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By Damilola Faustino

There are a lot of ways dishes can end up too spicy. It may be because you used an especially spicy batch of fresh chiles, or you accidentally put in one tablespoon of hot sauce rather than one teaspoon. Relax! All is not lost. Even though you can’t take out the spices once it’s in a dish, there are things you can do to tone it down so the food doesn’t go to waste. Here are some of the best ways to do this:

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Include more ingredients to dilute the spiciness

The easiest way to tone down a dish that’s too spicy is to add more ingredients to lessen the proportion of the spicy element. If it’s a soup or stew, try adding more liquid. Add more vegetables, protein, or starches, too — whatever ingredient you have extra of.

Add dairy

Dairy is great at counteracting spiciness and can add a nice cooling effect. You can add milk, sour cream, or even yoghurt over each serving, but beware of adding and then cooking the dairy over higher heat, as it may curdle. Coconut milk technically isn’t dairy but lends a great creaminess to dishes.

Sweetener

Sugar or other sweeteners add a different element of flavour that can tame spiciness. This one comes with a caveat, though, as you want to add very small amounts and taste constantly so your savoury dish doesn’t end up tasting like dessert.

Nut butter

A fun trick to salvage a spicy meal is to add a spoonful of nut butter, like almond or peanut butter, to soups and stews. Apparently, it will help mellow the dish out but won’t be really noticeable when you eat it.

 Serve with bland, starchy foods

If you don’t want to mess with it by adding other ingredients. The simplest solution is to serve it with something bland and starchy so when eaten together, the spice is diffused a bit. Rice, pasta, crusty bread, or potatoes are all great candidates.

Read also: Hey! Stop Eating At Your Desk!

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