasted it. I don't know if other ppl care about the seed (???)
You are a splendid baker, first try on choux pastry? Really beautiful! I haven't done it yet.
Another blogger Calli told me about what the fresh ink tastes like (better!), now am curious in using (first to find it) it in bread or sth. Do you have any luck in getting fresh ink... as I remember you wanted to make that black bread.

Ellena Mummy said...

Wow! Angie, this is one of my fav tea-time snacks..... aiyo..... yummy! :)

wenwenzz said...

Hi Angie, it must be nice! I'm craving for durian too!

Baking Fiend said...

Angie, u're making me crave for durian puffs now! thank goodness there's a shop selling these right in the nieghbourhood!

Anonymous said...

Very nice recipe! I tasted durian when I was in S'pore... I have to say that EXCEPT FOR THE SMELL, the fruit was good, sweet and creamy. But the smell was really hard to take.
All my friends from S'pore just love durian.

Brilynn said...

I've always wanted to try durian but I've been afraid of brining a whole one into my house because i've heard such horrible things about the smell!

Angie said...

Anh, I guess you were glad that someone 'forced' you to eat durian ya :p

Kalyn, China may not be a good place to find durians, Southeast asian would be better. I hope you have a chance to try it.

Edith, don't we just love them? :)

Gattina, thanks for your encouragement, always :).
I've never seaten durian seeds, only jackfruit seeds.
No, I haven't tried 'harvesting' my own ink from fresh squid, was very tempted to, but hubby said "you'll need to buy quite a bit to have a lot of ink" *oops*

Ellena, my fav too!

Wenwenzz, yes, if you like durians :)

Ida, lucky you :)

Lorenzo, glad you had the chance to try it. It's great isn't it?

Brilynn, don't worry, the smell will not linger for too long, as long as you've finished the fruit. But your neighbours probably will smell them from some miles away.

simcooks said...

Gosh! I'm Singaporean and I didn't know durian is a herb! Hehe thanks to WHB, now I know. I live in the Bay Area, CA. They only sell frozen durians here in the Asian supermarkets. Your durian puff looks gorgeous. Thanks for providing the link to the custard filling. I have been looking for one :)

sher said...

I've heard about durian for years, but never seen it for sale anyplace I live. I must try it someday. I bet I could find it in San Francisco. Your recipe is so creative--and the pictures are mouth watering. Love it!

^cherie said...

Angie, so wicked of you! I'm on diet now and this! *faint* Lol.

Durian puffs is one of my favs!! Hehe.. seems like i have a lot of favs hor?

Anyway, your puffs looked extremely delicious!! *drool* hopefully i can control the devil in me and not barge into the nearest emicakes. Heh.

Angie said...

Simcooks, thanks for your visit :) Actually durian is a fruit. Yup, I think in the west durians are sold in the frozen form. Hoep you'll enjoy Florence's custard recipe.

Sher, thanks for your kind words :) Hope you'll have luck finding this fruit!

Sherie, don't worry, I have many 'favourites' too, heee...

The Yummie dummieS said...

Oh my GAWD!!!!!! omg omg omg omg omg durian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marc said...

Hi, Angie,
I hate to bother you on your blog - I just found it and look forward to trying some of these things - they look great!

I see that Gattina also contributes. Once I found her blog, but now it's blocked and I so want to get back to see what she's cooking up. Any idea how I can get in touch with her? My email is and I'm a big food fan and am loving just finding all of your great blogs! I hope to add my own soon.