Mexican soups like pozole, tortilla soup, and taco soup are infamous for their fiery hot flavors. But is it possible to tame the heat while keeping all that incredible taste? Absolutely! This guide will show you several simple tricks to make your favorite Mexican soups milder.
Before altering your recipe, taste a spoonful to determine how spicy it truly is. Your tolerance for heat is personal. What intensely burns your mouth may seem mild to someone else.
Gauge the spiciness before making adjustments. You can always add more kick later by sprinkling in chili powder or hot sauce. It’s tougher to tame the flames once they’re roaring.
Add More Liquid
One of the simplest ways to reduce spiciness is by adding more liquid. The capsaicin oils that generate heat are diluted.
For soups, increase the amount of broth or water. For highly concentrated sauces, stir in more tomato puree, coconut milk, or your liquid of choice. Just a quarter or half cup more liquid can make a noticeable difference.
Load Up On Veggies
Pile those bowls high with fresh, crunchy garnishes! Vegetables provide cooling contrast to fiery chile peppers.
Top your tortilla or taco soup with shredded lettuce, crunchy cabbage, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, radishes, cilantro, and lime wedges. The higher the ratio of produce to spicy ingredients, the milder the dish becomes.
Embrace The Starch
Carbohydrates are chile’s kryptonite. Bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes are excellent for toning down intense heat.
Serve pozole or tortilla soup over white rice. Float cubes of crusty bread in the broth. Add some cooked elbow macaroni to taco soup. The starch absorbs capsaicin oils and cools your mouth. Dip tortilla chips to temper tongue-scorching salsa.
Spicy heat diminishes when countered by acidic ingredients. A squeeze of lime or splash of vinegar reduces the intensity.
Stir a few teaspoons of lime juice into your soup. Drizzle in some red wine vinegar or rice vinegar. Add diced tomatoes for natural acidity. You can even sprinkle in a touch of citrus zest.
Add Nutty Flavor
Nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts have natural oils that coat your mouth and ease the burn. Chile heat becomes more mellow with nutty richness added.
Sprinkle chopped toasted almonds on tortilla soup. Swirl in peanut or cashew butter. Top with avocado, which technically is not a nut but provides creamy nutty essence. Just a small amount of nut flavor balances spiciness.
Creamy dairy products provide fatty relief from the fire of chiles. Milk, cheese, sour cream, or yogurt help extinguish some of that intense heat.
Stir a spoonful of plain yogurt into your soup until combined. Sprinkle shredded monterey jack or queso fresco over individual servings. Top with a dollop of sour cream or crema. Just don’t boil dairy into hot liquid or it may curdle.
Add A Touch Of Sweet
A touch of sweetness balances out spicy chile flavor. But use a delicate hand, as you don’t want the dish to become sugary.
Stir in a pinch of brown sugar or honey, tasting after each addition. Try adding a spoonful of fruit jam, ketchup, maple syrup, or orange marmalade. Diced sweet potato also balances heat.
Use Milder Chiles
Not all chile peppers pack equal punch. Replace intenser dried chiles with milder varieties like ancho, pasilla, or New Mexico.
Opt for fresh poblanos instead of jalapeños. Consider leaving out the seeds and membranes of peppers, which hold most of the heat. You still get chili flavor with gentler
Omit Spicy Ingredients
Simply use less or leave out spicy ingredients altogether. Skip the hot sauce or chili flakes. Use a milder storebought taco seasoning blend.
Make tortilla soup without jalapeños. Swap out some of the broth in pozole for plain vegetable stock. Use less cumin, which enhances perception of heat. Tailor your recipe based on personal preference.
Balance With Smoky Ingredients
Smokiness helps counterbalance spicy heat. Add a teaspoon of smoked paprika when sautéing aromatics. Mix in a few dashes of liquid smoke. Top bowls with crispy bacon crumbles.
Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce provide concentrated smoky flavor. Use the adobo sauce instead of other hot sauces to add deep flavor without excessive heat.
Finish With Cooling Herbs
Fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, basil, and parsley provide cooling contrast to capsaicin heat. Sprinkle them on at the end for fresh flavor and calming sensation.
Ladle tortilla soup into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro. Stir torn mint and basil leaves into taco soup. Parsley balances richness and heat. Just don’t boil herbs, as it diminishes their vibrancy.
FAQs About Making Mexican Soup Less Spicy
Is Tortilla Soup Spicy?
Traditional tortilla soup recipes call for jalapeño peppers, which provide mild to moderate spiciness. But you can adjust the heat level by reducing or omitting the jalapeños.
How Can I Make Pozole Less Spicy?
Use less dried chiles when preparing the pozole broth. Replace intenser dried chiles with milder varieties. Increase the amount of broth or water. Finish with cooling garnishes like shredded lettuce, cabbage, radishes, and lime wedges.
What Are Easy Ways To Tone Down Taco Soup?
Use a mild storebought taco seasoning instead of an extra-spicy homemade blend. Leave out seeds and membranes when dicing hot peppers. Skip hot sauce and chili flakes. Add more tomato juice or vegetable broth. Top with cooling shredded lettuce, cheese, and sour cream.
Will Baking Soda Reduce The Spiciness?
Yes, baking soda will help neutralize some of the acidic heat and tone down spiciness levels. Just stir a small pinch into overly spicy soups or sauces to diminish the intensity.
With a few simple tricks, you can easily tame the heat in Mexican classics like pozole, tortilla soup, and taco soup. Now you can enjoy the incredible depth of flavors without burning your mouth. Adjust