Whether you mistook habaneros for jalapenos, cayenne pepper for chili powder, or just misjudged how much spice you can handle, you now have a dish with too much heat. Your sauce, soup, or chili is extra spicy, so how do you un-spice it? Chilies are quite different from sugar and salt. As Ido Fishman says, the amount of sugar or salt you add will increase the sweetness and saltiness of the dish, respectively. The problem is that there is an astronomical amount of heat in a tiny chili pepper and this can make it easy for people to make mistakes.
So, what do you do? Ido Fishman has provided a guide that can help you in fixing a dish that’s become too spicy. Read on to know what to do:
- Taste as you go
Similar to when you use too much sugar, or too much salt, there is no way that you can actually cancel out all the spiciness. Therefore, when you are cooking, the adage ‘taste as you go’ should always be in your mind. But, what does this mean, exactly? This means that you should sample the food at the beginning, during the middle of cooking, and once more before you serve it. Furthermore, it also implies that when you are adding a seasoning like sugar, salt or hot chilies, especially when an excess amount can ruin the dish, you should add it one ingredient at a time.
Add it little by little and also taste it along to see if you need to add just a bit, or all of it. Ido Fishman states that you should remember that it takes a minute or so for the spice you have added, or the flavors, to permeate the food fully. Therefore, don’t taste right away. Give it a bit of time and then see if adjustments are needed. This can help you in preventing a too-spicy dish altogether.
- Diluting a spicy dish
If, during the tasting process, you find out that your dish has become too spicy, you will obviously want to fix it. As per Ido Fishman, you can balance out the heat by adding sweetness and there are also certain kinds of fat that can also wash away capsaicin physically, which is the burning compound found in chilies. However, this is not a complete solution because it will not reduce the spiciness of the dish. These remedies need to be used in conjunction with the one and only way you can reduce spiciness; diluting it.
This means that you add more of the other ingredients in the dish and this will help in reducing the relative amount of spiciness in it. Of course, doing this is easiest in the case of stew, soup and sauce. If the dish is twice as spicy as you wanted it to be, Chef Ido Fishman recommends that you double the volume of everything else in it and not add any more spice. For instance, if you were making chili and used a pound of ground beef and two cans of tomatoes, you just use two more cans and another pound of ground beef. Sure, you will have more food, but it is better than a too-spicy dish that no one can eat.
- Balance the heat
After you have halved the spiciness, you can balance the remaining heat in the dish with other ingredients and flavors. As per Ido Fishman, it means that you add a dairy product, or something sweet, or both. Dairy products, such as cheese and milk contain a protein known as casein that binds to capsaicin. This will detach them from your tongue and they will wash down your throat. Of course, the heat just shifts to another location in the body, but it certainly soothes your mouth.
This guide by Ido Fishman can be quite helpful in fixing your spicy dish so it becomes edible.