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XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style  

2014-06-10 19:47:25|  分类: Fusion Cooking |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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       Background:

1)      The XO chili sauce invented by a Hong Kong chef some two decades ago was an instant hit. However, it made use of dried scallop (expensive) as the main ingredient. In addition, it takes more than ten hours to cook the raw ingredients into the final product.

2)      The method used by the Hong Kong chef reminiscences me of the Padangnese (the Minangkabau tribe living on the west coast of Sumatera) way of preparing bumbu or chili-based gravy.  

3)      The author first experimented with banana and it was found to be a much better alternative than dried scallop in a few key areas: price (more than ten times cheaper), widely available, ease of cooking, can be perfectly prepared in advance and stored easily. However, banana is too smooth and a little too sticky. Verdict: Abandon and use pumpkin instead.

Challenges: This is a least know fact. Capsaicin in chili evaporates easily.  

1) As a result of my four months of experimentations, here are the key salient points about chili padi.

1.1)       The seeds of the chili padi are a dozen times more spicy than its flesh. Therefore, you must cut the chili padi into fine slices with the knife at 45 degrees in order to ensure all the seeds are cut into half.

1.2)       There are two very effective methods to extract all the capsaicin of the chili padi: the use of a highly concentrated solution of sugar and hot water. Please read url How to extract all the capsaicin from chilies.

1.3)       The right method of savoring chili is clearly stated in this standardized specification, designed by the author. Please refer to Standard assessment tests for chili sauce.

1.4)       The spiciness of chili must be distributed or spread over a medium to dilute its strength. The author first success story was using ripe banana. To me, I found that when banana is used to distribute the spiciness, it is too smooth to our taste buds (perhaps, you may like it smooth) and worse, it is too sticky, meaning, it is not easy to apply it like butter.     

2)      Make use of pumpkin to distribute the spiciness (20 times dilution in term of spiciness) of chili padi and yet, it enhances the chili sauce with the following additional distinguishing fine qualities: golden yellow in color, creamy, very mild sweetness, easy to use in the like of butter spread and easy to produce in bulk. Most important of it all, it gives an initial sweet smooth feeling while the spiciness kicks in only two seconds later. Note: Pumpkin is very cheap (RM1.50 per kilogram).        

My brilliant idea: Purely from an Industrial engineering (abbreviation, I.E.) perspective, the complex process of making XO chili sauce can be broken down into three distinct simplified processes. As a result of the application of I.E., the making of XO chili sauce is a breeze and can be easily varied to suit individual taste buds, say, adding more or less of each of the key ingredients.

Ingredients: Pumpkin (three kilograms), garlic (300 grams), red onion/shallots (400 grams), dried prawn powder (50 grams) and dried shrimp (50 grams), chili padi (150 grams).

Procedure: (Broken down into four main sections)

Section one: Steam pumpkin and mash it

Please refer to url Pumpkin as a base stock for sauces.

Below is a picture of the semi-finished product:

XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style - 行天之道 - 论老子

 Section two: Stir-fry garlic, onions and dry prawns (abbreviation GOP)

Stir-fry garlic, shallots, dried prawns powder and dried shrimp powder into an aroma-enriched base stock paste. Please refer to procedure Stir-fried Garlic, Onions and dried Prawn (GOP).

XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style - 行天之道 - 论老子

Section three: Prepare the chili padi

Extract all the capsaicin from the chili padi using the osmosis method. Please refer to procedure How to extract all the capsaicin from chilies. Note: When you begin to stir-fry the garlic and onions, you can get on with preparing the chili padi.

XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style - 行天之道 - 论老子 

Section four: Cook the GOP together with pumpkin paste and chili padi

Step 1: With reference to section two, ten minutes after adding in the dried prawn powder to the stir-fried minced garlic and onions, add in the pumpkin paste prepared in section one.

Step 2: continue stirring in order to prevent charring.

XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style - 行天之道 - 论老子

 Step 3: When the mixture is about sufficiently dry, add in the chili prepared in section three.

Step 4: Continue to stir in order to mix them well. Note: The proportion of chili padi, indicated by the red little specks, is much less than 2 percent of the surface area. This gives you an idea the excellence of this new found procedure. Virtually, the capsaicin is not lost at all. Compare to the current cooking methods, almost 955 of the capsaicin are lost through vaporization as a result of using medium to high heat.

XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style - 行天之道 - 论老子  

Step 5: after 15 to 30 minutes of stir-frying, the chili sauce is ready.  

XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style - 行天之道 - 论老子

 Notes:

1) It is very dry compared to the last picture immediately after Step 4. The chili padi prepared in section two is a little wet or watery.

2) It is not oily at all. You do not see a layer of oil floating on top of the chili sauce. Note: Least oil is required is one of the major advantages of using pumpkin as a medium to evenly distribute the capsaicin.   

Finished product:

XO chili sauce – New creative fusion style - 行天之道 - 论老子

 Applications:

1) A small bottle as shown above can last say, less than a week’s consumption. There is no need to keep it in a refrigerator.

2) The XO (or chililabu) sauce should be kept in a refrigerator because it still contains minimal amount of water. Leaving it exposed (repeated opening and closing of its lid or cap) will attract fungus or mold.

3) This XO chili sauce is a ready-made sauce for most type of dishes, including porridge, noodles, dim-sum and particularly, sea-food.

       4) Add in a little lime or limau kasturi just before use. This will give the final sauce the following attributes: sour, creamy, spicy hot and a strong aroma of dried prawns, garlic and shallots/onions. Note: Most Asean people shall love this sauce that comes with a combination of sourness and spiciness.

Note: Pumpkin in the Malay language is labu. Chililabu is the combination of chili and labu.

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