Nut Butter Is Your Secret Weapon To Fix Overly-Spicy Dishes

Various nut butters
Various nut butters - A_namenko/Getty Images

Spice — specifically from hot peppers like chiles — plays a central role in flavoring several global cuisines. Even those people who worship at the altar of spice usually have an upper threshold of heat that they can endure. For anyone who enjoys a degree of spice without the tearing eyes, and burning lips and tongue, adding nut butter to your spiciest dishes is a modification that will tone down the heat in a way that's flavorful and palatable, without the pain.

While nut butters are not commonly associated with traditionally spicy foods, they are actually a secret weapon, and an unexpected way to neutralize spicy foods for good reason. Nut butters serve as a pacifying agent to tame the heat from capsaicin, the active ingredient in the chili peppers that flavors most spicy foods. This fiery substance diffuses in oils and fats, meaning that the high fat content in nut butters will temper the spice of the capsaicin before it reaches your mouth.

Read more: 7 Nuts You Should Be Eating And 7 You Shouldn't

How To Use Different Nut Butters To Temper Spice

Bowls of peanut stew
Bowls of peanut stew - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

Not only do nut butters neutralize spice but they also pair well with several spicy dishes. Not all nut butters are created equal, as we outline in our ultimate guide to nut butters; each has its own taste, texture, and consistency. For example, dishes like pad Thai or this 15-minute spicy peanut soba bowl often involve peanut butter. Other spicy soups and stews can be thickened — and toned down — with nut butters that are less pronounced in flavor, like cashew or almond butter.

As with any ingredient, nut butter is not meant to overpower the dish, but rather to temper the spice. You can start by adding a small scoop of nut butter to your soup, stew, or recipe, and then adjust accordingly. If you find that you've taken a bite of an already prepared dish that is overly spicy, and your body is having an instant reaction to the spice, you can skip mixing your nut butter into the dish, and opt to consume a spoonful on its own. Again, the addition of fat should work to quell your tastebuds, and calm down the spice.

Allow nut butters to be your secret sauce to indulge your desire for spice in a reasonable and controlled format. Keeping one or two nut butter jars stocked in your pantry may be the very insurance you need to enhance your meals without the aftershock.

Read the original article on Mashed