Recipes: Durian for Breakfast

Durian is actually best eaten for breakfast. It's more popularly eaten as either a dinner meal or dessert, but this has more to do with supply and transportation issues than with when it's best to eat it.

Nearly 80% of durians fall during the night, meaning that most varieties (not all!) are ripened to perfection sometime in the cool hours of the early morning, before the tropical heat has begun to produce those fetid odors for which the fruit is so famous. A fresh durian smells more like grass and caramel than like skunks in an onion patch. That said, durian makes the perfect breakfast whether eaten plain or incorporated into a more traditional breakfast menu.

Included in this post: Durian Muffins, Durian Omelette, Durian Pancakes, Durian Jam, Durian Tea, Durian Coffee, Durian Parfait.

Durian Jam on Toast

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Sweet and fatty, durian is jelly and butter rolled into one!  It's perfect either used fresh as a spread or cooked and sweetened into a thick jam.

Durian Donut

Donuts and Homer Simpson are forever firmly linked in my mind. I sincerely wish the Simpsons had made a durian episode before the animated television series started sliding to the not-funny side.  Just imagine the fun Bart could have had with the stinky fruit! At any rate, I'm sure Homer would have enjoyed these durian donuts by the Big Apple Company in Malaysia (NOT based in NYC). You can make them yourselves here.

Durian Coffee

What else should you dip your durian donut in than a steaming cup of durian and coffee? 

We first enjoyed a cup of cold pressed durian coffee in Vietnam. Durian acts as the perfect creamer, sweetening and adding a thicker, fatty consistency along with it's own wonderful flavor. It's so good, a successful high end coffee chain in the Philippines has been built around durian coffee.  We visited them and enjoyed a cup, which they made vegan just for us! For those more careful with their money, instant durian coffee is also widely available in stores throughout Malaysia.

Durian Tea

Coffee has some well known side effects like headaches, ulcers, and insomnia, and high blood pressure. Personally, I get the jitters and start rattling around like a deranged middle-schooler.

Luckily, there are other cozy breakfast beverages we can enjoy with durian, like tea. You don't have to live in Asia to enjoy a cup of durian tea either. A specialty tea store in the United States called Lupicia offers a blend of green tea and freeze-dried durian chunks. You can purchase it here for $12.50.

 Durian Omelette

Okay, this one is kind of cheating. But it's real.  In my country, omelettes are savory pancakes made out of eggs. In Singapore, it denotes a yellow, cream filled cake similar to a Twinkie.

I couldn't find any recipes for real combos of durian and egg, but I don't see why the two wouldn't go together. Durian has been accused of having a sulfurous flavor very similar to eggs. I even know vegans who can't stand Thai durians because the texture reminds them of scrambled eggs. Weird, right? A scrambled egg fruit.

That theTwinkie-cake is called an omelette I find particularly intriguing. I generally enjoy these sorts of cross cultural accidental misnomers, but last week I discovered that Bombe Alaskas were called Norwegian Omelettes once upon a time, and Omelette Surprise after that. If someone could please explain to me the connection between cakes and egg-dishes, I would be much obliged.

Durian Muffins

photo by Aunty Yochana

I already wrote an entire post about durian cake, but not to be neglected are durian muffins. Durian Muffins are essentially breakfast cupcakes. They're a little less sweet, don't have frosting, and tend to have some kind of fruit or nut in them so we can feel we're kicking off our day with something healthy. Recipe here.

Durian Pancakes 

photo by aromacookery
As a child pancakes were my favorite breakfast treat, surpassed only tentatively by waffles.  They were special, something we ate on lazy weekends and holidays, drowned in margarine and maple syrup. 

Now, I think durian pancakes are probably the ultimate durian breakfast. Durian tastes better than all the whipped cream, maple syrup, powdered sugar and butter you could slather onto the diabetic's nightmare, plus it counts as a serving of fruit and is therefore good for you.

Apparently, durian pancakes are cherished by the Malaysians too. Rob and I discovered them during Ramadan, where long rows of griddles were churning out piles of thick durian-licious pancakes. Here's how you can make Malaysian Durian Pancakes.

Durian Parfait

Classy and simple, parfaits are great for breakfast or dessert. And durian is the perfect non-dairy substitute for whipped cream or yoghurt. Simply layer your durian cream with other fresh tropical fruits in a clear fancy-shmancy glass for a beautiful breakfast. Add granola, chocolate sauce, or even cake crumbles for a heavier meal. If you wish, you may follow food-combining rules. Durian is considered a sweet fruit and is said to digest best when mixed with other dense or very sweet fruits like jackfruit, dates, bananas, papayas. However, my opinion is that food combining is bunk and you should enjoy your durian with anything you please.


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