Though you might not have eaten one before, you may already know what a durian fruit is. Native to Asia, it is infamous for its potent smell, likened by some to everything from "sewage" to "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock." According to Smithsonian magazine, Anthony Bourdain said, "Your breath will smell like you've been French-kissing your dead grandmother." The infamous durian smell is so severe that several Asian countries have banned the fruit on public transport and in hotels. But if you can stomach its aroma (which, to be fair, some people don't mind), many find the fruit delicious (though difficult to compare to anything else). And durian aficionados absolutely love the stuff.
If you want to try it yourself but can only get a hold of a whole one, this presents somewhat of a problem. Look at that thing; does that seem like something that's easy to disassemble to you? This is a case where appearances are not deceptive: Durians are challenging to open for the uninitiated. Though a skilled purveyor of durians can prise one apart in seconds, it will be tricky if you're doing it for the first time -- and if you're not careful, you could easily hurt yourself.
Cutting A Durian Can Be Dangerous
A durian's shell isn't just for show; anything that develops spikes will have done so to ward off predators (which, in this case, is you). They're large, heavy, and difficult to manipulate, especially if one of your hands is holding a large knife. Imagine cutting a spiky football that weighs 9 pounds and you're close. With that in mind, the most important thing to know when cutting into one is to take your time and be careful (people cutting durians will often wear heavy gloves for safety).
The first step is to twist your knife into the durian's base, then look for one of the five seams along its shell. When you've found a seam, work the knife into it, moving slowly along its length. Then, find another seam and work your way along it in the same way. Once you've created two cuts, use your hands to leverage the whole thing apart.
Durians have five compartments, each containing large pods of pulp (the yellow flesh -- that's the part you want to eat). Though this cutting method won't excavate all the pulp at once, all you need is that opening; once you're inside the durian from one side, it's pretty easy to rip the rest apart. From there, the job is finished, the durian is conquered, and you can figure out what you want to do with it (you can use durian to make wine).
A Durian's Seeds Are Also Entirely Edible
The thing with durian is that you don't have to stop when you've eaten the pulp. Although that's the main thing people will eat, it may be a surprise that a durian's seeds are also fully edible. Some people swear by them -- you just can't eat them raw because they're too hard for that. Instead, you clean and wash them, then boil them with salt. The result is something with a starchlike texture and a delicate durian flavor, completely devoid of the unpopular durian smell. Luckily, there aren't any extra steps to get to the seeds; they're inside the pulp you've already excavated.
Whether you're eating the seeds or the flesh, though, you should give durian a try. After all, you can't know if you'll like something unless you try it yourself. Just be sure that if you're preparing it yourself, take care and go slowly to avoid any accidents.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.