Basic But Presentable, Basic But Irresistible…Basic Raisin Scones Shared… (葡萄干司康)

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Updated Post on : 7 September 2014

This post was issued on 7 July 2013, more than a year ago. Then I just started my blog and I barely have any idea of photo taking for the recipes. I felt that I have not do any justice to this post as it is a workable recipe that I like very much. Since today I am preparing this for breakfast, I have decided to do another photo shot.

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All scones recipes are basically the same, comprising flour, milk and butter. What create a difference is the handling, remember : LIGHT AND SWIFT HANDLING, as long as it can form a dough, you can shape and bake. Scones will never look pretty, a rugged look will mean it is well risen and air were incorporated into the pastry. Hope all will like it.

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INTRODUCTION

Yes, today baking item is rather simple and basic. There is no short cut method and lets start from the basic of “pastry” making. A traditional, simple yet delicious breakfast items – Raisin Scones.

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SCONE DEFINED

A scone is a single-serving cake or quick bread. They are usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal, with baking powder as a leavening agent, and are baked on sheet pans. They are often lightly sweetened and are occasionally glazed. The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. It differs from a tea cake and other sweet buns, which are made with yeast. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scone)

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WHAT IS NEEDED?

Materials for scone are extremely simple and basic. It is flour (wheat flour or oatmeal flour), liquid (milk), fats (butter) and some leavening agents (baking powder). It’s proportion of butter to flour are very low therefore, making it drier and unlike cakes which are moist and greasy.

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The following measurements are in the making 10 medium sized scones.

  • 500 g of plain flour – sieved
  • 100 g of cold butter cut into cubes and keep in the fridge for further use.
  • 2 cups (about 500 ml) of cold milk, plus a few tablespoons for glazing
  • 1 cup (about 160 g) of raisins (optional)
  • Pinches of salt.
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Preheat the oven to hot 2200C and lightly grease a baking tray or put a baking paper on the baking tray.
  • Sift the flour, pinches of salt and baking powder into a big mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter cubes from the fridge.
  • Use finger tips to lightly rub the butter until butter and flour are well mixed resembling crumbs. Rubbing should be light and fast.

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  • Compare the first and second picture, you can that the butter have stick to the flour and small crumbs were formed.

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  • Add in raisins and mixed lightly with the buttered flour.
  • Make a centre in the flour. Add almost all the cold milk and mix lightly in the same direction with a spoon/spatula/flat bladed knife.

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  • Mix until the dough comes together in a clump. Because the moisture content of flours may varies, therefore. amount used can also varies depending on the room temperature or attitude!  If it is too dry, use the remaining cold milk.
  • Dust some flour in the table and in your hand.

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  • Use floured hand and gather the dough together.
  • Lightly shape it into a smooth ball and lift out onto a lightly floured surface;
  • Lightly pat the dough in a 2 cm thick and use a rolling pin to lightly roll on the dough until even.
  • Use a 5 cm diameter cutter to cut the scones into rounds. Note that if you do not have the round cutter, you can also cut it into a triangular shape which is perfectly acceptable for a scone. Traditional scones are triangular shapes in fact.

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  • Gather the trimmings together, press out as before and cut more rounds.
  • Lightly brush with milk.

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  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until risen and golden on top.
  • If it had already risen and the top is not golden yet, brushed with additional milk and bake until the milk dries up. The color shall be darker now.

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  • A successful should have some signs of rising along the side signifying that it is well risen, light and not compact.

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  • Scones are best served fresh from the oven, warm at room temperature.
  • Served  with whipped cream, butter or jam. All these are suggestions and optional. However, the combination of these three items with a warm scone is definitely worth the efforts of preparing it.
  • Usually, it was usually served as a breakfast item or at tea time “quick breads” with a pot of hot tea.
  • If you can’t finish the scone, just freeze it. Heat up before next servings.

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TIPS ON MAKING A GOOD SCONE

If you are observant enough, you will notice that I have kept repeating the words “cold” and “light”. Yes, in order to have butter crumbs, the butter need to be cold so that it is in a solid state.

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If the butter melts at room temperature (it will at times when the room temperature is too high, it will not become a crumb but become a batter instead. The need to have butter in solid form is to introduce air into the dough. When butter melts, it will become a hole in the dough and replaced by air. The scone will be lighter and softer.

