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ASK ME! Chile, chili, chilli Spices

ASK ME! chili heat

• At a Thai restaurant, what can I order besides beer to relieve my mouth of some of the heat in the dishes? Yogurt and raita are usually not on the menu. – A Reader, California

Your mouth is burning because of substances in the chilies called capsaicinoids. They are not soluble in water, so drinking it won’t help (it actually spreads the chili heat). Capsaicinoids are soluble in fats, oils and alcohol, although there generally isn’t enough alcohol in beer to completely rid the heat. Milk is good. It contains casein, a substance that washes away the capsaicin. Some people also find relief in plain rice or bread.

But best of all, in my opinion, is chocolate! If there’s no chocolate dessert on the menu (it’s not a traditional Thai ingredient), carry a candy bar in your purse. And if all else fails, have a stiff drink. The more alcohol, the better the remedy. Plus, alcohol makes you feel better all around.

One reply on “ASK ME! chili heat”

I would recommend a table spoon of sugar or anything sugary. Thai tea will help. I can’t explain this scientifically, but I can tell you that even though I’m a spicy food eater, one time I ate a piece of habanero pepper straight, thinking it was tomato in the salsa. I can’t explain the agony. But sugar took away all the burning.

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