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It's that time of year again. My annual plug for durian, the oft-maligned, odoriferous fruit beloved in Southeast Asia and beyond. Usually, my advice to durian novices is to select a fruit with the least-pungent smelling odor you can find since different kinds of durian will range from mildly cheesy-smelling to gym-locker-stench-evoking.
To best appreciate the creamy and foamy texture of the fruit, eat pods of durian right out of the shell. One thing I've learned over the years is that you can never tell who will take to durian.
My friend who hates anchovies and all things fishy surprised me by taking pleasure in durian, but another friend, an aficionado of stinky cheese and natto, can't stand to smell or eat the fruit.
Durian smoothies are a treat on a hot summer's day. You might even get a few durian converts if you serve the fruit in smoothie form, which gives you a milder kick of that distinctive cheesy taste.
Add whatever you'd like to your durian smoothie: yogurt, honey, milk, and so forth. Keep it simple and not too sweet. The smoothies served in Vietnamese and Thai restaurants tend to be too rich and cloying for my taste, so I temper durian's strong flavor with banana.
A few pods of durian, one banana, ice cubes, and a spoonful of condensed milk go into the blender. Simple, icy, and soothing.
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