After Red Dragon Fruit Pie Bar, Shall We Have A Red Dragon Fruit Cheese Cake?

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INTRODUCTION

Life as a food blogger has his/her fair share of pressures. He/she will have to design a dish, prepare the dish, decorate the dish and take picture for the blog. A poorly taken picture may ruin all his efforts putting in for the dish he or she prepared.

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All bloggers will have its own strengths and weaknesses and some of my weaknesses are cake cutting, decoration and photographing. I am especially wary of cutting an 9” inch diameter cakes. I am not fully satisfy with the images in this post and I shall improve on it.

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Though I do not really like the colour of red dragon fruit, however, I am amazed by the visual presentation that it can create for cakes and pastry. I have blogged about red dragon fruit pie bars yesterday and have another half a red dragon fruit left. I thought it would be a good idea to use it for some cheese cakes. I looked up my favourite dessert cookbook “The Essential Dessert Cookbook” published by Murdock Books 2007 and found this Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake that I have always wanted to try but do not have the opportunity as it is not a seasonal fruit in Singapore and Malaysia. Prices of raspberry were rather costly and readers may not have a chance to prepare the cake if I blogged about it. So I have decided to use red dragon fruits for the cake.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

For Biscuit Crust

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  • 150 grams of plain sweet biscuits

  • 50 grams of melted unsalted butter

For Fillings

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  • 500 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)

  • 125 grams caster sugar

  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice

  • 315 ml (1 1/4 cups) of creamed (whipped)

  • 250 grams of red dragon fruit (meshed and become puree)

  • <font face="Microsoft PhagsPa"3 tablespoons of gelatine

  • 1/3 cup of water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation of biscuit crust

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  • Blend the biscuits in a food processor. Add the melted butter to the biscuit crust and mix well.

  • Have a 9” diameter spring form baking tin, spoon the crushed biscuits and press firmly against the base of the baking tin. Chilled in the refrigerator for at least half an hour or until firm. Lightly grease the sides of the baking tin with butter.

For biscuits, it can be any type of biscuits. In fact I have used some biscuits that have some meringue on top and therefore you can see some coloured meringues in my biscuit crusts.

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Melting the gelatine and preparation of red dragon fruit purees

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  • Have a metal bowl, put in 1/4 cup of water and sprinkled the gelatine on top of the cold water as evenly as possible. Use a tablespoon to lightly stir the gelatine powder solution and ensure all the gelatine absorb the water.

  • Bring a pot of water to boil in a stove. Turn off the heat. Place the metal bowl with gelatine on top of hot water, stir until all the gelatines are dissolved without signs of gelatine powder. Leave the metal bowl floating in the hot water for later use.

  • Put the dragon fruits in the food processor and blend it until it become puree form. Add in half of the gelatine and set aside for later use.

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  • In a standing mixer, whipped the cream until firm peak form and set aside for later use.

  • Using the same mixing bowl, put sugar and softened cream cheese.

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  • Beat until light and smooth. Scrap bottom of the mixing bowl and ensure there are no deposit of cheese at the bottom of mixing bowl.

  • Add in half of the gelatine, lemon juice and whipped cream, use the slowest speed of the mixer to whisk until well mixed as indicated in the fourth images.

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  • Take out the spring form tin from the refrigerator and place some whipped cream cheese on top of the biscuit crust.

  • Place two to three tablespoons of dragon fruit puree on top of the whipped creamed and followed by another level of whipped cream cheese.

  • Perform the same procedures alternating between whipped cream cheese and dragon fruit puree until all was done. Use a knife to lightly swirl through the cheesecake.

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  • Lightly tap or shake your baking tin and you will see patterns start to evolve.

  • Chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. Top with whipped cream or additional red dragon fruit or other topping as you wished.

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CONCLUSION

Not as difficult as one thinks to make this cake, The visual effect, in my humble opinion is astonishing. While in my red dragon fruit pie bars, the red dragon fruit appeared to be red in colour. However, in this cake, it appeared to be purplish colour which shocked me!

