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Food Introducing yourself to the hot stuff

Discussion in 'Tilted Food' started by Remixer, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Frankfurt, Germany

    My whole life I have been very sensitive to hot spices, only able to tolerate the absolute minimum of hotness in my food. That is, a bit of grounded black pepper.

    In the past 3 years especially, I've become a big fan of sushi and as such have been exposed to the might of the Wasabi paste. I have also started to like sweet chili sauces (yeah, even that was too spicy for me for a very long time).

    I'm not sure whether you're familiar with Nando's but I have had some successful run-ins with their Peri-peri sauce. I have had it many times, but even now I'm only at a stage where I can tolerate a maximum of one drop of the stuff per large bite (and I mean LARGE bite).

    I believe some good amount of hotness to really help the flavour of many dishes, but I don't want to reach a level where the spiciness overpowers everything else.

    So, I've been wondering: how do I go about it? Which types of spices would you recommend to a beginner to use frequently in order to proceed to a higher level of spiciness?

    Has anyone here made the transition from hating spicy foods and sauces, to being able to tolerate and enjoy it? How did you do it?

    Any response on this would be appreciated!
  2. Fremen

    Fremen Allright, who stole my mustache? Donor

    E. Texas
    First off, I've never had sushi or wasabi, but I've wanted to try it for the longest time.

    I like horseradish used liberally in some dishes. That'll clear your sinuses.

    The most I used to be able to tolerate was the occasional jalapena on my nachos, but then I got on this kick where I started putting the brine from pickled jalapenas on a lot of my dishes.
    It really helped me build a tolerance for more spicy foods.

    My bro-in-law had some hot sauce in a jar that was supposed to be a mixture of some chilies that were at least 50,000 or so on the Scovill scale.
    I tried some on a couple of saltine crackers. It was pretty damn hot, but I was expecting I would need to drink a bunch of milk afterwards.
    I was able to tolerate it fairly easily.

    I still want to try some Scotch Bonnets and Ghost Chilies. Betcha I'd need milk then.

    My point is, it will probably have to be a gradual introduction of spices/hot sauces into your dishes.
    Kinda like snake-handlers or beekeepers build up their tolerances.
  3. SuburbanZombie

    SuburbanZombie Housebroken

    I've always liked spicy foods. Have a pretty good tolerance too, to the point nobody in my family believes me when I say something isn't spicy.
    Its been a gradual process. I used to think peperoncinis were scalding hot.
    I tried a tiny piece of a scotch bonnet once. I thought my mouth was melting, my tongue was numb for a couple hours, I couldn't taste anything and I was soaked in sweat. I'm not overly eager to try that again.
  4. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there!

    I'm moderately tolerant of the heat and I do enjoy some spicy dishes.
    Indian, Thai, Szechuan Chinese are favorites.
    Would suggest you have some milk handy when trying to go up the fire scale.
    That's your quick antidote if you go too far.
  5. Japchae

    Japchae Very Tilted Donor

    I've developed a contact allergy to raw peppers and have to be really careful not to get pepper juice of any kind on my skin or I get a burning rash like nothing else I've ever experienced... but I really like spicy foods.
    I don't like vinegary hot sauces, preferring the more savory types of combinations. I really like thai and indian food, and I have been able to building up my tolerance by asking for mild dishes at first and now I'm up to 3/4 out of five "flames" or medium-hot heat. Might I suggest never ordering "thai hot" unless you want to end up burning yourself from the inside out. Milk doesn't help me with the heat... It actually holds the capsaicin against my skin, throat, tongue, whatnot making it much hotter, longer. I use beer, rice, or naan... I find that the denser carbs cut the oil of the capsaicin and help get it away from me. Some people find that alcohol makes the fire worse, but it helps me more. Especially beer or red wine. :) Experiment and enjoy!
  6. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    LOL, noodle, my husband orders hot at Thai restaurants, but they seem to believe he can't take the heat. He always has to ask them to bring out extra sambal or chili oil. We've only found one restaurant who will serve him truly hot Thai food.

