Mon thong, which means “golden pillow” in Thai, is Thailand’s most famous and important variety of durian.
Although it is readily available throughout the year, the best season is between April and June.
Unlike other fruit, “the juicier the better” doesn’t apply to durians.
On the contrary, the drier the flesh, the tastier it is.
To pick a durian, first take a look at its stalk.
If the stalk has turned a brownish yellow, the flesh inside the fruit may already be too old and have an unwelcome bitter taste.
For the same reason, the fruit’s spiky husk should not be too dark in color.
When you lightly shake or pat the fruit with a knife, listen closely for an echoing or rolling sound from the inside.
That will mean the flesh is perfectly ripe and ready to be eaten.
Another obvious trick is to smell different durians and choose the one with the most pleasantly pungent scent.
Immature fruit will still carry a whiff of freshly cut grass, while bad ones give off an odor of alcohol.
Durians have a high nutritional value; they are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.
However, people with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity or irregular heartbeat should be aware of the high calorie and potassium content of the fruit.
Traditional Chinese medicine says people should not eat durians and drink alcohol together, or else the body will become “too heaty”.
However, eating mangosteens, regarded as the coolest fruit, can offset the heat of durians.
Xyvan Mui, from Sweetish by Honeymoon Dessert in Yuen Long’s Yoho Mall, has come up with a dessert recipe combining the golden pillow durian with cream cheese, mozzarella cheese and custard as the topping for a pizza.
50g durian flesh, with pits removed1 plain pizza crust11g whipping cream1.25g custard powder22.5g cream cheese30g mozzarella cheese4.5g sugar45g fresh milk0.75g butterA pinch of salt
1. Add custard powder, 3g of sugar and whipping cream smoothly to the fresh milk and cook the white mixture for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.2. Blend the cream cheese, 1.5g of sugar and butter into a creamy mixture with the help of an egg whisk.3. Mix the durian flesh, white mixture from step 2 and creamy mixture from step 3 well into a thick and smooth durian mud. Spread it evenly onto the pizza crust. Sprinkle some salt.4. Top the pizza with shredded mozzarella cheese (keep a small fraction of it for step 5). Bake at 200 degrees C for 7 minutes until heated through.5. Spread the remaining mozzarella cheese over the topping, and use a kitchen torch to make the top golden.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 21.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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