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The same principle applies to light handling of the dough. The use of flat bladed knife will introduce air to the mixture, rough handling on the other hand, will push all the air out of dough causing the dough to be hard and possibly chewy. Therefore, never knead your dough like making the bread.

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CONCLUSION

To conclude:

  • Scones are easy to prepare and an excellent choice of breakfast or tea time item.
  • As scones have very low fat contents, it is rather dry and usually served with cream, jam or butter. However, these are all optional depending on individual health objectives.
  • All types of scones are prepared using the same principle, adding the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, mix the dough as briefly, lightly and swiftly as possible. This recipe is rather basic and you can easily modify it to become cranberry, lemon flavoured or other flavours that suit your taste buds.

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Lastly, hope that you enjoy reading and take a step out to try making the scones..  

Have a nice day and cheers.

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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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Prawn noodles? Hokkien noodles?… No, it is Singapore Hokkien Fried Prawn Noodles (新加玻福建炒虾面)

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INTRODUCTION

The title of this dish will have to be very exact! It should be called “Singapore Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodles” or “Singapore Hokkien Hay Noodles”.

Singapore has to be included because it is uniquely Singapore and you can’t find elsewhere, not even in Malaysia.

The word “Fried” have to be used because it had to differentiate the Penang prawn noodles which is a soup based noodles as explained below.

Hokkien” have to be included because “prawn mee” alone can mean the soup version of prawn mee famous in Penang whereby you used the prawn broth and to make the soup and usually served with watercress (kangkong), pork ribs and blanched prawns.

   Pic courtesy of : http://kaka-penang-prawn-mee.blogspot.sg/p/prawn-mee.html

Omitting the prawns and Singapore will become Hokkien Mee, and it can refer to another type of noodle dish that was commonly eaten in Kuala Lumpur usually fried with black sauce, cabbages, prawns and pork.

  Pic courtesy of:  http://ieatishootipost.sg/2011/07/restoran-ahwa-kl-hokkien-mee-in.html

Today’s post is about Singapore Hokkien Fried Prawn Noodles which shall look like this:

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Readers who wanted to have a more detailed distinction of various prawn noodles can refer to the explanation here.


PRAWN NOODLES DEFINED

Wikipedia defines:

Hokkien mee refers to fried noodles cooked in Hokkien (Fujian) style. Hokkien mee is served in many Southeast Asian countries (mostly Malaysia and Singapore) and was brought there by immigrants from the Fujian province in south easternChina. In Singapore, Hokkien mee refers to a variant of the Penang version of Hokkien hay mee. The dish uses the same egg noodles and rice noodles used in Hokkien hay mee, but is stir fried in lard and served dry. The main ingredients are shrimps and small pieces of sliced pork. It is usually served with lime and sambalchilli.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokkien_mee)

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WHAT IS NEEDED?

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  • Half kilogram of prawns – Wash clean, pluck the head and set aside. Keep the heads for making prawn stock. You can consider collecting raw prawn heads from cooking other dishes and keep it until a sizeable amount and start to make the prawn broth. (If desired, sotong or squids can be added in addition to prawns)
  • 400 grams of pork belly cut into thin slices (optional, can be substituted with chicken slices)
  • 5-10 large fish balls or fish cakes cut into slices
  • 4 eggs – beaten and set aside

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  • 300 g of bean sprouts – wash and set aside
  • 300 g of Chinese chives – cut into 1 inch length and set asides
  • 3 small onions cut into small slices and some chopped spring onion (optional). You can consider adding in chopped garlics as well.

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  • Some yellow noodles (300g) and some rice vermicelli (about 150 g)
  • Some calamansi for garnishing
  • Some sambal belachan to use as condiments

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the prawn stock……

The success of this dish is very much depending on the prawn broth. The prawn broth should be thick, no fishy and tasty. Generally, you may wish to keep all the prawn heads from the meals that you have prepared previously. The more prawn head you have the better will your broth be.

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  • In a pot, place some water with 2 spring onions and some ginger slices. The purpose of adding these is to get rid of the fishy smell associated with the prawns.
  • Bring the water to boil under high heat, add prawn heads and shells and boiled until the prawn heads are cooked. This is rather fast and needs may be less than 5 minutes.

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  • Sieve and transfer all prawn shells to a food processor.
  • Blend the prawn shells until fine or small chunks. Place it back into the earlier prawn stocks
  • Boil for about 30 minutes under medium heat.
  • Sieve and the prawn stock are ready for next use.

