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Jul 30, 2008 08:30 PM

My chili is slightly bitter...any ideas/fixes?

I sauteed onions and the browned the ground beef, then lightly fried (but didn't burn) a paste made from chipotles in adobo, dried (soaked) anchos, garlic, cumin, and mexican oregano. Added the meat and onion back in with a tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder, and added water to thin.

Tasted it while it was coming up to a simmer, and there is a pronounced bitter note. Any idea what caused this and how I can fix it? I went ahead and started simmering, hoping it would mellow out a bit, but now I'm nervous!


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  1. I've found that sometimes dried chiles will leave bitter flavors in their soaking water. Next time try tasting the soak water and if it's bitter don't add all of it in. The bitterness might cook out though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockfish42

      Agreed. Maybe a couple teaspoons of sugar would cut the bitterness. Works to cut the acidity of tomatoes w/o sweetening the sauce.

      Just to note, depending on how much garlic u used and how much u "fried" it, if it was overcooked that could also be the cause for the bitterness.

      1. I'm betting on the ancho chiles. Next time, remove the seeds and membranes first, then soak them, discard the soaking water, puree, and pass through a sieve. Toast first for added flavor.

        As for a fix, sugar can overcome some bitterness. Depends on how bad it is. Too sweet and too bitter is worse than just too bitter.