Fighting Fat with Fire: Three Spicy Chili Recipes from Around the World


With the recent news that the capsaicin in the humble chili pepper can help fight fat, it seems like a fine time to do a round up of fiery foods.

Not only that, spicy foods are great in the summer because, though it may seem counter intuitive, they make you sweat, which cools you off.

So beat the heat and the blubber with chilis!

For a perfect grilled dinner on a hot summer night try this fiery Balinese sambal with grilled shrimp. Make sure you buy U.S Farmed or wild caught spot prawns according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Staple of Thai restaurants, the famous Green Papaya Salad is actually surprisingly easy to make at home. Green papayas can be found in Southeast Asian grocery stores and produce markets. It really does matter that you buy a green (unripe) papaya. A ripe papaya just isn’t the same. Here’s a recipe from Food and Wine. I like to make this in the summer and serve it with steamed rice and grilled chicken marinated in fish sauce, pepper, lime juice, and pounded garlic. The leftovers keep well for a refreshing lunch the next day.

If you’ve ever enjoyed Peruvian food, you’ve probably experienced a bright yellow, spicy chili sauce. It’s called Aji Amarillo and here’s a DIY recipe version. Peruvian cooks blend it with feta or ricotta to make a dip for potatoes, or mix it with lime juice and garlic to make a sauce for ceviche. Yum!

Image: Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.