Cooking with Alison

How To For Durian (Fruit)

In How-To on February 19, 2011 at am

Durian fruit is definitely an acquired taste – one which can only be acquired if you can get over the acquired smell.  They are heavy and covered with pointy, dangerous spikes.  As you can see from the photos below, the fruit is shaped into several lobes.  Each lobe contains soft, yellow flesh that encases one or two large, light brown, hard seeds.  You can eat it as is (not the seed), or you can use it in smoothies and cakes, etc.  In North America, you are most likely to find these frozen.  Simply defrost the durian at room temperature and cut open.  Opening a durian almost always involves injury, so be very careful.  I get scratched (and bleed) several times simply transporting it from the grocery store to the house.  I have provided tips on how to select a durian and photo instructions for how to open one.  Notice that it’s my dad doing it.  Thanks dad  🙂

How to Select a Durian

1. There are different types of durian and according to my mother, the “mornthong” durian are the best.  Look for the three Chinese words in orange from the photo below left.  These durian are characterized by a cluster of small, short, and dull spikes on the bottom of the fruit (see photo below right).

2.  You want one that’s large and heavy.

3.  You want one that has a stem still attached.  Also, make sure that the stem is not darkly coloured all the way through.  See the photo below for an example of a good stem.

4.  Even frozen and unopened, a good durian will be fragrant.


How to Cut Open a Durian

1. You will need a large, sharp, and heavy knife.  We prefer to use a cleaver.  With a thick towel between one of your hands and the fruit, position the durian so that the midline of one of the lobes is facing upwards and running vertically.  Then use many short, quick motions to dig (ie. stab) the back heel of your knife along that midline all the way down the fruit (see photo below).

2. Then carefully open the lobe by peeling back both sides of the tough skin from your cut along the midline.  Use thick towels to protect your hands.

3.  Carefully scoop out the yellow flesh with a spoon and set aside.

4.  Repeat steps 1 through 3 until all lobes of the fruit have been opened.  Remove the large, hard seeds and discard prior to serving or using in a recipe.  The flesh should be kept in the refrigerator and should be eaten within a day or two of defrosting, or it can be frozen for another time.  Simply defrost and enjoy.  (I love eating half frozen durian as is.)

  1. Nice post . Thank you for, writing on this blog page dude. I’ll message you again. I didn’t know that.

  2. Hi Ali, How did you “get over” the unique and terrible fragrance of these spiny beasts? Also, are these sold in Kingston anywhere? I’d love to try one sometime, if I can work up the nerve that is. I’ve read the flavor is wonderful!

    • Hi Cathy!

      I’ve always liked the smell and taste of the durian. Ed used to gag from the smell, haha. He’s much better now. I think the only way to do it is to sit in a room with the durian flesh until you don’t notice it anymore. I’m not sure if they sell them in Kingston, but I think the best bet would be at Oriental Grocery at 455 Princess Street (west of division). I’m going back to Toronto over Easter weekend. I’ll try to bring you back some then. 🙂

    • Hi again, Cathy! I found frozen durian (flesh only, even the seeds were removed) at the Asian grocery store by Princess and Division!

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