Friday, 1 July 2011
You might enjoy spicy food, but sometimes perhaps you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
What do we do when it feels like we’ve got a mouth full of hot coals?
Our instincts tell us to get some water in the mouth. Seems logical. After all, water is what puts out real fires…
But water is a terrible mistake!
The reason is that the colourless, odourless and sometimes waxy chemicals in hot foods that create the burning sensation are “hydrophobic”: meaning they are water-repellent.
So when we put water in a mouth burning of spice, the spice doesn’t dilute…it actually gets spread around.
So what is the best form of relief?
Dairy is the secret!
Instead of scrambling to get water from the kitchen faucet, you’ll want to make a run for a glass of cold milk.
The reason dairy is effective is because it tends to have a high fat content. While the spicy chemicals don’t dissolve in water, they do dissolve in oil. This will begin to dowse the flames in your mouth.
If dairy isn’t an option, you’ll want to go for a highly sweetened, non-carbonated drink, as sugar also can counteract the heat.
If after cooking your pot of chilli you find that you went overboard on the spice, adding some yoghurt or sour cream can often take the spice level down a few notches.
This is often more practical than tripling the recipe in an attempt to dilute and then having a 3 month supply of food left over.