I have been contemplating fermentation a lot more in the recent months. Every culture (haha) has fermentation and specific uses for the fermented products. Breads and alcohol, soy sauces and soy ferments are just some examples but they show how we can take a fruit, veg, meat or grain and ferment them for extra flavour and preservation.
In south east asian cooking, we typically rely on some kind of fermented shrimp psate or soy for extra flavour, umami. As I was researching fermentation, I came across mentions of tempoyak which is fermented durian.
I wanted to attempt fermenting my own durian tempoyak.
Depending on how sour or tangy you want your tempoyak, you add more or less salt to the durian pulp. The resulting durian was very tasty with multiple savoury profiles. You can still smell the durian but it is less sweet because of the fermentation of the sugars.
How do you cook with tempoyak? You can use it as a flavour base, and the beauty of iis that it has a very meaty umami taste while being vegan friendly. I cooked durian tempoyak with petai, just a tablespoon with chilli, onions and garlic. Or you can cook it with smoked pork and mussels.
I have used durian tempoyak in the cooking of mussels for the Sinfully Seafood Dinner at Ownself Make Chef, add a little a bacon and sambal belachan for extra flavour! For those of you asking for the recipe, you can try it out at home
500g durian puree
1 teaspoon salt
Mix well and place in an air tight glass container
Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days
If you prefer it to be more sour, leave it to ferment for longer
If you prefer it to be less sour, add more salt