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CHILES AND OYSTERS RECIPE BY TALLYRAND

Valentine’s Day and the heat is on . . . . .

OystersFollowing on from my previous columns on spices, garlic and ginger, what could be more firey, more hot and more passionate for lovers than chillies? Not to mention two recipes of the week that not only use chillies but those other two great aphrodisiacs, oysters and chocolate!

Being the start of the Chinese New Year (of the Horse, I believe) the oyster recipe has an Asian flavour . . . “Gung Hoy Bok Choy” is the Chinese New Year Greeting. Bok Choy is also of course the name of a Chinese cabbage, so I have created and tested this week’s recipe to appease everyone and everything!

Chiles

Chilie, chillie or chile that is the question? All are acceptable spellings for this fiery plant, technically though chile is the plant and chilie / chillie is the famous Mexican dish. Chiles are a genus Capsicum and is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae) as is the potato, tobacco, petunia and others. Native to Central and South America but widely cultivated throughout the world now.

What makes them hot in the first place? It is a chemical called Capsaicin (also spelled capsaicine) one of several organic nitrogen compounds in a pungent lipid group known as capsaicinoids. Each capsaicinoid (there are five of them) produces a slightly different burn. The hottest and most famous of the five is the capsaicin. It is this magic bullet that produces the sensation of fire in your mouth. When the fire hits, your mouth sends a signal to your brain that signals the release of natural pain relievers, which we all love. The amount of capsaicin in a hot pepper is expressed in what is called Scoville Units, the higher the units the hotter the chile.

These compounds are generally concentrated in the ‘placenta’ to which the seeds are attached. A smaller amount is found in the veins or white lines running from the top of the pepper to the bottom. The seeds contain only a small portion of capsaicin but will seem more pungent due to their concentration, the reason many recipes suggest removing the seeds (and something even many professional chefs mis-understand) is that biting into a seed can be an uncomfortable experience.

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In order to douse the heat when eating chilli peppers, one should drink milk or eat with yoghurt or other dairy. The capsaicin oils are not soluble in water and any water based liquid, beer etc will only aggravate the condition. Dairy products are especially effective at breaking down capsaicin oils and also lining the tongue, throat and stomach against the heat. Have you ever noticed how cultures that eat a lot of chile also serve their foods with dairy foods? Sour cream in or on Mexican foods, yoghurt with Indian foods? Coincidence? I don’t think so!

How hot is hot? What chiles should you use? Generally red fresh fruit are two to three times hotter than green fruit, and dried pods are two to ten times hotter than fresh pods.

Word of WARNING!

When handling any form of chile, always immediately wash your hands afterwards, doing a thorough job with a nail brush or better still use surgical gloves. Otherwise touching any sensitive parts of the body: eyes, nose, mouth, genitals will be a very painful experience.

The most requested recipe I get is for the original Aztec chocolate drink that uses chiles and as far as I am aware I am the only website with this recipe! If you would like to give this unusual beverage a try, join me again at Tallyrand’s Culinary Fare.

Have a hot, romantic Valentine’s Day . . . bon appetit and enjoy!

GUNG HOY BOK CHOY OYSTERS RECIPE

This aromatic dish brings together so many flavours, but ones that work so well together and with the added oysters . . . it is the perfect dish to serve your partner on your romantic, candlelit Valentine’s dinner and nothing could be simpler. You can prepare everything ahead of time and then just cook them when you are ready.

Julienne is the professional culinary term for fine strips. They are best achieved by using a potato peeler to obtain very thin slices and then use a knife to cut them into angel hair like strips.

Ingredients

oysters

1

doz

bok choy leaves

8

pc

salad oil

2

tsp

bamboo shoots (julienne)

25

gms

ginger (julienne)

25

gms

spring onion (julienne)

25

gms

carrot (julienne)

1/2

pc

fresh red chillie (julienne)

½

pc

garlic cloves (thinly sliced)

2

pc

Shiitaake mushrooms (thinly sliced)

2

pc

sesame oil

1/2

tsp

     

egg white

2

pc

coriander leaves (roughly chopped)

2

tbs

     

Worc. sauce

2

tsp

soy sauce

2

tsp

Method

  • Plunge the bok choy leaves in a boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, run under cold water, drain well and place in a heap in the centre of a plate
  • Heat salad oil in heavy skillet over med. heat, add the julienne, garlic and mushrooms
  • Stir fry over high heat (without colouring) until they release their aromas (approximately 20 - 30 seconds) and wilt, remove from the heat, add the sesame oil and set aside until cold
  • Remove the oysters from shells and arrange the shells on the plate around the bok choy
  • Beat egg whites to stiff peak stage with a pinch of salt and fold in the coriander
  • Spoon a little into the shells and grill until golden brown (this will warm the bok choy through also)
  • Arrange the raw oysters and the vegetables onto shells, alternating which are on top for effect
  • Spoon over any juices and serve immediately with the sauces separate

Chef's Tip

Remember the warning when handling chile!

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

  lt
=
litres   tsp = teaspoon
  ml
=
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
  kg
=
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
  gm
=
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Tallyrand
Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com