Cooking the noodles….

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  • In a hot frying pan, put some cooking oil. Throw in the chopped shallots, spring onion and fried until golden brown. It is my practice that I add salt and white pepper at this juncture. Essentially, salt will increase the temperature for frying and pepper that were fried will emit a better aroma;
  • Place the ingredients in this order. Pork belly, fish balls, chives. Fried for about 3 minutes until all the ingredients are well mixed. It is ok if the meat is not cooked as it will continue to cook in later processes.
  • Note: Traditionally, lard is used for cooking this dish, however, due to health reasons, vegetable cooking oil were used instead of lard. Of course, there will be a compromise in taste but the taste difference wouldn’t be that obvious.

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  • Sieve the prawn stock into the pan and let it boiled for 1-2 minutes.
  • Throw in the yellow noodles and rice vermicelli and let it cook for another 3 minutes.

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  • Add bean sprout and beaten eggs to the pan. The beaten eggs will serve as a thickener to the noodles gravy and add an additional fragrance.
  • Add additional seasonings if necessary (fish sauce, mushrooms concentrate, white pepper etc.… ) and mixed well.
  • Boiled for another 2 minutes and let it rest in the frying pan for another 10 minutes before serving. This will let the prawn stock have adequate time to penetrate the noodles and rice vermicelli. Note that the noodles and rice vermicelli will expand. Should you find that there is too dry, just add in some hot water and stir to make it slightly watery.

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  • Sprinkle with deep fried onion  and chopped spring onion or Chinese celery.
  • Usually served in a plate with lime and Sambal Belachan.

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CONCLUSION

  • Singapore Hokkien Prawn Noodles are unique in Singapore and should not be confused with Penang Prawn Noodles and Kuala Lumpur Hokkien Noodles.
  • Using the prawn heads to make prawn stock is a good way of maximizing the recovery of the prawns. Save the prawn heads from other dishes, make the prawn stocks and used it to cook the noodles. This will be very tasty and not much seasonings were needed. Chicken bones can be  added to make it a much tastier broth. Traditionally, lard is used for the dish but this is not encouraging because it may cause coronary complications. 
  • The noodles cooked should be soft and moist with a fragrance of meat (pork or chicken) and prawns. The lime makes the dish slightly sour and adding chili will bring the taste to another higher level of enjoyment!

Lastly, hope you LIKE this sharing and do try to make the dish and let me know whether it suit your taste buds.

Have a nice day. Cheers.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

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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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Macao and the Nobly, Elegant Lotus

National/State Flower Series – East Asia 7 – Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China – Nelumbo Nucifera

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“Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. ……… This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in North Eastern China. (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelumbo_nucifera)”

Nelumbo Nucifera is  the “state flower” for Macao Special Administrative Regions of People’s Republic of China. Beside Macao, India and Vietnam are also using this flower as national flower. But that should not be confused with Bangladesh’s national flower, water lily (睡莲)which belong to the family of Nymphaea.

Species Information

Scientific name:

Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn

Family: Nelumbonaceae
Common name(s): Lotus
Chinese name: 古莲,莲花,荷花, 芙蓉

Lotus is a perennial aquatic plants with a long history and apparently is a leader in the midsummer seasonal flowers. In the heat of summer waves, pools were full of green lotus leaves that waved slowly and its flowers were emitting a fragrance resembling fragrance from the bathing beauties. Hence, In Chinese,  lotus were also called “gentlemen flowers 花中君子” or “flowers of beautiful ladies 花中美人”

  Pic courtesy of www.micefinder.com

Macau and lotus

  • A dike north of Macau which connects to Zhua Hai and Lianfeng San was said to look like a lotus stem. Therefore, in ancient times, Macau was described as a lotus that floats in the open sea and at times being called a lotus island. Due to its unique shapes, Macao people believed that Macau was the reincarnation of a lotus flower and called Macau as the land of the treasure lotus (“莲花宝地“)。
  • Macao people loves lotus as they believed that lotus symbolizes good fortune, peace and holiness. Macau’s literature, myths, proverbs, dramas and couplets etc. often uses lotus as an avenue to express their feelings. Macao peoples daily lives, thoughts and feelings are closely associated with lotus and a bond have been established. People generally planted lotus as a hobby. There are many cultures that have elements of lotus such as lotus wordings in their door couplets.
  • Macau’s also has a lot of streets, villages and buildings that have the name associated with lotus, such as Lotus Hill(莲花山), Lin Fong Temple (莲峰庙), Lotus Stream Temple (莲溪庙), Lotus Bridge (莲花大桥), and so on.

