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What are some of your favorite "spicy" recipes?

Looks like SO is getting into a pretty steady travel schedule, so it's just me during the week. I'd like to use that time to make things that are either experimental (for me, which are probably things that are no big deal to most of you), or with flavors he doesn't like. One of those "flavors" is anything spicy or with a lot of heat. I like indian food (although I lack the resources to get the right ingredients usually), mexican/latin food, and thai food like red curry....so a good range of different "kinds" of heat/spice. I don't have a lot of recipes for these items since prior to a few weeks ago, I never had the opportunity to make them since SO was always home.

So, what are some of your favorite spicy/hot meals to make? Preferably ones that will reheat well the next day, and these will be weeknight meals so nothing that requires a ton of prep. I only have a small 3 qt crockpot which I've never used.

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  1. Have you considered a little fra diavolo sauce? It's a relatively mildish heat.

    Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, and cook til soft a medium yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic, and three finely diced pepperoncini peppers (like what you'd put on a salad)

    This mix can go into your slow cooker with
    two 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes
    big pinch of salt
    pinch of savory (or oregano, adjust to your taste)
    big pinch of thyme
    small pinch of sugar
    1/2 cup of wine (I like a dry white, but whatever)

    Let that cook together on low for a few hours and taste. Is it hot enough? You can tweak with red pepper, white pepper, and it's good on shrimp, chicken, pasta, what have you.

    I also like to throw capers in, and sometimes melt in a couple of anchovies while sauteeing the onions, etc, which I know merges on puttanesca, but hey, it's our party and we'll cook what we want, right?

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      Sounds very easy, and something I could even freeze into individual portions to use that way.

    2. Whenever mr bc is away, I'm craving hot and spicy too since he doesn't love the heat like I do. The very first dish I always make (and it reheats just fine) is Ma Po Tofu by Fuschia Dunlop.


      Another favourite, this time from Italy, is Pasta Puttanseca. This recipe from Gourmet is terrific:


      And this Jamie Oliver Recipe for his Fiery Dan Dan Noodles is quick and quite good:


      and finally, off for some Tex Mex w my absolute favourite soup recipe a Smoky Tortilla Soup. This started out as a Rick Bayless recipe but it was adapted (for the better IMHO) by Lisa Fain in her book The Homesick Texan. The recipe is here, towards the bottom of the page:


      3 Replies
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        I was going to suggest dan dan noodles as well. There are many recipes for it. The link above is very different from what I do. I kind of just wing it and don't have specific measurements. If I use a protein I use chicken or shrimp. I find I like them served cold or room temp so left overs are a snap.

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Thanks! These all look great.

          For the Dan Dan noodles, a couple of stupid questions...what is "dried chilli" and "1 stock cube". Is the stock cube like a bouillon cube?

          1. re: juliejulez

            the stock cube is a bouillon cube.

            the dried chilli is the flakes (or actual dried chillies, broken apart). for authentic szechuan "numbing" pepper ("ma la") taste, use ground szechuan peppercorns.

            so you can get some idea of the flexibility in the recipe, here are some variations.

            a pf chang's knock-off recipe for the dan dan noodles. http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...

            also serious eats: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...
            that has a nice guide to some ingredients.

            i like this recipe, with a touch of sesame oil ('cause i'm a sesame oil lover!) http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/d...

          1. I cook hot and spicy all the time. Do you like channa masala? It really tastes better the fol. day. You could pick up all the ingredients in a regular grocery store. Enjoy!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kulfi

              I have never had it, but I just recently discovered that I like chickpeas, so it looks delicious. Thanks!

            2. Lots of good ideas, why not try something North Anerican? I am making a Jambalaya right now....which I like spicy. It reheats pretty well too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: realtorav8tor

                I've made jambalaya before, but I've found it doesn't really lend itself too well to weeknight cooking. I don't get home from work til 7 so anything that takes more than an hour is rough to do.

              2. I make a chicken stew in my 3 qt CrockPot, consisting of chicken thighs (on the bone, skin removed), onion, mexican chorizo, peppers, and hominy. For peppers, I generally use a mix of fresh pasillas and dried New Mexican. Any combination of peppers that gives you the right mix of flavors and pungency will work.

                2 Replies
                1. re: GH1618

                  Sounds delicious. I'm not very good at cooking without recipes just yet, so roughly how much of the thighs and chorizo do you use?

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    A small crock pot will only hold about five or six thighs. So I get a six pack of thighs-only. I use enough chorizo to make a layer of little meatballs, but I don't remember exactly the weight. I never follow a precise recipe with this. I build it up in layers, letting the onion layer stew awhile, then I add cleaned and diced peppers. Next a layer of chorizo balls, then the thighs. A little water is needed, of course. The hominy goes i last, just enough to fill the pot.

