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The most versatile Banana paste  

2014-05-14 15:05:05|  分类: Fusion Cooking |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Background:

A: The use of oil in cooking:

1) Cooking oil is used for cooking for two main reasons. One, oil can be heated to a much higher temperature up to 180 degrees Celsius instead of the maximum temperature of 100 degrees Celsius achievable by the use of water. For example, in Chinese cooking garlic, shallots (or small purplish Rose onion) and dried prawns are often fried in cooking oil to produce a strong aroma of garlic, shallots and dried prawns. Two, to remove the water content in food, for example, deep frying removes all the water content therefore, turning the fried food crunchy. For examples, KFC fried chicken or fried banana and many other fried stuff.

2) However, few people realized the pit-falls of using cooking oil to achieve the above two purpose. One, frying at temperature near to 180 degrees Celsius for several minutes will burn the garlic, shallots (onion included in the same class), dried prawns and other food stuff such as fried chicken, fired fish, fried banana, fried seafood, and etc. Often, we can tell the blackish color of any fried food stuff as burnt, which in turn often tastes awful. Two, frying garlic, shallot and dried prawn sufficiently and not over-fried is not an easy process. This is because often the aroma of these ingredients is totally lost in the air as vapor should the temperature of the oil is near to 180 degrees Celsius. A good example is the frying of belachan (half-fermented, dried prawns) where the neighbors would complain of the stinky smell of belachan swarming over to the neighbor’s home.

3) The right way of frying garlic, shallots and dried prawns (or belachan) is to use low to medium heat. Using lower temperature means the frying time has to be much longer, easily more than twice or longer.

4) As described in point 3 above, a much higher percentage of the aroma of garlic, shallots and dried prawns can be retained at low to medium temperature. To my best guess, more than half of the content that produced the strong rich aroma of garlic, shallots and dried prawns are lost.

My idea: Retain as much of the essences of aroma produced by the oil-fried garlic, shallot and dried prawns with minimum losses.      

B: The use of water in cooking

1) Water used for cooking comes mainly in two forms. One, the use of boiling water to cook the food stuff, irrespective of whether the water is added at room temperature or boiled water is used from stir-frying of vegetables, to making all kinds of dishes that comes with gravy, to cooking of soup and as simple as cooking a bowl of noodles. Two, the steam produced by boiling water is another way of cooking, especially in steamed fish or the making of mantou or bun or bao. Sometimes, vegetables are steamed, meaning, the vegetable is cooked by the steam arising from the boiling water placed at the bottom of the wok or cooking pot while the vegetable is placed on a raised platform at a distance above the boiling water.

2) While some people realized that other than Vitamins A, D, E and K which are oil-soluble, Vitamins B, C and P are water-soluble, an amazing ignorance of the general public is that salt, sugar, sourness, bitter, and spiciness of chili are water-soluble. Few people with sensitive nose can even smell the difference arising from among different types of cooked food from the differences in the smell of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness or spiciness from the water vapor released from the cooked food.

3) If all the water content of the food has been evaporated away, the remaining food devoid of water moisture is totally bland and without any water vapor left, over nose could not figured out from our sense of  smell how the food taste like. Which means deep-fried food is often bland and tasteless. For example, KFC advertised its fried chicken as finger licking good. Actually, the deep fried chicken is bland. What makes KFC finger licking good is the chili or tomato sauce. Warning: today, all the chili or tomato sauce served by KFC and Mc Donalds and other fast-food franchises are 100% pure chemical substituted. Do you want to continue consuming chemicals (food flavor substitute) at the expense of your own health?          

4) As described in point 3 above, food must not be fried completely dry in order to retain the Vitamins B, C and P and many other vital and essential minerals. There must be the presence of water however minimal in order to preserve all the water-soluble essence of the food and yet, at the same time ensure the food is delicious from a combination of different level of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness and spiciness.

My idea: Retain the maximum amount of the essences of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness and spiciness in food though its water content is minimal, or negligible or hardly moist visibly.

