Durian kueh,the local durian toffee

Not many Malaysians know the state of Sarawak shares something in common with West Kalimantan.Their ethnic groups,for example,are very similar to Sarawak.We both have the Dayak,Iban and Orang ulu in the state.

One of the food we share in common is the ‘lempok’  or ‘lempuk’ in Malay,a local durian toffee.Dodol in West Malaysia is different in that the glutinous rice flour is added to the dodol but for the people in Sarawak and Kalimantan,durian kueh means 100% durian pulp with or without sugar.


Durian kueh with sugar added is very sweet
Durian kueh with sugar added is very sweet

When I was young,my mom used to make durian kueh for us during the durian season.That would be towards the end of the year when she spent a lot of her time in the kitchen,peeling durian pulp from the seeds and cooked durian kueh or tempoyak with it.Those were the days,my friends,we used to have boatloads of durians along the big rivers.Quite often my mom gave brand new sarongs to the Ibans who gave us durians.She told me it was not nice to accept the durians for free.

I was asked to help whenever I walked into the kitchen looking for food.It was time consuming and hard work to keep on stirring durian flesh in the big and hot wok with a long and heavy wooden spoon.Most of the time we took turns to keep on stirring the durian pulp otherwise it would be burnt.Durian kueh cooked this way could take 8-9 hours.They are also very sweet and firm to touch.I remembered once I complained to my late mom why did she cook so much durian kueh.She explained that those durian kueh were Chinese New year goodies for relatives and friends.Nowadays,these durian goodies are sold at steep price and sourcing them becomes more and more difficult.


Durian Kueh  without sugar
Lempok – Durian Kueh without sugar

 The picture above shows durian kueh cooked without sugar.As you can see,the color tone is lighter,almost light green and the texture is softer and more sticky.Durian kueh cooked without sugar can only last for one week in the fridge and that explains why some  people prefer the other durian kueh cooked with sugar.This sugar free durian kueh are mostly not for sale and kept for family consumption only.

Durian kueh recipe
  • 1 kg of durian pulp-  To be mashed and mixed well before cooking.Can prepare early and keep in the freezer.
  • 250 gm of brown sugar (optional)

Cook the mixture over medium low fire.Keep on turning and stirring with a big wooden spoon until the mixture becomes dough-like.For 1 kg of durian pulp,it may take 1 hr to complete the cooking process.Kneading of the toffee should start immediately after it is cooler.

The sugar free durian kueh takes shorter time to cook and in fact tastes better with stronger durian flavour,softer and less sweet.However,durian kueh with sugar added has longer shelf life and is therefore more favored commercially.

Knead the toffee into rolls, cut at equal lengths and wrap with grease paper.Home-cooked goodies are ready,yummy!


Sugarless lempuk wrapped in grease paper
Sugarless lempok wrapped in grease paper

Try your cooking skill on this simple recipe,no fuss at all!


     Durian season is coming.Let’s cook for New Year !







Unripe durian as vegetable?

Unripe durian as vegetable ? That’s right,make no mistake about that.My late mom used to cook this dish for us during our childhood.

She would use lots and lots of durians for making durian kueh,a local durian toffee, the unripe ones for cooking as vegetable and the half-ripen durians to be eaten raw.During peak seasons,we always had durians for free.Those were the days when wild fruits were abundant and boatloads of durians were a common sight along the rivers.Durians piled up on the kitchen floor and unripe durians were easily found and mostly were given free by the natives.
Unripe durian stir-fried with cangkuk manis
Unripe durian stir-fried with cangkuk manis

For decades I have not seen vendors selling unripe durians in local markets but this year 2012 was indeed an unusual year.The year 2012 saw a big harvest of durians together with dabai,the jungle olives everywhere in the land of hornbills,Sarawak.As a result of an excess supply of durians,unripe durians are sold in markets without the shells at Rm10 per kg.

Select big and fleshy unripe durians from the market and the next step is to get rid of the seeds and peel off the bitter skin of the seeds attached to the flesh.

Fleshy unripe durian bought from market
Fleshy unripe durian bought from market


Cut the pulp into bite size and stir-fry with cangkuk manis and the dish is as shown in the last picture below.Be careful not to add too much water at a time otherwise the dish will become soggy.


unripe durian cut into bite size
unripe durian cut into bite size

 Just for the information,this dish is usually not sold in food outlets in Sarawak.This is due to lack of supply of unripe durians.Good quality durians do give a kick to its taste and flavour.The first picture shown in this post is a dish of yellow flesh unripe durians stir-fried with cangkuk manis a.k.a star gooseberry in English.

The picture below shows a picture of cangkuk manis vegetable in my garden.Its scientific name is sauropus andogynus.In India it is called malay cheera.Click here for more information about cangkuk manis.

Cangkuk manis growing at the backyard of my house.It is the thin leaf type.
Cangkuk manis growing at the backyard of my house.It is the thin leaf type.


 The picture below shows another dish of ordinary unripe durians cooked in the same way.

Unripe durian stir-fried with cangkuk manis
Unripe durian stir-fried with cangkuk manis
  • 1 kg of unripe durian – prepare the flesh as instructed earlier and cut into bite size.
  • 150 gm of cangkuk manis – Pick the leaves.Clean and crush the leaves with both hands.Chop finely.
  • 2 chilies – cut into bite size.
  • 1 tsp  light soya source
  • a pitch of salt

 1)Heat up 2 tbs of oil in the wok.

2) Fry the unripe durian till slightly brown.

3) Keep on adding a bit of water at a time to cook the unripe durian till soft.

4) Add cangkuk manis with chilies.

5) Continue adding little bit of water now and then until the leaves are well done.

6)Season with a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of light soya source.

How does it taste ? Well,it tastes like  creamy sweet potatoes with a faint aroma of durian.Some people deep-fry slices of unripe durians instead.I am yet to try.Have to wait for another season of durians.My next post will be on tempoyak and durian kueh or lempok (lempuk).

Enjoy cooking!

Uoo La La! 












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