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spicy foods--what to use to crank up the heat

chrissy1988 Feb 13, 2012 11:41 AM

I LOVE spicy foods but can never get anything hot enough. i could literally use hot sauce as a spaghetti base and not even break a sweat.

what can i use for heat? crushed red pepper is like black pepper to me --really mild. any ideas?

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  1. l
    LongIslandChef Feb 13, 2012 12:13 PM

    What kinds of hot sauces are you using that aren't hot enough, or better yet, what kind of peppers are they made from?

    1. JungMann Feb 13, 2012 12:14 PM

      Sounds like you need to up your Scovilles: http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main...

      At home, the spiciest dried chilies I cook with are chiles de arbol, dundicuts and facing heaven peppers. You can crush them in a mortar and pestle or slit and add whole. Fresh Thai chilies and habaneros also pack a punch, but add brighter flavors to a dish. Condiments like Sriracha, sambal oelek and lao gan ma will also impart a fair amount of heat but will add acid or salt. If you're looking for straight up heat without affecting flavor, look for bhut jolokia chilies or capsaicin extract.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann
        Perilagu Khan Feb 13, 2012 12:22 PM


      2. Perilagu Khan Feb 13, 2012 12:23 PM

        Put enough bhut powder in your food and you'll feel the heat. Depending what you put it in, however, you might not like the resulting flavor.

        1. p
          pine time Feb 13, 2012 12:28 PM

          +1 on using hot chile peppers. Penzeys has a great compendium of the various types and uses. While I/we love spicy foods, I don't like food to be painful, so you may need to experiment to find your heat level.

          1. j
            joonjoon Feb 13, 2012 01:01 PM

            Try some of this:
            Or one of these:

            1. s
              sueatmo Feb 13, 2012 02:07 PM


              2 Replies
              1. re: sueatmo
                Kelli2006 Feb 13, 2012 02:44 PM

                Penzey's chilies as are good but Ive had better luck with buying dried whole chillies at a Mexican grocery and grinding them myself.
                If you choose to use dried habenaro or bhut jalokia be very careful.

                I made hot sauce from red serranos and other peppers that I grew this past summer and it turned out surprisingly well.

                1. re: Kelli2006
                  sueatmo Feb 13, 2012 05:56 PM

                  If you have a good source for dried peppers, then that is best. But if you look at Penzey's chart, you'll get an education about Scoville units, and what pepper is hotter or hottest--at least of the ones on the chart.

                  Isn't that what the OP was asking?

              2. e
                eatanddestroy Feb 13, 2012 03:00 PM

                One of my favorite sources for heat is the small green pepper that you can find at many Indian markets. Not sure what its name is, but two of those chopped up might be exactly what you are looking for.

                1. linguafood Feb 14, 2012 08:18 AM

                  I get a glass of sliced chili peppers in oil at our local Asian store. That stuff is bitchin' hot -- in fact, I sometimes just drizzle some of that oil on pizza or scrambled eggs, and it'll do the trick.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: linguafood
                    chrissy1988 Feb 14, 2012 09:02 AM

                    that sounds delicious. pepper infused oil.

                    1. re: chrissy1988
                      linguafood Feb 14, 2012 09:24 AM

                      You can buy chile oil, too. But those peppers take it to another level. They are great in stir-frys or anything you want to add heat to. I'd use them sparingly at first...

                  2. BobB Feb 14, 2012 01:53 PM

                    Try some Dave's Insanity Sauce. Even with your stated tolerance level, I'd start out using just a bit until you find out what it can do. That stuff is DANGEROUS!


                    1. luckyfatima Feb 16, 2012 05:26 AM

                      I usually crank up the heat by layering different types of chile---this is how it works in Indo-Pak cooking that I do on a regular basis. A dish may start out with some powdered red chile in the spice mix. There may be red chile flakes is the recipe necessitates them. Then get some finely chopped green chile. Both of these cook through so they lend a discernible but duller heat. Then at the end of the dish more fresh green chiles, possibly slit or coarsely chopped will be added. Depending on the dish, I may add in whole dried red chiles which are fried during some stage in the cooking. All of these layers of heat give both the kind of heat that can creep up on you while you eat, or give a punch in the mouth if you bite into a large piece of uncooked chile.

                      1. Caroline1 Feb 16, 2012 06:03 AM

                        I'm no chili head and I don't like to make my eyes water or break out in a sweat while my taste buds writhe in pain, but....! There are a couple of phenomena that go along with chiles that are seldom discussed on these boards. First off, not all chiles of the same genre are equally hot. You can pick two chiles growing side by side on the same plant and they MIGHT be equally hot or one might be scorching and the other mild. It's a real challenge when making something like chile rellenos. When chiles are dried and crushed and mixed, it all evens out, but if you're using whole dried chiles to make a sauce, it might have an impact, meaning just because three whole dried birds eye chiles are perfecet this time, they may or may not be perfect next time. Taste! And "cautiously" might not be a bad idea.

                        The second point is that not all people percieve the heat of a chile the same. There can be a wide variance. I have a friend who uses Sriracha like tomato ketchup and finds that (for her) it has about the same amount of heat, yet she has to go very light on plain old Tobasco sauce. In my own family when my kids were younger, we often went to Mexican restaurants and soon learned that if the salsas were percieved as really really hot and spicy by my husband and daughter, then my son and I would find the same salsa to be mild. And the reverse was also true.

                        So... For Chrissy, use the Scovville scale as a general guide, but taste with caution the first time you use a new chile. And have fun! If sweating and writhing in pain is your thing, live it up! '-)

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