My new found secret solution to achieve the above:

Banana is a tropical fruit. It is widely available, delicious and eaten by almost everyone. Few people dislike it. However, when it is cooked into a jam or paste form, it is most versatile and can be used in many ways and can be the core ingredient for many form of gravy. The author summarized the versatility of using banana in cooking into a simple form, that is, in its jam form. From then the author shows you how to make use of it in preparing a base stock that is enriched with fried garlic, shallots and dried prawns and lastly, in the cooking of a Hong Kong Chef made-famous, XO chili sauce.  

My brilliant idea: The fibrous nature of banana makes it a good choice as a medium that could retain sufficiently, the minimum amount of both oil and water. Because of the minimum amount of water or oil content left in the final (prepared) food, the concentration of the essences of the rich aroma of garlic, shallots and dried prawns and the combination of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness and spiciness is very high.   

Before I demonstrate the wonder of banana as a medium to preserve the highest concentration of the essences of the rich aroma of garlic, shallots and dried prawns and the combination of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness and spiciness in my new found method of cooking XO chili sauce, I show you how to prepare banana in a form that is suitable for subsequent cooking. In other words, banana is first, cooked into a jam form as a processed raw ingredient to be used in the making of enriched with fried garlic, shallots and dried prawns and finally, the XO chili sauce.

Ingredients: Fully ripe banana. The Malaysia variety where its flesh is light orange in color is the best. The larger and mass-produced version such as Del Monte or Cole can be used. For demonstration purpose, I am going to used two kilograms of banana.

Procedure:

1)         It is difficult to buy fully ripe banana. Often, it is sold at 80% to 90% ripe. Buy ahead and hang it indoor for a day or two. The banana should reach fully ripe status.

2)            Peel all the bananas and drop them into a large salad bowl.

The most versatile Banana jam - 行天之道 - 论老子

 3)            Use a knife and cut up the banana into fine pieces.

The most versatile Banana jam - 行天之道 - 论老子

 4)            Use an egg-beater to whip the banana into a fine paste.

5)            Pour the banana into the cooking pot.

The most versatile Banana jam - 行天之道 - 论老子

 6)            You can use either medium to high heat. Note: Because of the presence of a large percentage of water in the banana, the maximum temperature is 100 degrees Celsius. Actually, you can see the banana boiling.

7)            Stir the banana with the egg-beater every ten minutes (in the beginning stage) and then five minutes (during the later stage) in order to prevent charring. Note: Actually, it is not easy for the banana to get charred because it contains a high level of fat (almost 20% by weight) while its water content is slowly evaporated away while it is being cooked.

8)            Sniff the water vapor coming out from above the banana. When you could not smell of banana, the banana has already turned into a jam which contains a minimum level of water. Stop cooking.

 

Finished product:

The most versatile Banana jam - 行天之道 - 论老子

 Applications:

Here are three ways to make full use of the banana jam.

1)            Banana jam can be a good replacement for all other kind of jam, such as peanut, apple, chocolate jam or kaya (most loved by Malaysian and Singaporeans). I whipped up this new recipe of banana jam because I am fed-up with the introduction of artificial chemical substitutes used in all kind of jams sold in the supermarket. For example, the blatant wide use of MSG to substitute sugar is an undeniable fact.  Note: You may add sugar to give this jam a sweeter taste.

2)            The banana jam can be mixed together with fried garlic, shallot and dried prawns. The resultant aromatic banana paste retains an exceptionally strong aroma of fried garlic, shallot and dried prawns. In fact, it retains a much stronger aroma of these aromatic essences with hardly any losses. It is really that wonderful. Note: You do not add sugar when banana is used to retain the most of the aromatic essences of garlic, shallots and dried prawns.

3)            To the above preparation as described in (2), add in chili padi and cooked for a mere ten to fifteen minutes. The resultant product is the author’s new found recipe for XO chili sauce. 

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