Nutrition 101: Durian, King of Fruit (+ 4 recipes!)
Posted Sep 26 2012 2:30am
Aloha people, meet my newest, latest addiction obsession;
Durian is known as the ‘King of Fruits‘ and is native to South East Asia. The Durian is infamous for its strong and unique smell, which penetrates even its thick, thorny husk. Interestingly enough everyone would describe the smell of the Durian slightly different, ranging from rotten onion or moldy gym socks to almonds, vanilla, custard or banana. Opening of the fruit is prohibited in public places in many Asian countries! With Durian it’s either you love it or you hate it, but I found most people start appreciating the smell and taste with increased exposure. In Bali, I wasn’t so fond of Durian and didn’t get the obsession some people have with it. I certainly do now!
Inside the freaky, pre-historic looking shell you will find beautiful yellow, soft, fleshy meat. Durian is high in protein and beautifying fats and is a well-known, powerful aphrodisiac. Durian is exceptionally high in tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, the feel good chemical. Tryptophan makes us feel happy, warm and relaxed. Tryptophan also increases melatonin production, which is necessary for good, deep sleep.
Durian is also high in B-vitamins and sulfur. Sulfur is a mineral that is touted for its cleansing and beautifying properties, and is characterized in nature by its strong smell. Sulfur is the main component of MSM, an organic compound found in oceans and rainwater, also available in a dried powder supplement. Sulfur makes for a radiant complexion and detoxifies and nourishes the cells. It also helps with keeping the joints flexible so its great for post workout recovery. Sulfur helps produce amino acids in the body that are necessary for strong hair and nails and healthy skin (collagen and keratin). Because sulfur is so strong tasting and smelling and very heat sensitive (gets destroyed with cooking), many people are deficient in this essential mineral. Durian is a fun way to sneak more sulfur into your diet! (MSM powder is also a great way).
Durian is certainly one of the most exotic foods on the planet and reveled by many raw foodies. I find the Durian intriguing, magnificent and beautiful and a true delicacy due to its creamy texture. There is a certain magic in eating strange, exotic foods that is hard to describe. I’d say Durian is something everyone must try at least once in their life, but if you’re not hooked straight away keep trying until something ‘clicks’ and this funky fruit will resonate with you on all levels.
Last week I finally made the decision to go out and buy my very first Durian, after having tried a few bites here and there in Indonesia and at potlucks. I felt giddy with my treasure and some coconuts in my bike basket. I noticed how I loved the smell of fresh, ripe durian. Back home, I placed the durian besides me on my desk so I could enjoy its presence while it ripened a bit more. Note: fresh durian is the absolute best, but can be hard to find (and the season for it is coming to an end). Frozen durian, either whole or just the meat, is easier to find and cheaper, and has a milder taste and smell (boo). Usually durian can be found in Asian toko’s and markets (ask around!). In Amsterdam your best shot is the fruit stall behind the Albert Cuypmarket (Gerard Doustraat), De Kweker (wholesale) and Wah Nam Hong Supermarket (Gelderse Kade 90-92). A large, fresh, whole durian will cost you about €20, frozen ones or frozen durian meat is cheaper.
Durian Coconut Cream Delight * 4 Durian meat ‘pockets’
* meat of one Thai coconut
* few tablespoon water/coconut water
* 1-2 tablespoon raw honey (or other favorite sweetener)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients together in a blender, chill in the fridge before serving. You can sub coconut butter for coconut meat.