Capsaicin is the culprit in chilli peppers that sets off the temperature-sensitive sensors in your mouth. This oil-based, alkaline molecule tricks your mind into believing your mouth is on fire. People who eat spicy food regularly have, over time, desensitized the thermoreceptors in their mouth so the sharp burn is dulled. The sensation becomes an enjoyable part of their culinary experience for relishing complementary flavours like sweet, sour, salty, bitter etc. If this is not you, then here are some tips from our Chef Dilip Sahu, on how to cool a burning mouth if you have bit into a chilli pepper by mistake.
Dairy products contain a protein called Casein which can help break down the oily capsaicin molecules in your mouth and wash them away just like laundry detergent does with dirt. The fat in dairy products easily dissolves capsaicin, getting them off your tongue quickly. Cow’s milk, yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese contain casein to help you cool a burning mouth. Note that milk products derived from soy, coconut or almonds have no casein.
If you are trying to get your kids used to spicy food, then serve it up with carbs like bread, rice, pastas and potatoes. Carbs are bulky foods; they can physically keep most of the capsaicin molecules separated from the thermoreceptors in the mouth so the burn is not as sharp and uncomfortable. In addition, giving them a side of yogurt or a glass of milk with spicy food, as described above, will help them along in their gastronomy journey.
Capsaicin is an alkaline molecule which you can neutralize with acid. Orange juice, lemonade, squirts of lime and even freshly chopped tomatoes will help to cool a burning mouth so you can eat your hostess’s spicy dish without offending her….!
Water can help put out fires in burning buildings and all. But it will do nothing to put out the fire in your mouth. As mentioned above, capsaicin is an oily molecule and oil floats on water. This means water will simply spread the pesky molecule around your mouth, spreading the burn and making it worse.
Tiffinday Kidney Bean and Rhubarb Stew
Spice lovers asked us for a curry with a kick and we delivered. Our Kidney Bean & Rhubarb Curry Stew is the spicier one of the four. Traditionally called Rajmah, we gave ours a bit of a twist with Ontario-grown rhubarb for tang, which goes beautifully well with the other spices. With all the tips we’ve given you above, are you ready to give this one a try? Here are many different ways to serve it up.