Eating spicy foods is one of the great culinary delights to be had, devouring hot curries and enjoying steaming plates of sizzling food is many people’s idea of heaven. But sometimes the heat is too much to handle and you need something cool and refreshing to calm your taste buds down.
Some drinks are a non-starter as far as acting as a fire extinguisher, for instance drinking water whilst consuming many types of chilies will do absolutely nothing to cool down the effect of capsaicin. So what is the best thing to drink when you are eating spicy food?
The words sugar and spice are often paired together, there have even been songs written about the two extremes of the food scale. And indeed sugar is a great way to temper heat, in Thai cooking sugar is added to nearly every dish that contains chilies, a sort of yin to the yang.
Tropical drinks and sugary cocktails are great with spicy food, they suppress the effects of the chilies and spices. Try something like a classic Pina Colada with your taco and you will find that although it sounds a little bizarre it works perfectly. But do not waste your money on Martinis and the like as they will not do anything to reduce the heat, in fact they will probably enhance it.
The best drink to take away the heat from chilies and spices are those that are full of proteins, as explained before many types of chilies contain capsaicin, and this chemical is attracted to proteins. So milk, yogurt and dairy-based drinks are the perfect solution to hot and spicy food.
Admittedly you do not see many diners quaffing back pints of milk in a Chinese restaurant eating szechuan pork. But it is common for Indians to drink Lassi while they are eating, it is a yogurt based drink that can be either sweet or salty.
How to Eat Spicy Foods
It is not only drink that will help you when you are eating spicy foods, they way you eat the food is also highly important. The temptation when eating a hot Indian curry for example is to shove it in your mouth as quickly as possible and immediately swallow.
This will not help one iota, and will just lead to hiccups or some other body reaction that could be even worse. The best thing to do is eat small portions at a time and slowly, this will let your body gradually come to terms with the searing heat.
Another trick is to soak up the heat, by this you can use ingredients of the meal to help absorb the capsaicin before you consume it. Starches such as rice are perfect for this, so if your curry is served with rice spoon the sauce sparingly on the rice and eat it in this fashion. Or better still take alternative bites of the food, you will find that this works perfectly and will enhance your dining experience.