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Heat Up Valentine's Day with These Spicy Recipes

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Create a sultry, seductive mood on Valentine’s Day with these spicy dishes that set the palate (and the passions) on fire. From Thai curries to Mexican moles, the recipes take their inspiration from around the globe, and warm the senses with chile, ginger, and even mustard seeds. Some like it hot!

  • Recipe

    Red Peanut Mole with Chicken

    Most moles contain dozens of ingredients combined in a daunting number of steps, but this easy version cooks in under an hour from a manageable number of ingredients and will still make you say wow. You can also make the sauce a day ahead, and it will only taste better.

  • Recipe

    Spicy Orange Balsamic Shrimp Cocktail

    In this modern spin on a beloved classic, traditional tomato-horseradish cocktail sauce gets a big boost of flavor from fresh oranges, spicy chipotle, and tangy balsamic glaze.

  • Recipe

    Chocolate Chile Truffles

    Just a smidge of chipotle powder is all you need to add tingling heat to dark chocolate truffles. Mezcal adds a smoky flavor; you can use tequila, but the flavor of the truffle will be less intense.

  • Recipe

    Thai Green Curry with Seared Scallops

    Perfectly seared scallops stand out in this fragrant curry. There are a lot of ingredients involved in making the curry paste, but they all go right into a blender, which means it’s super easy to make. Serve the curry with rice or noodles.

  • Recipe

    True Love Cake

    This one is more warm than searingly hot, a Sri Lankan honey semolina cake spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and rosewater. It pairs perfectly with Indian or Southeast Asian curries, and with a name like True Love Cake, how can you NOT serve it?
  • Moveable Feast

    Spicy Balinese Roasted Chicken

    If you can’t find wild (aka kaffir) lime leaves (an essential in Thai and Indonesian dishes), a bay leaf is a fine substitute.

  • Recipe

    Spicy Slow-Cooked Short Ribs with Lime & Basil

    Lime marmalade gives a wonderful burst of sweet, citrusy tang to this luxurious braise, which fairly cries out for rice or mashed potatoes as an accompaniment; sautéed chard or baby bok choy would also be nice. You can find the marmalade with the British foods in the international aisle of large supermarkets.

  • Recipe

    Moroccan-Spiced Seared Scallops

    A blend of six spices you probably have in your pantry and a preserved-lemon shortcut make this impressive, exotic dish feasible for a weeknight meal. 

  • Moveable Feast

    Roasted Strawberries with Dark Chocolate and Smoked Chile Sauce

    Fruit gets dynamic in this dessert that—with its sauce of dark chocolate, cayenne, and tequila—nods to the flavors of Mexico.

  • Recipe

    Chile-Butter Lobster Bao

    The heaping, meal-size classic lobster roll is reimagined here as a two-bite nibble, inspired by fluffy Chinese-style buns, or bao.The lobster is steamed partway and then poached in butter, making it that much more rich and luscious. A combination of red Thai chiles and Sriracha, a Southeast Asian-style chili-garlic sauce, gives the lobster a dose of mild heat and bright flavor.

  • Recipe

    Spicy Bourbon Sidecar

    A double dose of ancho—in the syrup and in powder form on the rim of the glass—gives this cocktail a nice hit of tingly warmth. The syrup is left over from making Chocolate Cake with Candied Anchos, but you can also make the syrup alone if you're not making the cake.

  • Recipe

    Mango Ginger Lime Shortcakes

    Cardamom and black pepper give this dessert a slightly exotic flavor.

  • Recipe

    Chocolate Bark with Cashews, Raisins, and Pink Peppercorns

    Pink peppercorns add a not–too–hot fruity flavor to this nutty chocolate bark.

  • Recipe

    Pears Poached in Port and Honey Mustard

    Mustard adds a spicy heat to classic port-poached pears. These are wonderful served with vanilla ice cream or whipped heavy cream and shortcakes.

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