Macao Lotus Bridge stamp(Pic Courtesy: http://gulfmannmaxicard.blogspot.sg

  • Lotus Bridge  is Macao’s third bridge with a  length of 1.3 km connecting the islands of Taipa Macau and Zhuhai Hengqin Bridge. The bridge greatly facilitated people entering to Macau International Airport and Ka Ho Container Port and Oil Terminal from mainland China. This had brought  prosperity and developments to Macao  as a whole.
  • Lotus is also the official flower emblem of Macao and appeared in Macao’s flags. It is also a common item in Macao’s stamps and currency.

                   

File:Macau SAR Regional Emblem.svg

  • The Lotus Square or Golden Lotus Square (Chinese: 金蓮花廣場; Portuguese: A Praça Flor de Lodão) is an open area of Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The area features the large bronze sculpture Lotus Flower In Full Bloom (Chinese: 盛世蓮花) and is somewhat akin to the Golden Bauhinia of neighboring Hong Kong.  (PLEASE REFER HONG KONG’S STATE FLOWER HERE). The lotus flower in full bloom symbolizes the everlasting prosperity of Macau. The sculpture was presented by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China in 1999 to mark the Macau sovereignty transfer from Portugal to the PRC. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Square)

Finally, I have finished my national flowers for East Asia and a summary will be compiled for your reference soon. Hope you enjoy the post.

 

Thank for reading.

 

National Flower Series – South East Asia 6- Myanmar

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National Flower Series – Myanmar or formally known as Burma

It is known that there are two national floral identities for Myanmar. One is Thazin and the other is the Paduak.

Thazin (Bulbophyllum auricomum)

In Burma, the the most beloved orchid of Myanmar is Thazin, (Bulbophyllum auricomum) which blooms with tiny white flowers in graceful sprays that grow out of a small, bright-green, pear shaped bulb. It symbolizes royalties and purities.

Found in Thailand, Burma, Sumatra and Java in lowland seasonal forests as a miniature to small sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte with 3.8 to 3/4″ spaced, ovoid-oblong pseudobulbs carrying 2 to 3, apical, deciduous, rather thin leaves that are often not present at blooming which is on an arching, basal, to 8 3/4″ [22 cm] long, racemose, many [25] flowered inflorescence occuring in the late fall and early winter and has fragrant flowers

This rare, dainty and almost extinct species of orchid is beloved for its simple yet delicate beauty and its remote habitat high up in mountain trees. The likability of the orchid can be seen in the Burmese cultures via songs and the literatures.   

At some point of time, they were so rare that no commoner however wealthy was allowed to wear it in the hair. It was only meant for queens and princesses and special envoys had to go deep into the jungles in Rakhine Yoma mountain ranges to collect some of these orchids for ceremonial purposes. Nowadays, people grow it easily with bulbs collected from the jungles but even then, it is still an expensive flower that brides drape around their high chignons. 

Padauk (Pterocarpus Indicus)

The Padauk (Pterocarpus Indicus) blossoms in tiny fragrant yellow-gold flowers after the first showers in April, coinciding with the Myanmar New Year festival. and the Water Festival (Thingyan). Once in bloom, the entire tree turns gold overnight. 

Due to the large concentration of yellowish flowers in the trees during the blossoming period, Padauk is often confused with Thailand’s National Flower, Cassia Fistula or Golden Shower Trees. Though both trees belong to the Fabaceae family nut Padauk belongs to the Pterocarpus Genus whereas Thailands Golden Shower Trees belong  to the Cassia Genus.

The Myanmar people regard the Paduak tree as the symbol of strength and durability. It was also being featured in the love sonnets fo a 16th century poet king and attached the elements of youth, love and romance to the flowers. The flower plays an indispensable part in traditional and religious ceremonies. The Paduak can be found throughout the country. The wood of the tree is also used for making furniture.

The flowers were worn as beautiful adornments during important racial festivities.

Source : adopted from www.mianmarburma.com and http://www.sanooaung.wordpress.com