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It is a big cake, a 9” inches diameter cheese cake, I am now thinking how I can finish the whole cake!  Haha. If you are interested on cheese cakes, you may want to check out my other two cheese cakes –  Durian Cheese Cake , Ferraro Rocher Ice Cream Cheese Cake not forgetting the peanut flavour cream cheese ice – cream.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Soft Chewy or Crispy,You Choose Yourself! – Baby Cereal Oatmeal Cranberry Biscuits (麦片饼干)

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UPDATED POST ON 2-10-2014

A biscuit that I like very much but went unnoticed because I did not like the initial pictures taken.. Since I have some cereal at home, I decided to prepare this for my relatives as a hand gift. Nothing change except that I substitute the oats portion with instant cereal since I do not have it at home. In addition, instead of cranberry, I have used raisin instead. It is crispy outside and chewy in the middle. You can make it totally crispy if you make it a smaller size and extend the baking time at a lower temperature. A rather addictive cookie and I really love the cereal flavouring.

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INTRODUCTION

One number baking ratio now extends it to biscuit and of course it had to be slightly amended. In this recipe, one portion of milk was being substituted by a portion of flour to make it a cookie liked structure.  This biscuits can be a soft chewy type of biscuit that is crispy on the outside but slightly soft in the middle. It can also be a crispy type of biscuits it you prefer it to be crunchy.

This is not the first time I prepared these biscuits. I prepared these biscuits a few months back. I loved it for its chewy texture and the baby cereal fragrance.

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WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN INSTANT OATS “MEET” QUAKER OATS

I like to blend my instant Quaker Oats with the Nestum Baby Cereals and make it into a breakfast cereal drink. I usually put 50% of instant oats and 50% of baby cereals and use a food processor to blend these two items. The breakfast cereal drinks will have instant oats “stickiness” but with baby cereals fragrance. I usually sweetened it by some condensed milk and if it was too “sticky”, I will add in some fresh milk. Bananas and nuts were added when I craved for it. May be I shall have another post on this wonderful breakfast drinks and you wouldn’t be disappointed with this cereal drink..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 100 grams of butter

  • 100 grams of plain flour

  • 50 grams of instant oat

  • 50 grams of instant baby cereals

  • 100 grams of sugar

  • 100 grams of eggs

  • 50 grams of cranberry (optional and substitutable with raisins or other dry fruits)

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

  • 0.5 teaspoon of baking soda

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the instant oat baby cereal mixture

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  • Blend 50 grams of instant oats and instant baby cereal each using a food processor until your desired textures.


Preparation

  • Get ready 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper or baking paper.

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.

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Preparation the batter and baking

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  • Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and followed by the mixture of oats/baby cereals. Stir and mix well.

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  • Add in the sifted flour, baking powder and baking soda, mix until just combined. Stir in cranberries or raisins and mix well.

  • Place one teaspoon/tablespoon full of soft dough (depending on the size you want) on the parchment or baking paper.  Give adequate space for the dough to expand when cooked.

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until the colour starts to turn golden brown on the edges but still soft in the centre.

  • Cooled completely in a rack before store in an air tight container.

  • Best served with hot tea and coffee and as a snack.

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VARIATIONS

  • If you preferred the crunchy version, after the 20 minutes baking at 180 degree Celsius, reduce your temperature to 150 degree Celsius and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Note that the cookies will not be hardened until you take it out from the oven. Let it cool and see if that is your desired texture. In the event you prefer to be even crispier, put back to the oven and baked for another 5 minutes. The longer you baked, the more moisture will be lost making it to be crispier. However, do watch out for the colour of cookies. If it is too brown, you can turn off the top heat and use the bottom heat to continue the baking.


CONCLUSION

From preparing the biscuits until I finished this posting, it took me about 2 hours. Therefore, readers should comprehend how easy this biscuit was. If you like baby cereal like I do, you will like it. If you like soft chewy type of biscuits where the edges are crispy and soft in the inside, you will like it. Take a step to make this, tailor to your family taste buds, it definitely wouldn’t disappoint yourself and your family members.

