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Old 02-23-2011, 09:24 AM   #1
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Chicken Cilantro Disaster

So it happened tonight......

It doesn't happen often. Most of the time when I try something new, experiment and alter recipes on the fly the results range from acceptable to outstanding. But every once in a while, like 2 times a year on average, I try something that just totally and completely bombs. So bad that my husband can't even finish it.

I don't know what happened, I have a couple theories about what's wrong with this recipe. I happened to find fresh cilantro in the store tonight, something I've been hunting since my arrival in the Philippines. So I bought a bundle to use for some fresh guacamole. But I had more than I needed for that and knew it would spoil quickly, so I looked up a recipe to try. I went for this:

Creamy Cilantro Chicken with a Kick Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Now, for starters, the sauce (which I made exactly as prescribed except I added more garlic because....well....yeah) did not look ANYTHING like this picture, it was bright green. But I taste tested it before I put in the chicken for marinade and it seemed flavorful, didn't think there was any problem except that it was, perhaps, a bit sweet.

The only thing I added to the recipe apart from extra garlic was some diced tomatoes and fresh sliced advocado (I had cut some up the other day that wasn't quite ripe enough for guac but I didn't want to waste it and thought it would work in this capacity). I've made pasta dishes with chicken, advocado and tomatoes before and it's super tasty, so I didn't think this would be a problem.

On first bite it was pretty good, but after a few bites a terrible bitter aftertaste formed. Hubby suspects the "not ready for prime time advocado", I suspect it was both the advocado and the coconut milk the recipe calls for.

The seasonings would've been very good if I'd just tossed the chicken with some olive oil, I think. But the coconut milk seemed to interact badly with one or more ingredients.

What do you guys think? And if I had to make this again, what would you recommend as the "base" for the marinade besides the coconut milk? Seems like something "citrusy" would do better, but not sure what.

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Old 02-23-2011, 10:36 AM   #2
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As far as the bitterness is concerned, is there any chance your grated lime zest had a bit of pith?
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:48 AM   #3
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I've heard cooked avocado will get bitter.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
As far as the bitterness is concerned, is there any chance your grated lime zest had a bit of pith?
Possible, but, I can't get limes here and used some calamansi from my garden, which are these tiny round fruits that look like baby oranges but are tart like lemons & limes and used as such. I actually couldn't get much zest out of it. I did squeeze the juice into it to make up for the missing zest.....but we're talking about something that's the size of a large grape. Could that have been enough to make the whole mix bitter?
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I've heard cooked avocado will get bitter.
Hmmm....that's never been my experience when I've used it in pasta before. However....I did cook it longer this time than I normally would if I was tossing some fresh avo with chicken.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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In that case I would be less inclined to believe that was the cause of the bitterness. Stil a light possibility, but probably not.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:21 AM   #7
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I think it's too much cilantro. I thought I liked it until I added too much once and it completely turned me off of using it at all.

I've never gotten too much parsley, so I stick with that.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:14 PM   #8
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Sometimes cilantro can have an unpleasantly bitter taste, particularly when cooked. My guess would be too much cilantro and/or overcooking it. I always add cilantro at or near the end of the cooking process. I note that your recipe called for simmering the marinade for only 5 minutes to make the sauce. Did you cook it for longer than this?
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:28 PM   #9
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I bet one of ingredients simply was not good. Because the recipe sounds good, ok I would not cook chicken breast that long. Did I read recipe right, is it what it's called for, but that has nothing to do with bitterness.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:24 PM   #10
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Cooked avocados absolutely can be bitter, so that would be my first guess.

I've never found cilantro to be bitter ever, even when cooked and I cook with it A LOT.

Other things than can sometimes be bitter are garlic and citrus juice, depending on how old they are. I try to taste my garlic and my lime juice before I dump them in (when I remember).

If you have the inclination, try making it again and add the avocado in at the very end, just to warm up. Or use it as a garnish.
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