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Spicy Asian Ingredients for International Hot and Spicy Day

Spicy Asian Ingredients for International Hot and Spicy Day

The hottest day in the culinary world is here. And I’m not talking about summer. I’m talking about International Hot and Spicy Food Day where all kinds of tongue-tingling and sweat-inducing food are celebrated all over the world!

I’ll take you through the wonders of hot and spicy food across Asia and share my favorite hot and spicy Beef Rendang recipe that will blow your top off at the end of this post.

When Is International Hot and Spicy Food Day?


International Hot and Spicy Food Day is celebrated every January 16th of the month across the world. While not an official holiday, adventurous foodies who love some heat take their love for chilis to the next level. The typical International Food Day activities include chili pepper eating contests, spicy food cook-offs, and more.

Spicy can be healthy

A spiced-up life is a healthy life as long as you consume chili peppered food in healthy amounts. Here’s a rundown of what makes capsaicin taste good and feel good.

Health Benefits of Spicy Food

1. Spicy food can aid in weight loss.

While spicy food offers a burning sensation in your mouth, it only makes sense that it helps burn calories too! Research shows that capsaicin found in chili peppers can boost your metabolism and control your appetite.

2. Spicy food may improve your heart health.

Studies show that spicy food helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Spicy food lovers have also been found to be unlikely to die of heart attacks and stroke.

3. Spicy food helps promote a healthy gut.

Eating capsaicin can trigger the release of anandamide, a chemical in your digestive tract that helps prevent inflammation and calms your gut. This reaction also helps keep your gut tumor-free.

4. Spicy food helps you stay happy.

The thought of eating spicy food is always exciting. For those who dislike the heat, it’s still enough to keep your heart racing. Studies have shown that the body produces endorphins like serotonin when spicy food enters the body. In turn, it may help decrease the risk for depression or stress.

Spicy Food Across Asia

When talking about spicy food, Asian cuisine can’t be left out of the conversation. Let’s take a trip across the East hemisphere and get to know some of Asia’s spiciest sauces, ingredients, and food products.

1. China: Sichuan Chili Peppers
Scoville Heat Unit: 50,000-75,000

Sichuan cuisine has become synonymous with all-things spice. The Chinese province is home to Sichuan pepper, an explosive ingredient that offers a mouth-tingling heat and slightly citrusy flavors. The complex topography of Sichuan brings out the pungent yet bold and aromatic qualities that these chili peppers are known for. It is the main ingredient of iconic spicy Chinese food and recipes like hot pots, chili garlic sauces, mapo tofu, and more.

RELATED ARTICLES:
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2. Korea: Samyang Hot and Spicy Ramen Noodles
Scoville Heat Unit: Up to 8,808

Samyang Spicy Chicken Noodles can take center stage for being the superstar of one of the most iconic food challenges we’ve seen as of date. Spicy food lovers and non-lovers alike have united to challenge each other into consuming these noodles that rank a whopping 8,808 on the Scoville Scale! Now that’s one easy yet memorable way to spend this holiday.

Other spicy Korean ingredients that are essential to Korean cooking are gochujang and gochugaru. Both are known for their spicy and smoky flavors but each also has hints of sweet and fruity flavors in them. These ingredients continue to stand the test of time as they are used in traditional Korean recipes as well as popular dishes like pizza, hot and spicy chicken wings, ribs, and more.

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3. Japan: Sichimi Togarashi
Scoville Heat Unit: No information available as of writing

Small but strong- that’s what I would describe Shichimi Togarashi. The word Togarashi is the Japanese term for Capsicum annum, a type of red pepper that serves as the main ingredient for this spice mixture. Adding to its complex flavors are Japanese peppers, orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ground ginger, and nori. A sprinkle of this can immediately give your recipes a subtle yet striking bite of spice.

More spicy Japanese ingredients include wasabi, La-Yu Chili Oil, and Japanese Curry– all of which pack varying heat and textures that are worth trying.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Vegan Chickpea and Potato Japanese Curry

4. Vietnam: Sriracha Sauce
Scoville Heat Unit: 2,200

Everyone’s favorite hot sauce deserves a spot on this list. Huy Fong’s Sriracha sauce is made with a mildly spicy mix of chili peppers, sugar, garlic, distilled vinegar, and salt. It packs a gentle heat which makes it palatable to a wider range of foodies. Spicy, tangy, sweet, and garlicky flavors mesh perfectly, making it an ideal chili sauce for pho, burgers, hotdogs, and more. You can use it for literally anything that you want for a dash of spice and everything nice. They even have sriracha-flavored peas now!

