No soup for you!
November 25, 2021 9:08 PM   Subscribe

I got takeout to tide me over through the holiday but the hot and sour soup is so hot I cannot eat it. Is there a way to tone down the spiciness?

I love me some chili oil and everything, but this soup was flat-out painful between that and the heavy-handed black pepper. I can barely taste anything else, but I've still got most of a container to go and I hate the idea of throwing it out. Is there a way to actually tone it down to just a four-alarm fire instead of five, or even better, three? I don't have a lot on hand in the pantry (like, I think my vinegar is ancient) but I can go pick something up. Water seems like it would just...water it down.
posted by kitten kaboodle to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dairy, such as sour cream, added to the soup will make it a bit creamy - and it should also tone it down a lot. If you don't have that, then a heavy cream or possibly even some butter. There's something in dairy - and it should be a higher fat content dairy, preferrably. I don't know how that will change the taste of your soup, but I don't think it would be terrible at all!
posted by itsflyable at 9:21 PM on November 25 [2 favorites]

... I should have said that there's something in dairy that tones down the spiciness/ heat.
posted by itsflyable at 9:22 PM on November 25

Best answer: You could diffuse the heat by adding pork or chicken broth (or vegetable broth, I guess). It would thin the soup but would be more satisfying than water. You could also add more tofu to give your tongue a break. Any variety of non-spicy dumpling would help too. I'd probably steam or boil and drain some frozen dumplings and then slip them in rather than trying to boil them in the soup.

I would not add dairy--I'm not sure if the vinegar would curdle it, but I wouldn't want to find out.
posted by wintersweet at 9:25 PM on November 25 [2 favorites]

Maybe just a generous amount in one small bowl to see how that works. If it takes away all of the spicy, you could use less in a future bowl.

Oh! Just found you a link. If you don't want dairy, then coconut oil/milk would also work, apparently. Or a nut butter. I have used those before, but I really do find that dairy works best.
posted by itsflyable at 9:26 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]

Put it over rice or boiled potatoes?
posted by praemunire at 9:32 PM on November 25 [5 favorites]

Activated carbon will absorb capsaicin , the source of heat in chile peppers.

Ideally, you would put some in a tea ball or tea infuser — which would be easy for me because I buy it in bulk for my own system of water and air purifiers — but if you happen to have an old Brita pitcher purifier or water purifier cartridges for your refrigerator water supply, you could break them open too.

Sometimes kits to treat people who’ve accidentally (or not) ingested poisons will include packs of activated carbon designed to be torn open and added to water.

If your source of carbon is dusty or grainy, you could could strain the soup and put the strained material aside, add the carbon to the soup and then run the mixture through a paper coffee filter, and then add the strainer contents back into the filtered soup.
posted by jamjam at 10:11 PM on November 25

Or you could replace the tea in a teabag with activated carbon from whatever source, and then steep it in the soup until the soup is mild enough.
posted by jamjam at 10:22 PM on November 25

Potatoes are your friend here. Either add some boiled, diced potatoes to the soup or just a handful of potato flakes.
posted by mezzanayne at 10:30 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe add a ton of plain rice so instead of soup you could turn it into a less-spicy rice dish
posted by Jacqueline at 10:51 PM on November 25 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I had looked in old asks but hadn’t realized there was a question earlier today that was similar. I’ll be trying a couple of these first and going down the list if they don’t work. I’d rather keep it soupy soup, but we’ll see!
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:25 PM on November 25

If most of the spiciness floats on top of the soup in the shape of oil, I would try using paper tissue to absorb as much of possible of that.
If it's palm or coconut oil, it may solidify at lower temperatures before the watery part of the soup freezes, so that may also be an option.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:01 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]

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