Durian has a powerful aroma which can keep people away and get the fruit banned from some public areas and transportation as airplane, hotel, etc. However, it is considered the King of fruits in Southeast Asia and its rich custard edible flesh is be used to flavor food especially sweet edibles. Learn more about this unique fruit in “A love letter of a smelly fruit” in The New York Time and in “Nation Geographic”.
I make the durian sauce first and let the flavor developed for 2 hours; then use the sauce to flavor the sticky rice later. Glutinous rice can be cooked in a saucepan without soaking or but it needs to be soaked for steaming. We do not need artificial flavor or color. Fresh coconut milk is even better but I am getting spoiled by convenience of canned coconut milk instead of shredding coconut by hand here . There are another custard durian sauce with egg yolks and flour to serve with sticky rice which is called “Xôi Xiêm”
Make 4 snacks:
1½ cups glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked in cold water overnight or warm water for 2 hours
1 lb frozen durian pulp, thawed overnight in the fridge
- Bring coconut milk with sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 panda leaves in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat stir occasionally. When seeing bubbles, gently stir thawed durian pulp in and reduce the heat down to low and simmer about 3 minutes until durian heat through and sugar dissolved. Gently stir but not turn the durian (so the top of durian pulp still look pretty on the plate) because when durian contacts hot coconut milk mixture, it will start to melt. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if needed. Remove and discard panda leaves. Let it cool down, cover and and set on the counter for at least 2 hrs or overnight in the fridge.
- Rinse and soak the rice in warm water for 2 hours. Rice is ready when it is soft and broke down easy when being pressed between fingers. Fill water about 1/3-1/2 depth in the steamer pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Place the soaked rice in a medium sieve and rinse it under running water until clear water come out. Put remaining panda leaves into the steamer basket and put rice on the top with 1/8 tsp salt (If the steamer’s holes is too large>1/8 in., cover the holes with 2 layers of cheese cloth) and set it on the pot. Make a few wells in the rice to help steaming more even. Cover and adjust the heat to keep a steady but not furious boil. Steam and make a quick stirring every 10 minutes with 3 Tbs durian sauce each time until the rice is fully tender about 30 minutes. Checking periodically to make sure the water is not running out. Stir in the last 3 Tbs of durian sauce. Remove from heat, cover until serve.
- Divide the rice into small bowls or plates, top with durian pulp and sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftover sticky rice and sauce can be chilled in the fridge for 1 or 2 days and warm up in microwave before serve.