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Join me to have some of these cookies as breakfast and of course, not forgetting a cup of hot Earl Grey tea.

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Cheers and have a nice day!

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Burnt, Hot, Spicy– I am running away!!!– Understanding Chilli Pepper and Making Of Chilli Sauce

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I am not running away, in fact, I like chilli peppers. The spicier the merrier.

I like to make my own chilli sauce, I will find the spiciest chilli I can for the making of my chilli sauce. I have to make my chilli sauce at least 3-4 times a year making and average out using about 1 kg of chilli each time. I usually prepare my chilli sauce in its base form. Thereafter, I used it for a dip or for cooking. When I do not have appetite to take my meals or when the meals is not tastier, yucky, one scope of my chilli sauce will help me to finish the entire meals.

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This post will have 3 sections.

  • Section 1 – types of chilli that you can get in Singapore and Malaysia, and its spiciness.
  • Section 2 – my simple way of making the chilli sauce 
  • Section 3 – what will happen if you have a chilli burn!

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SECTION 1 – CHOOSING THE CHILLI

It is rather common to hear that people (particularly man)  comparing how well they can take the spiciness of a food. They will use the ability to take spiciness of a food as a measurement of “manliness”. However, pardon me, with no adequate knowledge on the objective measurement of the spiciness of chilli that they are eating, such argument usually ended up with boosting oneself without letting go individual own stands.

Chilli’s or pepper’s spiciness, in fact can be measured by  Scoville Heat Unit (“SHU”) that in turn measured by the capsaicin in a given species of the chilli. Lets learn some fundamentals of chillies as extracted from www.artofmanliness.com.

“Peppers, often known for their heat, or spiciness, are ranked according to the Scoville Scale. The Scoville Scale, created by Wilbur Scoville in the early 20th century, measures the amount of capsaicin in a given species of pepper. Capsaicin is the chemical within peppers that makes them spicy. The Scoville Heat Units (or SHU) of a pepper represent the number of times the capsaicin within the pepper would have to be diluted before it would be undetectable. For example, you would have to dilute the capsaicin found in your average jalapeno 2500 times before it would seemingly have no spiciness at all, giving it a SHU rating of 2500”  Http://www.artofmanliness.com/

The picture below will show you various types of chilli and its spiciness.

 

Source : http://chilibloggen.se/category/chili.html

 

So, from the above picture, the common chilli that was commonly consumed in Malaysia and Singapore were summarized below:

Bell Pepper/Capsicum/Red Pepper SHU = 0
Cayenne Pepper/Red Chilli SHU = 60,000
Thai Chilli/Bird Eye Chilli /Chilli Padi SHU = 150,000
Habanero/Red Savina SHU = 350,000

The spiciest chilli is called the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend,  endemic to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago, is currently the world’s hottest chilli pepper cultivated. According to the New Mexico State University, the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend ranks as high as 2,009,231 SHU on the Scoville scale, making it the hottest chilli pepper in the world to date. Paul Bosland, a chilli pepper expert and director of the Institute, said that, “You take a bite. It doesn’t seem so bad, and then it builds and it builds and it builds. So it is quite nasty.

 

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinidad_Moruga_Scorpion 


 

SECTION 2 – MAKING THE CHILLI SAUCE

I usually prepare this chilli sauce in its base forms with minimal condiments or seasonings. Vinegar and some salt is used to preserve the chilli and prevent it from turning bad.

I have added different condiments with the base chilli sauce so that it can be used for dips for different dishes or for frying dishes. For example:

Chicken Rice Chilli Base chilli sauce + ginger + calamansi skin + garlic + seasonings
Popiah Chilli Nothing added
Sambal Belachan for frying Chinese water cress etc. Shrimp Paste (Belachan) or small prawns or anchovies + lemon grass + shallots
Dips for fish Kalamansi + sliced garlic + dark/light soya sauce
Fried rice Nothing added
Roast pork Base chilli sauce + sugar + garlic, ginger + fermented bean curd
Braised duck (Teochew) Chopped garlic + white vinegar


