I crush durian flowers under my bare toes every morning. Even though I tip-toe around the piles of snowy blossoms, I still feel their velvet under my soles as I walk for breakfast. It’s hard to avoid them, when the ground looks like this every morning:
With an abundance of florescence literally under my feet, I started looking for a durian flower recipe to prepare this seasonal treat.
Durian flowers can be prepared like any vegetable. They can be stir-fried, or boiled in curries, or blanched and doused in a simple dressing like I’ve been enjoying. I’m sure they’re delicious with coconut milk, but let’s face it: waiting for dinner is not among my virtues.
I did nibble a few raw, both because I was curious what they tasted like and because I was hoping I wouldn’t have to get out any pots.
The raw durian flowers are coated in something slightly sticky, with a starchy, slightly astringent taste. You could probably wash and soak them in lemon juice to soften them and remove that astringency, but again: patience not my virtue.
Ingredients For Durian Flower Salad
- Lettuce of choice (I used Butterleaf, from Tesco)
- Durian Flowers
Try to collect the durian flowers in the morning or late evenings, when they are fresh. Durian flowers turn brown quickly.
Step 1: Collect the Durian Flowers
This is what intact durian flowers look like when they fall. There’s an orange-gold crown, which is stiff and I believe inedible, a few curling petals, and the starchy white stamens tipped in pollen.
The petals are edible too, and taste slightly sour, but the stamen is what is typically eaten.
Step 2: Remove pollen
The pollen tastes bitter, so before washing the flowers you’ll want to gently scrape or slice off the powdery pollen from the tips of the stamens. This is easy to do, but time consuming.
Note that when the flowers first fall, the pollen is white and doesn’t taste much different than the rest of the flower. Over time it turns dark brown and starts to develop a strong bitter flavor.
Stop slicing flowers when bored. Your bowl should look like this:
Step 3: Lightly Boil the Durian Flowers
I heated water and put the flowers in for about 3-4 minutes, or until they had turned bright yellow and were a bit soft.
Cooked, they have a flavor a bit like sour artichoke heart. Very tasty.
After removing the durian flowers from the pan with a fork, I doused them in cold water.
Then I pounded the ingredients of my dressing together (garlic, chili, salt, vinegar, lime, sugar,and tomato) with the mortar and pestle, like when making a Thai Som Tam.
Last, I added the cold durian flowers and lightly pounded them around with the other ingredients, then dumped them over my lettuce greens.
Voila, I feel like a fancy chef.
Here’s a little durian flower recipe video too.
Durian Flower Recipe Video