How can I eliminate hot spices from a recipe without sacrificing flavor?

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11 Comments

Michele February 22, 2016
Will you share the recipe? So many milder spices that are flavor packed! When I first consider a "spicy" recipe I think cumin, coriander and sweet paprika and even a mild chile powder all have their place. But of course depends on your recipe!
 
Smaug February 21, 2016
As far as chile powder- the essentials are chiles, cumin and oregano. You can buy powdered chiles in various varieties (hard to grind finely at home); Ancho would make the best base, with maybe some New Mexico, California, Anaheim, Guajillo, Mulatto, Pasilla-none of these have much heat (there are hot New Mexicos- they should be labeled, and aren't very hot). Chile powders also usually contain onion and garlic powder, horrible substances that should be avoided- just use real onion and garlic in the dish. They also often contain some allspice, maybe cinnamon or clove in small amounts, but you could probably skip that,.
 
cyndilurks February 21, 2016
Great suggestions. Thank you.
 
cyndilurks February 21, 2016
No, I haven't. I will check into it. Thank you.
 
cyndilurks February 21, 2016
A lot of recipes for greens include cayenne. Horseradish and ginger are also too hot, so most oriental dishes are too spicy. I've made chili with 1/2 the chili powder and a little more cumin that worked out for me, but missed some of the flavor.
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 21, 2016
Have you tried Aleppo pepper?
 
702551 February 21, 2016
I'd sub paprika for cayenne pepper. Note that there is a wide range of paprikas, some very spicy, some very mild. Be judicious in your substition.

Same thing with horseradish, ginger, or pretty much any other spice. There is no one definitive spice, there is a range of options.

Chili powder? Well, there are many hundreds of chiles and each chili powder mix is a custom blend determined by the manufacturer. If you want mild chili powder, pick your own dried chile peppers and grind/blend them yourself or find a source who does so.

It is possible to find the desired heat profile for the spice you seek, but you will need to put some effort into seeking this out yourself. Don't expect the generic stuff in your grocery store's spice aisle to be perfect for you. Those are manufactured blends designed to appeal to a large swath of the buying audience, not to your specific tastes.

Good luck.
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 21, 2016
What dish are you trying to make without hot spices?
 
Smaug February 21, 2016
A particularly thorny problem- assuming you're talking about hot pepper (people classify all sorts of things as "hot"- spices such cinnamon and cardamom, I've even seen onions classed as hot), one thing to keep in mind is that even if you make the same dish, you may not be eating the same dish. People develop a tolerance for capsaicin (the hot in hot peppers) so that the eating experience of someone from Yucatan and someone from Dusseldorf, faced with a plate of shredded Habaneros, may be completely different. Your best bet, with a recipe intended to have some heat, is to try to put it somewhere in your acceptable zone- just as the people who developed the recipe did. Of course the peppers have flavors aside from hot which you will be losing; you may be able to compensate somewhat with other types of peppers, but bottom line, a recipe that's not edible will do you no good.
 
Rachel February 21, 2016
there are a million different shades of spicy out there, so you can swap out spicy ingredients to fit what you like/want. It won't taste the same, but if it's too spicy for you to eat it as written, then no harm done. For example, if you don't like chipotle chili, you can substitute a milder chili, such as ancho or pasilla. Same way with hot paprika. My suggestion though, would be to add a small amount of the spicier ingredient. taste, then add the milder one if you think it needs something additional.
 

Voted the Best Reply!

702551 February 21, 2016
It depends on the recipe. In some cases you might be able to substitute milder spices to provide flavor but not heat.

Of course, your resultant dish won't have the same exact flavor profile that the recipe author had intended, but that's something one accepts any time one doesn't follow a recipe to the letter.

But that's the way humans have cooked from the dawn of civilization. The notion of following written instructions is a fairly recent development. Cooks improvise.

Anyhow, the most important thing is for you to look at your spice cabinet and decide which ones you like and how one or more might take place of a spice that you don't care for.

Ultimately, your goal is to put a dish on your table that *YOU* like, not what someone from an online food forum or celebrity chef thinks.

Good luck!
 
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