A Gift from a Thai village, Durian Paste Candy – ทุเรียนกวน – Thurian Guan
When I visit home I love hanging around the open air market in my village. It is common for each village in Thailand to have an open air market in the late afternoon till the evening from 1 to 3 times a week. We call it ตลาดนัด – Talad Nad – and it is the best way to get fresh and dry ingredients for cooking when traveling to the wet market in town in the early morning is not an option. It is similar to the Seattle Farmers Market, but the stalls are a mix of merchants and farmers. I often enjoy snacks from the food stands, take pictures, and pick up a few things for myself and my family. You can find everything from fresh ingredients to cooked food and seasonal fruits. One durian season I had a chance to reconnect with an old friend, the durian farmer shown below. He had loaded his freshly picked durian fruits—that had dropped from the tree that day—into the back of his motorcycle basket. The durian flesh stays good in the fruit for a few days. He sold his durian at the Talad Nad and around the village. What was left was likely to become durian paste candy.
A good grade durian sells for a good price
The peak season for durian is in June and July. During that time, farm families will turn their large surplus of durian into durian candy. In Kamala village, durian plantation owners are famous for their durian candy, a rare specialty commodity. When durian season comes, make sure you ask to be on the list for freshly made durian paste candy, a gift of pride from the village.
Kamala Village Durian Paste Candy
Photo is a courtesy from Old Phuket Town Community and was taken on July 6, 2013 on Kamala Agricultural Day.
Please click photo to see the event
In the above photo, the durian paste candy is wrapped in plastic and rolled into a tube. Last year, due to a drought, no durian paste candy was available.
My first post on durian was written in 2011. It was called “What is the durian and how to open it?” It showed, in detail, how to open durian. Now you are going to learn how to remove the flesh from the stone after you open the . The pulp from 5 durian fruits roughly this size will yield about a kilogram of candy.
The best and easiest to remove the pulp from the seed is to use both hands to squeeze out the seeds, discard them, and leave the durian pulp in the container.
The making of durian paste candy in Kamala Village, Phuket Thailand
In July 2006, I asked around during one of my visits to Kamala village, Phuket, Thailand and learned that my friend’s family was making durian paste candy. I was able to take pictures and videotape the process. Following is the recipe from my notes and video interview. The durian plantation owner—her name is Pranee as well—said there is no secret to making durian paste candy. It simply requires patience, time, and strong arms to stir the durian constantly. It usually takes her a whole day in preparation. The candy can be 100% durian, or it can call for adding 100 grams of sugar for every kilogram of durian pulp. It is cooked over a low, simmering heat and stirred until the flesh turns into a sticky brown candy. It takes about 6 hours, from morning to late afternoon, until the pulp becomes a shiny lump and it can be rolled into a ball and rolled like a marble. After it cools down, it is wrapped in plastic and rolled into a tube. It is made to order for sale in a half kilo or smaller. The price varies from year to year. This year’s price right now in Phuket is around 200 baht, which is about $7.
Pranee’s tip for small plantation owners is that she saves durian pulp in the refrigerator each day until there is enough pulp to fill the pan. This way it becomes worth her while to prepare the candy with a full pan of durian pulp while she takes care of her granddaughter at the same time. While I was learning from her, I enjoyed watching villagers going by. I had a chance to taste the durian candy shown above. There wasn’t any durian candy last year because the dry and short monsoon season limited flower productivity, but this year there is a great surplus of durian, which predicts that there will be a lot of durian paste candy going around in the village. I can’t wait to taste it again this year.
This is a typical durian paste candy – ทุเรียนกวน – Thurian Guan found in American Asian markets for a short period of time each year.
It is also known as Thurian Guan, Durian Guan, Durian Paste, Durian Fruit Roll, Durian Cake and Durian Jam.
It is available at online market such as Amazon , Temple of Thai and Import Foods under durian paste.Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen I Love Thai cooking Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com
- Durian: What is it? How do you open it? (praneesthaikitchen.com)
- Kamala Village Open Air Market (praneesthaikitchen.com)
- The Ultimate Bangkok Durian Guild (migrationology.com)
- Singapore students create durian wine (thedrinksbusiness.com)
- Durian (tulongan.wordpress.com)