Which Food Is Spicier, Mexican Or Indian? (4 Most Hottest Dishes!)

Which cuisine is spicier? Mexican or Indian? Both have their own unique spices that make their food taste hot and unique. Indians use cumin, ginger, mustard, black pepper, and garam masala spice mix, while Mexicans use chili powder, coriander, and chipotle powder. Although each cuisine has its own unique spices, they can both be incredibly spicy.

There Are Different Types Of Spiciness

different types of hot spices

Before deciding whether Mexican and Indian cuisine is spicier, it’s essential to define what exactly spicy food is.

The spiciness is a bit of a catch-all term that can refer to two vastly different things—actual spices and hotness.

By definition, spicy food is strongly flavored food that has been seasoned with a wide variety of spices. However, in the standard English language, spicy food refers to something more—hot food, dishes that produce a burning sensation when eaten thanks to their capsaicin content.

In these terms, you can safely say that food seasoned with non-hot spices such as turmeric or cumin can count as spicy despite producing entirely different sensations from the chili-rich, hot foods most consider spicy.

Indian Cuisine Is Spicy, Mexican Cuisine Is Hot

a woman eating hot chilies

Across the entire country, Indian food is consistently heavy with spices and seasoning. Garam masala, ginger, cumin, mustard, and curry are mainstays of seasoning in most dishes, giving nearly all preparations a consistently spicy flavor.

Of course, there are vast variations. For example, North Indian food is rich with spices but is consistently less spicy than South Indian recipes, as the plates from this region are most prone to be very spicy-hot.

Much like Indian cuisine, Mexican food is also very seasoned and flavorful. It uses many local and imported spices, but one of the primary flavor agents is undoubtedly chili powder.

Mulato chilies used in Mexican cooking
Matured Mulato chilies have been used for hundreds of years in Mexican dishes. 

Chiles have been one of the three staples of Mexican food for centuries. They are also the main food containing the aforementioned capsaicin, the main component that causes the hot-spicy sensation. When Mexican cuisine tries to become hot-spicy, it incorporates the spiciest chiles and chili powders.

So, which food is spicier Mexican or Indian?

In conclusion, it’s near impossible to determine which cuisine is spicier, as they approach the topic in vastly different manners—Indian cuisine has the highest levels of spice incorporated in their general cuisine practice, while Mexican cuisine contains spicy components in key dishes to enhance the hot-spice sensation of those who want it.

2 Most Hottest Mexican Dishes

1. Cochinita Pibil

MexiCochinita Pibil tortolacan pork stew
Cochinita Pibil, an incredibly spicy traditional Mexican pork stew tortilla.

Originated in the Yucatán peninsula, cochinita pibil is slow-roasted pork with a distinctively red coloring granted by traditional achiote paste.

Although it can be prepared without them, the dish turns from mild and slightly sweet into a burning-hot experience when cooked with habanero peppers.

2. Camarones A La Diabla

Camarones a la diabla, also known as diablo shrimp,
Camarones a la diabla, also known as diablo shrimp, is a very spicy shrimp dish simmered in hot chili sauce.

In Mexico, saying that a dish is “a la diabla” means hot—really hot.

Delicious shrimps are prepared with a sauce consisting of three different chiles to guarantee a bright-red flavor explosion that will have you fanning your mouth.

2. Spiciest Indian Dishes

1 Phaal Curry

Phaal Curry made with Bhut Naga Jolokia chili
Consider the world’s hottest curry; Phaal Curry contains the world’s hottest Bhut Naga Jolokia chili.

Although not a traditional Indian dish, phaal curry is a plate that follows centuries-old Indian cooking methods with only one goal—becoming the spiciest curry in the world.

Designed from the get-go to be burning hot, it makes use of chili peppers, but those daring enough can request their dish to include habaneros or the dreaded Carolina Reaper.

2. Vindaloo Curry

Vindaloo curry made with Indian hottest curry sauce
Slow-cooked Vindaloo curry made with Indian hottest curry sauce.

A traditional curry developed by fusing Indian and Portuguese cooking traditions, ít combines pork, garlic, vinegar, and curry spices with a big dose of the spiciest peppers available.

Read Also: Best Ethnic Foods To Try This Year – Exploring Beyond The Cheeseburger!

In Summary – Indian Food vs Mexican Food

When it comes to Indian food vs Mexican food and their spiciness levels, some people might say that Mexican food is spicier than Indian food.

However, giving a definitive verdict is very difficult as the spiciness level depends on the region of each country, different chilies, other spices used in the recipes, and each person’s genetic factor regulates responses to spicy foods.

Some people might also argue that the spice levels in Indian cuisine have been increasing in recent years. So it might be worth trying some of the newer dishes if you’re looking for something extra fiery so you can decide for yourself which country’s cuisine is more spicer, Indian or Mexican.

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.