A Brief Introduction
For Vietnam is an agricultural country, there are many different varieties of rice grown all over the country’s vast rice fields. The Vietnamese people believe that rice is the pearls of the gods, and for centuries, rice has been used mainly in many different dishes in Vietnamese cuisine. Among different types of rice you can find in Vietnam, white rice or jasmine rice, brown rice, red rice, purple rice, there is also a special type of rice called glutinous rice or sticky rice. In East Asia as a whole, sticky rice is very popular since it appears in more than one country’s cuisine. However, since Vietnam is not only an agricultural country but it is also a tropical country, the Vietnamese people often incorporate exotic tropical fruits and vegetables into a lot of different sticky rice delicacies. Today, I would like to introduce you to another one of my favorite childhood desserts, Durian sticky rice.
What is durian sticky rice?
First thing first, let’s start with the star of this dish, the durian. In Southeast Asia, hot weather and humidity yield a perfect environment for tropical fruits to grow. Among many of them, durian is a one-of-a-kind fruit for its incredibly strong smell and spiky look. From the outside, a durian’s color often ranges from husk green to brown, and its rind is always covered with a lot of prickly thorns. From the inside, the durian’s flesh has a yellowish color. What makes this fruit special as well as controversial is its strange smell. For people who like the durian, the fruit has a pleasantly sweet fragrance. On the other hand, those who cannot stand the durian think its aroma is overpowering and very unpleasant. Despite the controversy revolving around, the durian is still considered the king of fruits.
By combining the king of fruits and the pearl of the gods into the same dish, the Vietnamese people enjoy Durian Sticky rice on a lot of different occasions. As long as there is a gathering, chances are there is durian sticky rice. What makes durian sticky rice special is that durian and sticky rice are not the only ingredients in this dish. Traditionally, to prepare durian sticky rice, we start off with soaking the raw sticky rice in diluted coconut milk until they all swell up. This would help the sticky rice to absorb the fragrance and the creaminess of the coconut milk. We also soak mung beans in water for about half as long as we soak the sticky rice, then combine these two ingredients together to steam. Since the durian pulps and coconut milk are such delicate ingredients, we add them at the end of the cooking process to make sure they get just enough heat to infuse their fragrance into the rice. By the time the cooking process is finished, all that is left is to let the stick rice cool down and serve. Normally, because there is already durian meat mixed into the sticky rice, we don’t need any additional toppings. However, in order to make this dessert fancier, we can always add one or two durian pulps to it.
The king of durians
I have always been a durian lover, so every time I think of durian, I instantly think of this delightful dessert. Recently, I have found that the best durians in the world are not from neither Vietnam nor Thailand, although Thai durians have huge pulps. Instead, the best durians are from Malaysia, and they are known as Musang King durian. Last summer, I bought them to try with my homemade durian sticky rice, and I must admit that they really live up to the name. I am glad I found this new ingredient so I can combine it with a recipe from my childhood.
Durian has always been my favorite exotic fruit, what is yours? Have you ever tried either durian, sticky rice, or durian sticky rice? If you have not, try either one of them or all of them sometimes. Maybe they can become your favorite too.