Do you love a little heat in your food, or perhaps you’re a proud pepper consumer and love to just pile it on? Either way, this collection of spicy salads showcases the different types of spicy ingredients that enhance the inherent flavours of the recipe. Enjoy!
What makes food spicy?
A nasty compound called Capsaicin!
Capsaicin is an organic compound that is produced by the seeds in the plants of the Capsicum genus. This active ingredient is what gives food that heat. Capsaicin is essentially a natural defence mechanism against being under attack, such as from us humans who wish to eat them!
Our tongue contains thousands of pain receptors called VR1 receptors. They can be found on our taste buds’ surface and actually on many other body parts too. When it comes into contact with Capsaicin, it causes a burning sensation, signalled by the brain through the trigeminal nerve.
The different levels of tolerance are due to desensitised receptors that can occur if you eat a lot of spicy food and become less affected.
How to measure the spiciness of foods?
The Scoville unit scale is the measurement by which one determines the heat level of chillies. This is done by getting human testers that get a series of dilutions of a specific pepper. They continue to dilute it until it is no longer spicy. The number of times it is diluted is the unit by which the levels of spiciness is measured.
This test is, of course, subjective as we all have different levels of tolerance. Still, it has been refined over the years to give a relatively good understanding.
Chillies or peppers that have a score of 0 indicates it is not spicy at all. The hottest pepper of all is the Carolina Reaper which comes in at a whopping 2,200,000 Scoville units! That is massively high when a regular jalapeno only comes in at 2,500 to 2,800 Scoville units.
Anyone here tried the Carolina Reaper?
How to cool down your mouth after eating spicy food
The first remedy that everyone instinctively does is to grab a glass of water. When in fact, that is the worst thing you can do. Capsaicin is an oil, which, as we all know, does not mix with water. Drinking water will only spread the burn across the receptors on your tongue.
If you thought that drinking a glass of milk would help alleviate spiciness was just an old wife’s tale, you would be wrong. It does actually work. It works because milk contains a protein called casein which helps to break the bonds of the Capsaicin from the receptors that have been too receptive!
This would explain why a lot of Mexican and Indian food are often accompanied by some form of sour cream or yoghurt. In fact, a good mango lassi is the perfect way to get rid of the heat.
Growing up, my mother used to always tell me to drink hot water. This was a completely counterintuitive move. My tongue is already on fire, and you want me to make it worse? However, it is sometimes so bad that I’d do anything to get rid of it, so I’d bite the bullet and drink hot water. The initial pain is awful, but the relief is almost instant!
Oh, and cucumber. Cucumber is the best thing to have to relieve your throbbing mouth!
Growing up in southeast Asia, eating chilli is an everyday occurrence. So much so that there are many people out there who believe that food is completely tasteless if there was any fresh chilli around.
We love a kick of heat in our salad. Not enough to blow your socks off but certainly enough to enhance the flavours of a recipe. Of course, the beauty of spicy foods is that you can adjust them to your liking. Feel free to pile it on if you’re after something that will produce beads of sweat!
Enjoy our collection of spicy salads!
Bold spicy Asian flavours that will definitely get your taste buds moving.
Delicious texture with tofu skin, cucumber and cauliflower mixed with a chilli black vinegar dressing that is spicy, sweet and sharp all at the same time.
Smoky, earthy and salty, this Chipotle Corn Salad is accompanied by simple, fresh ingredients.
This budget friendly salad is easy to make and fantastic for those warmer months as you host a casual alfresco lunch with family and friends.
This Korean inspired Gochujang Chicken Salad is an explosion of mouth-watering flavours and prickly heat. It’s almost too good to share!
Elevate this summer prawn salad with an aromatic cilantro chimichurri sauce. Perfect for those balmy alfresco dining afternoons when your family and friends are over for a BBQ!
Dive into a traditional style salad that heralds from the intertwining of Chinese and British Malay cultures of centuries past.
This Zucchini and Cucumber Salad celebrates the fusion between the 2 cuisines, replicated nowhere else in the world.
No boring Chicken and Gem Lettuce Salad with spicy, tangy sriracha aioli all balanced with sweet, crunchy and wholesome vegetables. This is a healthy and delicious meal in one.
Imagine infusing a Vegan Cauliflower Steak with some of the most aromatic spices found in curry powder.
Then imagine the smells in the kitchen as they roast themselves into delectable pieces of joy. What a salad!
Freshly grilled prawns, aromatic Thai herbs and a zesty Chilli Tamarind salad dressing with a good kick of chilli, this Asian-inspired salad is mouth-watering goodness.
Jalapeno chilli peppers are the perfect way to spice up your life! It certainly did so with this Spicy Green Salad as it elevated it to the next level.
Too hot? Let the avocado fan cool you down!
Sweet golden mangoes matched perfectly with roasted coconut flakes, crunchy red cabbage, fresh mint and salty peanuts with a tangy lime and fish sauce dressing.
A vibrant and healthy mango recipe that is punchy and with a whole lot of tropical vibes.
What could be more scrumptious than whole roasted baby cauliflower? Combine them with spiced chickpeas and beetroot tahini, and you’ll have a middle eastern inspired salad that won’t disappoint.
Outrageously easy to make, our Spicy Mango Salsa with Avocado is super popular for the crowds. Fresh, zesty with a good kick of jalapeno, you will love this delicious salsa variation.
Combining exotic flavours in salty tamarind dressing served with prawns, crunchy green mango, grilled pineapple and cucumber, this Thai Green Mango Salad recipe is super refreshing.
Great starter to get the taste buds moving.
Asian-inspired Spicy Chicken Salad with a tasty mix of fresh crunchy vegetables all tossed together with a hot chilli garlic salad dressing; flavours to wake the taste buds for sure.
More Salad Collections
Here’s a fantastic array of other salad collections that just might take your fancy:
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes
Salad dressings are incredibly easy to make in the comfort of your own home. This way you can control the ingredients to suit your palate and you can make the exact portion you need for that one meal. Check out our collection!
Salad Ingredient Pairings
Here are some ingredient pairing ideas if you wish to create your own salad recipe:
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