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  •  Some chilli of your liking and tolerance : I have brought these 3 types of chilli from Kuching, Sarawak when I walked by the wet market in Kuching. I was extremely happy to find some Habanero chilli (SHU: 350,000 units) and I have bought all the stock that the stall owner had. These Habanero chilli are rather difficult to buy and it is more costly than the other types of chilli.  The other two types of chilli are Thai Chilli or Bird Eye Chilli (Chilli Padi in Malay Language) (SHU:150,000 units) and some rather common Cayenne pepper (SHU:60,000 units).
  • White Vinegar – adequate to cover the volume of blended chilli. White vinegar serves as a preservative in this recipe. As the blended chilli is not cooked, in order to avoid the chilli paste from turning bad, white vinegar is used.
  • Salt – to taste and its role is also act as a preservative agent.

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PREPARATION STEPS

The steps are rather simple and basic. But one important point to note is that ALL INGREDIENTS, PREPARATION EQUIPMENT AND CONTAINERS MUST BE CLEAN. If possible, sterile your container with hot water but make sure that it is dry before you place the chilli sauce in it. This is to prevent the growing of bacteria in your uncooked chilli sauce.

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  • Wash all chilli and if possible, dry it under the sun. Otherwise, pat dry using a dry cloth. 
  • Place all dry chilli into a food processor and processed it until the smallest chunks possible.
  • Note: If your blender is able to cut the chilli until the size that you want, you can by pass the use of food processor. Food processor is used here because Habanero chilli is quite big and it take quite it a while to cut it small, therefore, I opt to use a food processor and transfer into the cut chilli into the blender.

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  • Transfer the chilli chunks into a clean blender. Add some salt and white vinegar. The amount of white vinegar shall be at least adequate to cover the chilli chunks.
  • Blend at high speed until fine.
  • Carefully scope out the chilli sauce and place in a clean sterilized container . Add more vinegar if desired. Wait for the chilli to cool until room temperature, close the lid and keep in the fridge. (Note: when you grind the chilli, the temperature will increase, therefore, in order to avoid any unwanted water vapour in your chilli sauce, it is best that you let them cool until room temperature before you store them.)

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If you do not want the chilli to be that spicy, you can tone down the spiciness by de-seeding the chilli. You will need to cut open the chilli and take away all the seeds before you proceed to the grinding. However, do be careful not to touch the chilli seeds as it can be rather difficult to get rid of the chilli heat. So, it is advisable to use a glove before you proceed with the cutting.

This chilli sauce can be stored for at least half a year. But you have to make sure that every time you scoop out the chilli sauce, a clean dry spoon is used. Otherwise, the dirty spoon will introduce bacteria to the container and it will spoilt the chilli sauce.

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Preparing Base chilli from dry chillies

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At times, you may not be able to get hold of lots of fresh chillies or when chillies are not in the season and become costly, I have used the dried chillies to prepare the sauce. The preparation is slightly different but the taste is not the same as fresh chilli sauce. But the colour of the chilli sauce will be more attractive. For this version, I usually cooked with the chilli sauce so that it can be kept longer.

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  • Soak the chilli until soft (about 30 minutes). Use a food processor to blend the chilli until as fine as you can. For food processor, it is impossible to blend the chilli seeds, therefore, you will need to transfer the blended chilli to a blender. Add water just adequate to cover the chilli.

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  • Blend the chilli until the seeds are well blended. In a pot with a few tablespoon of cooking oil, stir fry the chilli sauce under medium heat.

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  • Stir fry until oil starts to sip out of the chilli paste, it become dry and aroma of cooked chilli starts to permeates the house. Add sugar and salt to taste. Off heat, transfer to sterilized container for cooling. Cool completely at room temperature before store in fridge.

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Notes:

  • Variations of this chilli sauce are many. However, I like my chilli sauce to be as basic as possible. In the process of stir frying, you can add in the following ingredients to make it become chilli sauce for nasi lemak or etc. : shallots, garlics, lemon grass, shrimp paste (belachan), buah keras. All this should be blend well and stir fry together with the base chilli sauce. If you want it to be even spicier, you can add some chilli padi .

