• Malaysian gulai tempoyak ikan (fish cooked in fermented durian gravy). (Zora Tan-Sheppard )Source: Zora Tan-Sheppard

This dish is not only hearty, but it also represents durian's sweet and savoury flavour.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


Durian curry

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 kg catfish, hairtail or any fatty fish, cutlets or fillet
  • ½ fresh turmeric leaf, finely sliced 
  • ½ eggplant, medium diced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 300 ml water
  • 20 g tamarind paste 
  • Salt, to taste

Spice Paste 

  • 50 g tempoyak (fermented durian paste: recipe available here)
  • 4-6 long red chillies 
  • 1-2 Thai red chilli (optional, for heat) 
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 small red shallots/red onions 
  • 1 cm knob fresh turmeric root or ½ tsp turmeric powder

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Blend the spice paste ingredients (fermented durian paste, chillies, lemongrass, shallots, onions and turmeric) in a food processor until smooth.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Saute blended ingredients with sliced turmeric leaves and lemongrass until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the ingredients.
  4. Pour the water in and stir tamarind paste until combined.
  5. Allow the curry to simmer on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add your desired fish and the eggplant. Sit to evenly coat fish with sauteed ingredients.
  7. Continue to cook on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes or until your fish is cooked through. The curry should be thick. Its consistency should not be too watery. Add salt to taste.
  8. Serve with steamed rice.


  • To make a vegetarian version, you can replace the fish with tempeh or firm tofu, sweet potato leaves, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower florets, long beans or eggplant.