I find it funny that when you order food at a Thai restaurant, the waitperson will ask how spicy you want a dish, and we respond with a number of stars — pretending that there is some objective standard of spiciness that we have all agreed to conform to. Let’s face facts: it’s a crap shoot as to how spicy a dish will really be when it shows up at your table.
One of the big advantages of learning to cook your own food is that you get control the spice level to whatever standard you wish to apply. And you get to taste it along the way to make sure it’s what you want.
Here’s a great, straightforward Thai red curry chicken recipe. As written, it’s mildly spiced, but it’s easy to crank it up by adding more red pepper flakes. I recommend adding “hot” spice a bit at a time the first time you make a new dish, tasting along the way, until you find the right level. After that, you can start by adding the full amount.
Long simmers tend to mellow out the heat levels in spices, but this recipe only simmers for about 10 minutes; that’s not really long enough to notice any mellowing, so what you put in initially is what you get in the end.
Peace, love, and biscuits,