                2. I just today made something that might fit the bill, even when your SO is around: slow cooker cochinita pibil (Yucatecan shredded pork). The meat itself isn't at all picante, but it's traditional to drizzle it with fiery habanero salsa at the table (and I wouldn't have it any other way). Your SO can leave it off. Also pickled red onion.

                  Whether you cook it in the slow cooker, on the stovetop, or in the oven, it's really easy as long as you can get achiote paste. It's pretty common wherever you find Mexican ingredients.

                  For me it's an addiction. If I go more than a couple weeks without I start regressing into grunts and hand gestures.

                  1. Dan Dan noodles do it for me, and also the spicy "firecracker" shrimp served at many restaurants, but I make mine at home. I've also made strong chicken stock in the crockpot and added lime pickle or other HOT spiced things, and then proceeded to make a soup: rice noodles, bean sprouts, chicken chunks, shrimp, chopped cubes of tofu, fresh spinach leaves, thinly sliced onion, celery, zucchini, bok choy or choisum. You really just need to throw everything in there, assuming the chicken is cooked, :) for about a half hour. You could do the prep for the soup on the weekends, and Ziploc it for the night you want it, or if your local market has a salad bar you can buy them pre-prepped, though that's not inexpensive. Yum. I like to do hot and spicy chicken thighs, shred the meat and serve it in buns w/ slaw, and corn on the cob w/ cilantro butter and cotija cheese. You can make a Southwestern chicken soup w/ chicken stock, pinto beans, squash cubes, onions and chiles. You can add as much heat as you like. Spicy tomato soup would be really easy as well. And if you make a spicy red sauce, the possibilities are endless: you can make pasta, obviously; but one thing I LOVE is to poach eggs in the sauce, and serve it all over really good lightly-toasted, buttered bread or English muffins. Shakshuka, I think it's called. Good luck!! You've gotten great ideas here! (Why I love Chowhound... :)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mamachef

                      Thanks! I actually forgot about this thread haha! But now I have it bookmarked.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        I'll also agree with an Asian Style Jumbo Shrimp dish made with chilies, chili oil and or Sichuan Peppercorns......Vegetables optional, e.g., Japanese Eggplant

                      2. Mapo tofu is probably one of my faves! Laarb is great, also, and easy to make. Som Tam, tom yum... think Thai, Indian, Sichuan.

                        But really, you can crank up the heat on so many dishes -- stir-frys, pasta dishes, soups...

                        One of my newer discoveries is scotch bonnet sauce. I put it on pizza instead of sriracha these days. Spicier, no sugar & with a fruity kick.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: linguafood

                          Lingua, I've been on the hunt for that scotch bonnet sauce because I want to make the trinichinese chicken. Where did you purchase yours at?

                          1. re: juliejulez

                            I got mine in the international section of Wegmans, the Grace brand (they have two, but the Grace brand looked more appealing: a bright orange). It is delicious.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Hmmm no Wegman's here but there is a specialty food store/butcher near my work, I wonder if they would have something like that. Or maybe Whole foods?

                              1. re: juliejulez

                                It's not that exotic of an ingredient, so my guess is WF should have it.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Whole Foods does in my neck of the woods.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    You know, you'd be surprised what people around here think is exotic LOL There's tons of stores in Denver I'm sure that have it, but out in my neck of the woods in bufu, nope. I looked at both the mexican market and my regular store. I'll try Whole Foods, thanks!

                            2. re: linguafood


                              I love mapo tofu and have recently spiced up Fuscia Dunlop's recipe by substituting Wei Pao brand Salted black bean with chili for half of the salted black beans. The chili addition really takes it up a notch.

                            3. Try a modification of this braised pork dish. Cut the sugar in half and when you add the liquids, add a handful of Thai bird chiles or two ghost peppers or whatever dried chile combination you have on hand and can handle (we like VERY hot). Also, increase the simmer time to at least forty-five minutes.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MGZ

                                This looks delicious. Might be fun to try it with pork belly too like it mentions, I know where I can buy some.

                              2. Look up recipes for Aglio e olio.

                                Some of them will probably have a half tsp of red pepper flakes to a pound of pasta or something like that. I use a heaping tablespoon to four ounces of pasta. Make it however hot you like.

                                1. my latest favorite Hot and Spicy dish is laotian crispy rice salad. it is hot, herbal, savory and fresh all at the same time. quite remarkable. i've not made it, only eaten it, but this recipe looks about right. http://catesworldkitchen.com/2010/07/...

                                  to make it extra savory, you can add finely chopped lao sausage.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    This looks very interesting alkapal. There is a heavy Lao population where I grew up in Central CA, and I've had the food a few times, but never prepared at home. I saved this to try out sometime.

                                  2. This is one of my favorites:
                                    I would just keep the meat, dressing and veg separate for the next day and mix it up when you're ready to eat!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: alliegator

                                      This looks good. I'd probably skip the cabbage and lettuce as neither of them are my favorite (I'm not a lettucey person AT ALL, except for the occasional baby spinach), but it looks like it'd be good without that served over the rice with the other veggies mixed in.

