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I like to use green finger chillies in my curries more for the flavour than for the heat, but in order for me to be able to cook out the rawness of the chillies, I end up with the chillies all "melted" in the pan, looking more like leaves, i.e they lose shape. I was wondering if there are any tricks to make fresh chilli less hot and thus needing less cooking time in order for the chilli to be less picquant.

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Advance warning: I haven't tried this.

It seems that you don't want to remove the ovaries because that would affect the shape, but you do want to remove the capsaicin from them. It's soluble in fat and alcohol, so you could try making a small hole in the bottom and pumping a light vegetable oil or vodka through from the other end using a syringe. Obviously you're likely to end up with some solvent trapped inside, and you might also wash away some of the flavours you're trying to preserve, so experimentation would be necessary.

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    Since the integrity of the fruit is not compromised, you probably would not wash away good flavors. But without being able to expose the interior to a large volume of solvent, I am not sure how effective this would be. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 14 '14 at 16:37
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Most of the heat in a chili pepper is concentrated on the ribs and membrane that holds the seeds.

By cutting out those parts, and using only the fleshy part of the fruit, you will get less heat.

The heat can also be mitigated by dairy or fatty ingredients in the dish in which you incorporate the chili, as they tend to help wash away the hotness in the mouth.

  • I should have added that I don't intend to deseed the chillies as I consider that to be part of the shape that I want to preserve. :) – Goncalo Mar 14 '14 at 3:47
  • I don't know what to say; those goals are contradictory. If you use the seeds and membranes, they will bring the heat along with them. BTW. cooking them longer doesn't really reduce the heat; capsaicin, the hot chemical in chili peppers, is not that heat sensitive (it requires about 400 C to break it down). So cooking them down thinking it will reduce the heat is not going to work for you. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 14 '14 at 3:54
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    Of course, you can always use less... and there is the option of exploring different peppers whose flavor you might like but which are not as hot. If you are using them whole, don't cut them open--that will help keep the heat inside, by physically trapping it there. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 14 '14 at 3:56
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If you want chili flavor rather than heat then add the chilis in whole, they will keep their shape well. Just be careful about eating them, they will be fearsomely hot!

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I've seen hot chilies blended with red bell pepper (seeds in) to add volume without impacting heat. This works well for Harissa sauce, where tomato is unwelcome.

Whole chilies are used in Indian dishes, but cooks advise care. Breaking the peppers will seriously overheat the dish.

I suspect blending hot and mild chilies is the best approach, but I'm looking forward to other suggestions.

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