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  • Uses of this chilli sauce: Can be used for stir frying kangkong or even petai as follow, cooking curry, as a dip (put belachan and calamansi), diluted with vinegar to go with Kuih Chap or oyster omelette etc.. Curry cooked with this chilli sauce will be beautifully coloured.

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  •  For dipping purposes: Just have a tablespoon of vinegar or lime juice, add additional salt or light soya sauce, shallot oil and it will be good as a dip for fried fish and etc.

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I have used the base chilli to stir fry with some petai. Put some cooking oil, sauté onions, belachan and baby shrimps until fragrance, add petai and followed by 2-3 tablespoons of this homemade chilli sauce, add additional seasonings and the sambal petai is ready.

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SECTION 3 – TAKING CARE OF YOUR HANDS   

It may be unfair for me to share with you how to make chilli sauce without sharing with you how to take care of you hand.

In my previous attempt to make chilli sauce,  I have a very bad experience whereby my hand was “burn” for one whole night by the chilli residue while I was washing the blender and food processor. That day, as I was out of time, I have forgot to wear a glove or “plastic bag” when I washed the food processor. To make the matter worse, I use the same sponge to clean the other dishes for dinner. Almost immediately, my whole palm was feeling extremely hot and when I accidentally scratched my face, my face got the hot feeling too. I have used many methods but none was able to stop the heat immediately. It really make me panic as I never have such an encounter before. As I am extremely tired that night, I just cut a stem of aloe vera and applied to the “injured part”, and that make my hand felt slightly better. I fell asleep when I was waiting for the heat to subside and when I woke up, the hand is getting normal again.

So, be careful with your hands. In the internet, there are many ways of reducing the heat arising from touching the chilli (or more specifically, capsaicin) and I have selected 5 ways for your consideration. Some methods can be applied if you accidentally ate some extremely hot chilli and the heat remained in your mouth:

  • Wash your hand using cold milk  – Milk have a protein called casein which is a natural “enemy” to capsaicin. The colder the milk, the better it is. This however, can be a wastage as you will constantly need to wash with new milks when the effect is less. Therefore, quite a lot of milks will be required. However, if you accidentally eat something spicy, this is a good way to reduce the chilli burn in your mouth. My kids can testify this, haha!!
  • Wash your hand with hard liquor or any other types of alcohol. Capsaicin do not dissolve in water but dissolve in alcohol. Drink some alcohol may help with the burning sensation in your mouth.
  • Rub your hand with salt and slightly some water. The salt will scrap away the capsaicin that is in your hand. Alternatively, sugar can also be used. Finish off with a rinse of milk and soap.
  • Wash your hand with oil. Capsaicin also dissolve in vegetable oil beside alcohol and casein.
  • Wash your hand with vinegar (or some form of acidic solutions) and soaps.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • Bird eye chilli is not the spiciest chilli as what most Malaysian and Singaporean thought. The spiciest chilli now on Guinness World of Records is in Trinidad called Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend. It is about 13 times spicier than the Chilli padi and 33 times spicier than the normal cayenne chilli that we used for our normal cooking.
  • Making chilli sauce is not difficult. It is advisable to make chilli sauce in its very basic form. Add relevant seasonings and condiments for different type of dishes. This will save your time in preparing different chilli for different dish.
  • There is no one fixed way of getting rids of chilli burn in your skin or your mouth. The above 5 methods are common solvents (milk, vinegar, alcohol, sugar, oil)  for the active ingredients in chilli, capsaicin. Dealing with chilli have to be careful, wear gloves if possible. Washing of utensils used in the preparation of chilli sauce have to be extra careful. Capsaicin vapour will rush out when water was flush to the equipment. You may start to cough or your tears may flow when capsaicin reach your eyes and throats. Therefore, washing have be careful using slow water avoid touching the capsaicin.
  • To reduce the spiciness of the chilli, de-seeding will help.

Lastly, thanks for reading this interesting cooking ingredient commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore.

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Hope you LIKE the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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