It can happen to the best of us. We taste our food that’s cooking and WOW it’s too spicy! This can happen in a number of ways and we’ve all done it at one time or another. All is not lost. There ARE ways to salvage the dish.
Below is a video where I discuss this topic. Written notes are below the video.
I hope this helps!
Add more of the other ingredients to tone down the spiciness. Depending on what the dish is, you could add more liquid, protein, starches, vegetables, or other ingredients to counter the spiciness. Adding some bland ingredients like potatoes or rice can help, even if not in the original recipe. If doubling the recipe, be sure not to add more spicy ingredients until you’ve added the other ingredients, allowed it to cook some, THEN tasted it first before adding anything else.
Add a dairy ingredient. Milk, cream, sour cream, or yogurt can cool off spiciness in a dish. BUT, be careful about adding milk-based items to a cooking hot liquid, as the sudden heat could cause the milk to curdle. Instead, add a little to each serving after it has cooled just a bit. Coconut milk is a good alternative that may also work well in calming spiciness in a food.
Add some acid. Adding some form of acid, like citrus juice, vinegar or even ketchup can cut the spiciness of a food. This trick is often used in Thai cuisine, known for its spicy foods.
Add some sweetener. Adding a little sweetener of choice can help to cut the spiciness in a food. Just be careful not to add too much or your dish may end up tasting like an odd dessert.
Add a spoonful of nut butter. A spoonful of nut butter added to a spicy soup or stew can help to reduce the spiciness without its flavor being noticeable. Peanut, almond, or cashew butter, and tahini are possible options.
Serve the spicy food with something bland and starchy. Pairing a spicy food with a bland starchy food can balance the flavors out so nothing is overly bland nor spicy. Crusty bread, rice, potatoes, or pasta are all possible candidates.
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.