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Too hot!!... how to cool something down when you've spiced it up too much??

I built a shrimp creole.

Originally it seemed too bland, but my efforts to rev it up have turned it burn-your-face-off hot... and really too uncomfortable for me to eat (and I like spice).

Any suggestions for tempering a dish when you've (accidentally) taken it over-the-top?

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  1. Had this same problem when I made some shrimp in adobo sauce...what i thought were anaheim peppers were actually very large spicy chili peppers...also didn't realize how hot chipotles in adobo sauce really are...anyway, the only thing that seemed to work was to scoop out as much of the sauce as possible and replace it with chicken stock. also ended up eating it over rice and wrapped in tortillas.

    1. I have no first hand experience of this, but I have heard that raw potatoes added to a sauce can leech-out (an unfortunate phrase) spice and salt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tbear

        The potato is a myth, plain and simple. It's been disproven many times.

        A potato soaks up liquid like a sponge. It doesn't selectively soak up the hot stuff or the salty stuff.

        You'd get the same result -- less liquid -- by adding a potato or a sponge or just ladleing out some of the liquid.

        Really the only thing you can do is make more of the dish without the hot ingredient and combine the two.

      2. I have read that sugar can help, but I'm not sure if that would work in a case of dramatic over-spicing.

        2 Replies
          1. re: jjones21

            Sugar works - I've done it when I've overcurried. But honestly, I usually try to offset with more of an ingredient or the ever popular coolant - beer

          2. The absolute best thing for taming spice is dairy. Wrap it in a tortilla with cheese, sourcream, even guac is good for it. Serve it over cheesy grits. Make an omelet.

            1. Too spicy? Does not compute, does not compute.

              Potatoes will not work, its an old wives tale. There are two ways to turn it down. Either add some sugar or make a non-spicy version and mix, creating a double batch which should have a more balanced heat. Regarding the sugar, you can sprinkle lightly on top and keep tasting till its better. I have done this once when i had made a very spicy/very bitter chile and after a TBS or two of dark brown sugar I finally got it the way I wanted it without dramatically changing the taste.

              The only other way deal with the heat (but not turn it down) would be to serve with some dairy, creme fraiche, sour cream, etc.

              1. Capsaicin, the "heat" factor in peppers is soluble in alcohol and fat. Potatoes will not help, because the capsaicin molecules will not bind to the potato. The only thing you can do is to either make more of the creole without the peppers and add to the mix, or to let the oil settle at the top, and soak it up with a paper towel. That will take care of some of it, but you'll still have plenty of capsaicin emulsified in the creole, so the best bet is to add more ingredients, to stretch it.

                My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

                2 Replies
                1. re: sirregular

                  This sounds well reasoned, but am I crazy to think that I have had a spicy potato before?

                  1. re: tbear

                    There are .4 grams of fat in a whole potato, so there's certainly something for the capsaicin to bind with. It isn't wholly insoluble in water, also, just not as much so as in alcohol or fat.

                    My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

                2. Dilution is one method.

                  A tangy dairy thing like sour cream or crema helps.

                  And the tried and true that we learned about in San Antonio was citrus, specifically lemon. Lemonade was astounding, better than milk or bread, at reducing the burn on my tongue when we were there (I'm a heat-wimp). :)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Morganna

                    I would think that citric acid would exacerbate the effects... The best tried-and-true method that I recommend is milk, because the casins act as a detergent to dislodge the capsaicin from the pain receptors in your tongue.

                    My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

                    1. re: sirregular

                      *shrug* And yet, when I had lemonade to drink (not very sweet lemonade) with my meal, I was able to tolerate things much hotter than I'd been able to before. :)

                      All I can think of is that lemon juice is very good at removing oils, and so perhaps it helps remove the oils clinging to the tongue. :)

                      1. re: Morganna

                        I also think the sugar in lemonade helps. Although the lemonade may not appear sweet, it still has a lot of sugar in it. And sugar can definitely help with the spice.

                  2. I'm a spice wimp. My husband loves spice - so when I made chili with too much cayenne that even HE couldn't eat we knew we had a problem. The difference is when the only thing you can 'taste' is the spicy and all other flavors are lost - that's just not pleasant.

                    So, this was a meat chili and on that thread (which I can't find) someone suggested freezing it and that certainly worked. What I ended up doing was squeezing out all of the liquid I could, adding corn to thin it out, freezing it in portions and then using the chili meat mixture on nachos with a cheese sauce.

                    I think the potato does in fact help with too salty, but not so much with the spicy.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: krissywats

                      That's interesting. My perception is that stuff comes out of the freezer hotter (chemically) than it was when I put it in. I just assumed that freezing was breaking down the cell walls in the chili and releasing more of the capsaicin.

                      1. re: heatherkay

                        I really wish i could find the old entry but I can't - someone explained it on there.

                    2. I have overkilled with chili heat numerous times. Depending on the dish, a few spoonsful of orange juice concentrate can dumb it down a bit. Might work with shrimp creole.