You can tone down the spice level in hot foods by making a few simple additions to the recipe. Food that has been over-spiced can become extremely hot and difficult to eat without discomfort. Capsaicin is the natural chemical component in chilli peppers that causes them to be hot. Some dairy products contain a protein called casein that bonds to capsaicin and reduces its effects. Adding dairy in small amounts will reduce the overall spicy heat of a dish.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Whole milk, plain yoghurt, cheese or sour cream
- 1/4 cup measuring cup
Add a quarter cup of dairy for every eight cups of spicy food and stir them together to combine thoroughly.
Take a small sip or bite of the dairy to cleanse your palate before tasting the food to see if the spice level was sufficiently reduced by the first dairy addition.
Pour a second quarter cup of dairy into the spicy food and stir until it is completely mixed.
Cleanse your palate with another sip or bite of dairy before tasting the dish for a second time to determine the heat level. Continue augmenting the dish with dairy and tasting until you are happy with the spice level of the food.
Tips and warnings
- Increase the volume of a soup by adding more stock or water to spread out the spicy heat. Serve the spicy soup with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt on the side so diners can customise the heat level.
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