5. Thailand: Mae Ploy Green Curry Paste
Scoville Heat Unit: 1,000

You might think that red curry paste is the spiciest among Thai curries. But in truth, green curry takes the crown of King of Curry Spice. Green chili peppers, cilantro, lime leaf and peel, and basil give this pungent paste its vibrant green color and exquisite curry taste. Blended with some coconut milk, green chili, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and shallots, you’ve got yourself a spicy paste that’s creamy yet spicy enough to fire up your spirits.

RELATED ARTICLE: Step-by-Step Green Pork Curry using Mae Ploy paste

Huey Fong Sambal Oelek Chili Paste 8 Oz
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6. Indonesia / Malaysia / Singapore - Sambal Oelek
Scoville Heat Unit: Approximately 3,000

If you love sriracha, you’ll love sambal oelek. Sambal oelek is a spicy relish that is native in Indonesia but also used in other Southeast Asian cuisines. While there are hundreds of sambal, the most popular variety is made from fresh and natural ground chili peppers mixed with secondary ingredients like salt, shrimp paste, vinegar, lime juice, and others. Like sriracha, it’s also an all-purpose seasoning that offers a refreshing heat to noodle dishes, soups, stews, meat, rice, and even eggs.

5 Easy and Spicy Asian Recipe Ideas

Now that you’ve got the ingredients, it’s time to learn what how you can use them. Here are my favorite easy recipes that offer a sure-fire way to crank up the heat in every meal.

1. China: Lao Gan Ma Hot and Spicy Chinese Noodles

The Sichuan taste is strong with this one! This hot and spicy noodle recipe from Woks of Life mixes the cult-favorite Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisps with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and other spices for a super satisfying and delicious experience. It only takes 25 minutes to make!

2. Korea: Tteokboki/Hot and Spicy Rice Cakes

Tteokboki, or hot and spicy rice cakes, is a popular Korean street food that’s typically served with a thick and fiery red sauce, boiled eggs, scallions. This recipe from Maangchi, the authority on Korean recipes online, uses both gochugang and gochugaru mixed with dried anchovy soup stock for a spicy, smoky, and almost briny tasting tteokboki.

3. Japan: Spicy Salmon Poke Bowl

It may not be summer yet but International Hot and Spicy Food day is a great excuse to enjoy a refreshing bowl of Spicy Salmon Poke Bowl. Jessica Gavin uses sriracha along with rice wine vinegar, light soy sauce, and sesame oil as the main seasoning for her poke bowl. The result is a spicy and savory dish that will remind you of warm days by the ocean.

4. Thailand: Shrimp with Pineapple and Red Curry

Spicy seafood lovers, this special recipe is for you! I mixed in pineapple chunks with Mae Ploy Red Curry to achieve complex yet complimentary sweet and spicy flavors. It’s unique, unexpected, and not your typical chicken curry dish, but these are the exact qualities that make it a favorite recipe of mine! The best part: 30 minutes is all it takes to whip up this hearty, heat-filled dish.

5. Indonesia / Malaysia - Beef Rendang

Don’t mistake it for curry! Beef Rendang is a mouthwatering dish that’s made with tender beef, a mix of Asian spices, and coconut cream. The beef is slow-cooked so all the rich and fiery flavors seep through the meat. Packed with protein and irresistible heat, it’s not surprising how it topped the CNN Reader’s Choice for World’s 50 Best Foods twice in 2011 and 2017. You wouldn’t want to miss out on this!

Scroll down for my very own Beef Rendang recipe featuring ingredients like chili oil and gochugaru that are readily available in our online shop.

RELATED ARTICLES:
Gochujang (Red Chili Pepper Paste) from Wang Korea
The Colors of Curry: Choosing the Best Thai Curry Paste for Your Dish

International Hot and Spicy Food Day is a great opportunity for everyone to step out of their comfort zone and try something out of the ordinary. For chili heads, it’s a day of pushing the extremes of hot and spicy food. It’s kind of like playing with fire, but in a safe, fun, and delicious sense!

However you want to celebrate this special day, make sure to listen to your body, know when to take a step back, and have a glass of water by your side when eating your favorite spicy dishes. For the best spicy Asian sauces online, shop at Karman Foods!

Other Spicy Food

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