If you inadvertently add more spice to food while preparing a meal, it can turn unpalatable. High concentrations of capsaicin in ingredients such as jalapeños and other chilli peppers can cause mouth burns and ulcers. You can neutralise the spice in your meal with sugar-based, acid-based and fat-based ingredients, and make it palatable and enjoyable.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Potato masher
- Tomato purée
- Lime juice
- Sour cream
- Whipped cream
Open a can of pineapple and crush the pineapple pieces with a potato masher. Add the mashed pineapple pieces along with the juice to the spicy food. Stir and cook for five minutes. The sugar acids in the pineapple will quickly absorb the heat and counteract the spicy flavour.
Add acid-based ingredients such as tomatoes and lime juice to the spicy food. Proportionately mix a can of tomato purée or around 2 tbsp of lime juice, until all the spice in the food is absorbed.
Add fat-based products such as sour cream, whipped cream, yoghurt or guacamole to the spicy food. Capsaicin molecules are fat-soluble and will neutralise in the presence of fat-based foods.
Peel and chop a potato. Add it to the spicy food and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and discard the potato, which will absorb most of the spice.
Tips and warnings
- Serve the spicy meal with sweet, noncarbonated drinks and citrus fruit accompaniments.
- Do not drink water to counteract the spicy food, as capsaicin is not water-soluble and will not reduce the hot taste.
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