                                    2. If you like Indian food but don't have easy access to many ingredients, chicken karahi is usually a good option given its short list of ingredients. Seekh kebabs also don't have too many out there ingredients and have a good fresh heat from green chilies. I sometimes use similar ingredients to make South Asian burgers. Vindaloo is a good option when you've got a little more time for prep.

                                      If you have access to doubanjiang, there's always mapo tofu. If you can only get a few Szechuanese ingredients, there's always bang bang or mouthwatering chicken (kou shui ji) which are perfect served cold.

                                      I also like to make carne enchilada with thin cut pork chops in a marinade of chiles, clove, cinnamon, oregano and cider vinegar. Whatever I don't make day of, I'll freeze individually for quick meals in the future.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        I actually made a quick non-authentic vindaloo last week and loved it :) Used a premade spice blend from the spice shop. Seekh kebabs look great and would be easy to do one round one night, and another round the next night.

                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                          I recall seeing your post on the WFD thread. Glad it worked out for you! I like homemade vindaloo, particularly since it's rare to find it made with the traditional pork in Indo-Pak restaurants due to dietary restrictions, but the time it takes to make the onion paste usually relegates this to an occasional Sunday treat for me.

                                      2. It's not fancy at all but I love a quick Frank's Bowl as we call them in our house. Sauteed ground meat to which I usually add sauteed mushrooms with garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and sometimes a dash or 2 of liquid smoke. Then I add Frank's Hot Sauce...a lot of Frank's Hot Sauce and bring the bottle along when eating in case I need more spice...and then top with blue cheese and mix it altogether. It's not very elaborate but fills my need for spice when I have limited time.

                                        Also, I love fra diavolo sauce. I usually do it with chicken and mushrooms.

                                        19 Replies
                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          That made me think of Larb. Another idea for the OP.

                                          1. re: kengk

                                            I love larb. I've worked on mine many times, using turkey, chicken, and pork. It can be made as spicey as one likes. Nevertheless, it does not seem popular with many 'hounds:


                                            1. re: MGZ

                                              Your link doesn't seem to go anywhere :(

                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                  That did, thanks! I don't know much about it but I'm surprised you didn't get more responses.

                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                    Me too. I think it's a great dish that has almost limitless possibilities.

                                                  2. re: MGZ

                                                    Larb is frequently mentioned on the What's For Dinner threads and pops up every now and again in Home Cooking but given its variation in spelling, is one of those hard to search for items. I know Sam Fujisaka have both commented on it in the past, but I don't see our posts.

                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                      Sam commented here:


                                                      Reminds me I still wanna try duck larb.

                                                      The WFD threads are pretty exhausting to read. And, honestly, when you search for "larb chowhound", those WFD threads never seem to come up.

                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                  I adore larb and have made it several times in the last month. I use this as a base recipe, but it's definitely something you can play with and make it your own. Probably my favorite Thai dish.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        One thing I really think that recipe is missing, if you like it hot, is fresh chilies.

                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                          I definitely like to add some finely chopped bird chilies to mine.

                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                            "One thing I really think that recipe is missing, if you like it hot, is fresh chilies."

                                                            I agree. If you don't have Thai chiles, serranos can work, especially mixed with habaneros.

                                                            Edit - Make sure you have some extra chiles for the garnish with the herbs.

                                                          2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            Np, give it a try! Once you plate it up, you'll stand back and pull an Ina---"how easy is that?".

                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                      Larb is a new one for me but sounds great. I've read it on menus but have never tried it.

                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      My mother made a similar bowl of comfort that was the first thing I requested whenever I'd come home from college. The sauce is an intense combination of tomatoes, Sriracha, Worcestershire, vinegar and sugar stewed with ground beef over macaroni. If I don't want to make it from scratch, I'll just use a can of sloppy joe sauce and season appropriately.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        Your Frank's Bowl would be the shizz scooped up with celery sticks.....gonna have to make one. Yum. thanks!!

                                                      2. I did not find hot and spicy food from Indonesia... so here it is. One of my fav: ASAM-PEDAS (=sour hot) BEEF. Preparation is more akin to pulled meat dishes.
                                                        Place beef (or pork) in pot (crock pot), add spices and cook until very tender.

                                                        Spices (to taste): a handful of hot chili pepper (any kind), oinion, garlic, ginger, candlenut (or almond). Pound of process to make paste and rub the meat with it.

                                                        Add lemon grass, galangal.small amount of shrimp paste (or fish sauce) and enough tamarind (fruit or paste). Salt to taste. Braise until tender - several hours, depending on cuts of meat. You can add quarter of tomatoes toward the end of cooking.

                                                        This dish tastes better the next day.