    My husband is a hot food junkie. He's going to make his own fermented hot sauce this year. I'm kind of scared. I'm not a hot food person (comparatively speaking). We deliberately keep chili oil, hot sauces of various kinds, and sambals on hand so he can turn up the heat on whatever he cooks. Admittedly, lately I've really really been into wings. Nom. My sudden apparent love for wing sauce has taken my husband by surprise. I also really like Tabasco's Jalapeno hot sauce. It's warm, not overwhelmingly spicy, and more flavorful. I think you just have to start slowly and expect that in time you'll build up a tolerance. I remember that in high school I went through a salsa phase. I ate salsa every day. I went from mild to medium to hot hot hot over the course of a summer.
  7. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    There is something to be said about the "Westernization" of Asian cuisines' hot dishes.

    I think most versions you tend of find out this way are authentic enough generally, but I think they are "authentic for white people."

    There was a Indian fast food place (kind of an oxy moron, but that's what it was, really) that I liked going to downtown that had a sign that read something like, "Many Indian dishes are traditionally spicy. Please ask for extra spices if you want more authenticity." I read it as, "Hey, white folks, if you can take it, let us know."

    But seriously, a lot of people can't take the spice if they don't eat the spice.

    Lots of good stories/advice here so far.

    Frequency and increasing intensity over time is the key, really.
  8. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Frankfurt, Germany
    Nice to see so many good responses in this short amount of time! Very much appreciated, and I hope many more comments will follow.

    I agree with the remarks on Asian cuisines. I travel a lot in the MiddleEast/AsiaPacific region and come across a plethora of spicy dishes.

    For example, I really like me some authentic Indian curry, but because of my intolerance to spicy foods I always have to make sure the chef adds loads of coconut milk to dilute the spicy flavours a bit. That just makes me sad.

    I'd really love to be able to enjoy some authentic Japanese curry without always going for the "mild" option. Or being able to enjoy spicy tonkatsu beef (currently impossible for me).

    However, as much as I want to be able to enjoy spicy foods and sauces, I don't really want to go beyond the level of tabasco. Spice makes food more exciting to me and lets me enjoy the mix of flavours in dishes more.

    So yes, I will never order the "hot" variety in Thai or Korean restaurants.

    How do you guys handle Asian cuisine?
  9. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    Don't paint those white people with too broad a brush. I think that it's partly geographic. White folk in Ft. Worth or Savannah probably aren't as spicophobic as those in Toronto or Quebec.

  10. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    True enough. I should have probably specified "white Canadian."
  11. spindles

    spindles Very Tilted

    Sydney, Australia
    I think the only approach (as has been mentioned a bit) is to start with some spice and just up it over time. Isn't the peri-peri the hottest sauce Nandos has? Why not start with one of their milder sauces?

    Wasabi is good because it doesn't linger like the burn from chillies. I *love* sushi and sashimi, and it is made better by wasabi :)

    I find hot Thai curries easier to handle than Indian. I think the spices used are quite different.
  12. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    I think it is more nurture than racial. My mom is completely nordic (Swedish and Lithuanian) but was born and raised in New Mexico. She'll eat and cook with chiles just like any Thai or Indian. How about some salt cod with green chile?;)

  13. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    Having had both, I can't imagine them together.:p
  14. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    That's pretty much what goes on, yes.
  15. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Frankfurt, Germany
    Thanks for the responses, everyone.

    I shall now proceed to burn the crap out of my tastebuds.

  16. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    Now I am imagining you doing shots of hot sauce. That's not a good idea, btw.
  17. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Frankfurt, Germany
    I guess Americans are familiar with "Prost", what with all the German ancestry you guys have going on.

    I was once dared to drink a shot of Tabasco. We settled on many tequila shots instead.
  18. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member

    If you're truly into hot
    Tabasco is not
  19. DrSublime

    DrSublime New Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    try the bhut jolokia when your ready for extreme heat

    Sent from my HTC Evo using Tapatalk
  20. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Frankfurt, Germany
    To me that stuff is shit-hot. I never understood the people who have to use half a bottle of that stuff in every. single. meal. (incl. breakfast)

    And there's plenty of those in my family, alright.

    Yeah, like any of you could take that one either.