--- Join Adam Liaw on an inspiring journey to highlight Australia's bushfire-affected food producers on Adam Liaw's Road Trip for Good Wednesdays 8.30pm on SBS Food and SBS On Demand. ---
It might seem contrary, but eating hot food on a hot day really does cool you down. Spicy food triggers the same response in the body as high temperatures - it makes you sweat, which ultimately makes you feel cooler.
This is the reason why cuisines from the more scorching parts of the world are often the spiciest. Think of a Mexican mole, Liberian chilli sauce, Indian vindaloo, or a Jamaican jerk chicken. The hotter the temperature, the hotter the food.
Not that we need an excuse to fire up the insides. Eating just to the edge of pain is something of an obsession around here. Go gently...
If you're serious about your jerk marinade, you'll use scorching Scotch bonnet chillies and plenty of 'em. Jerking in Jamaica will often result in dishes only locals dare handle.
Despite it's reputation as India's hottest curry, the kashmiri chillies used in this fish vindaloo recipe only have a Scoville Scale heat rating of 1000-2000 - which is to say jump right in, the water's fine.
The Korean name for this dish is buldak, which literally translates to "fire chicken". Yup, it's that hot. The intense heat goes extremely well with a cold beer, which is probably the reason why this street food dish is also served in bars all over Seoul.
It's not just chilli that will cool you down, the numbing heat of Sichuan peppers and fresh chillies does the job just as well. A light meal like this spicy water fish dish perfectly suits a searing summers day.
You can dahl the spice up or down, depending on how much heat you like. In this version, the fire comes from mustard, as well as chilli.
Curries are a playground for spices. Here the chana dhal provides a neutral backdrop to let them play and sing to mellow perfection.
"The hero of this dish is the dahl, made with creamy coconut milk and fresh tomato. The fish plays a supporting role, which makes for an excellent light-on-meat option. You could even ditch the fish altogether, for a humble yet delicious meal." Matthew Evans, For the Love of Meat
A stew as dark and murky as the Louisiana swamps it hails from, gumbo comes in many variations. Here the intense flavour of rabbit is a good match for a decent hit of cayenne pepper and hot sauce.
Liberian home cook Judy Cole says this volcanic chilli sauce, "will take you to Africa and back again!" Now that's one way to travel!
This is steak and three veg with a difference - packed with Vietnamese flavours, this is a great dinner to whip up on a weekday night.
Tom yum soup is known as one of Thailand's fierier dishes thanks to tiny birds' eye chillies. What they lack in size, birds' eye make up for in power, so do go easy.
Put some jalapeño bombs in a quinoa salad and cool will be your middle name.
Peri peri seasoning is a must-have in cupboards from Portugal to South Africa. DIY and you can make it as flaming as you can stand.
If its hot and steamy, you need to go hot and sour in the form of a laksa. There's no question that the right amount of added chilli, tamarind and galangal will have you sweating it out in no time.
This fragrant duck dish combines the sweet and numbing heat of Sichuanese spices with fresh aromatics, all braised together in a light beer sauce. If you're a fan of Sichuan cuisine, this is one dish you can't miss.
This is one of my all-time favourite things to eat. If you want to convince the meat eater in your life that food can be just as good without it, or you’re looking to reduce the amount of meat you eat, this recipe is a fantastic place to start.
Bursting with healthy lentils, beans, spices and veggies, this is a protein-rich food bowl that's designed to refuel your body and soul.
Up your BBQ game with this pepperberry sauce, which brings a slightly sweet flavour before packing a peppery punch.
The chilli-spiked sauce is the perfect match with crisp-battered crab.
A mixture of chillies and spices give this famous fried squid its signature burst of flavour.
These bite-size fried jalapeño peppers pack a punch with habanero and chipotle sauces stirred through the cream cheese filling, and the layer of bacon is a smoky, salty surprise.
This is a simple spice mix made from toasted ground Sichuan peppercorns and salt flakes.
Christine Manfield's Tasting India cookbook showcases recipes by home cooks, such as this southern specialty (known as "black chicken fry") by Mrs Meena Meyappan, a food and architecture expert in Tamil Nadu.