HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


How to "cool" a dish that's too spicy-hot?

Making curries from commercially-available paste, like Mae Ploy, but would like to tone down the "heat" for everyone's taste. I've tried a rue with flour, butter, a little sugar and milk to stretch it out, but that also cuts down on the curry flavor. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think adding anything to "stretch it out", without topping up the spices will result in diluted flavours.
    Reducing the paste a bit and adding extra (not-hot) spices when frying off will help.
    Coconut cream/milk really tones down the heat, but only if its not cooked long.

    1. I will often serve something very spicy with a big scoop of plain yogurt on top. It doesn't make the dish less spicy, but is cooling when you eat some between bites.

      1. Fat, sugar and dairy will all cool the burn of hot spices, but adding them is obviously going to dilute the other ingredients as mentioned. You can counteract by adding in additional aromatics at the beginning of making your curry when you are frying the paste.

        1. There is no good fix. A mediocre fix would be dilution plus adding back in the flavors you want more of.

          The best kind of fat for emulsifying capsaicin is a nut butter (peanut butter, for example), but I doubt that's what you want to add to the dish.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Karl S

            Thanks, all.
            Karl S -- that's an excellent idea. Since some currys, such as Penang, call for crushed peanuts, I can just toss in a big ol' spoonful of peanut butter and not significantly alter the flavor other than a little more 'nut', which might be tasty and even add to the creaminess factor.

          2. Don't change the dish by adding stuff to it, either add less of the paste or serve the dish with sides that cool the heat. I wrote what to do if food is too spicy: http://voices.yahoo.com/what-if-food-...

            1. I've found the best thing to tone down heat levels is yogurt. It may not work for you in this dish though.

              BTW, it's spelled Roux. It's a French word.


              1. Yoghurt. Either mixed in or served separately as a raita.

                1. I suggest making your curry dishes way, way too hot. And then force yourself to get used to that level of heat, and then, when you make it the normal way, when having guests for example, you'll find it just the right mount of heat.

                  This has the side effect of making you awesome.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Aramek

                    Where is the pleasure in forcing yourself to eat something you've deliberately cooked badly?

                    1. re: Harters

                      Can't you read. It makes you awesome!!! No pain, no awesome!!


                    2. re: Aramek

                      If you're not used to heat, this can have the side effect of making you sick. Last week I had a dish that was way too hot for my taste, but I forged ahead and ate it for precisely the reason you suggest - a desire to become accustomed to and appreciate spicy hot foods - and all I got was mouth burn and a really nasty belly ache that took over an hour to subside. And by the standards of many, I doubt the dish was even all that spicy hot.