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I go to a food cart regularly and I've had this red lentil soup before but today I noticed that the minced onions were really crunchy but didn't taste strong as if they were raw. The lentils were soft so I'm sure that the soup was cooked long enough to make the added vegetables tender. I'm assuming this is because they weren't sauteed before they were added to the soup? Could there be some other reason?

  • Can you be more specific about crunchy? Do you mean like raw onion? Did they taste raw or cooked? – Cascabel Nov 17 '16 at 22:35
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    I think you've answered your own question then. They added raw onion at the end without giving it time to cook in the soup. You are right that onion is usually sauteed first. Perhaps someone else knows of a chemical process in soup that can revert onions to a raw texture. – Sobachatina Nov 17 '16 at 22:43
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    @jefromi - they didn't taste raw, that's what threw me off. – haakon.io Nov 17 '16 at 23:10
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    Well, it'd be awesome if you could edit your question and provide as clear a description as you can, including all the stuff about flavor and appearance and texture that you remember. It's good to know they didn't taste raw; still not sure if they looked raw, or if they were crunchy in the same way as raw. Without that it's going to be hard for people to give specific answers. – Cascabel Nov 17 '16 at 23:17
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    @haakon319 - If they were planning on adding raw onion to the soup, they may have intentionally used sweet onions which wouldn't taste sharp. – Sobachatina Nov 18 '16 at 16:45
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Onions that have been blanched (briefly dipped in boiling water) will taste less sharp than raw onions - so it is possible that the onions were merely added at the end, and the soup may have been hot enough to mellow the taste even if the onions remain firm.

It may also be possible that the onions in the soup that day were dehydrated - if they had run out of onions and were substituting, or had dehydrated on hand because they are much more shelf stable, or they were just experimenting. Dried onions rehydrated in soup might have a crunchy or crisp texture like raw onion, without the sharp flavor raw onion have. Also, a dried and rehydrated onion might be crunchy even after being sauteed, and may not soften even when simmered, which could account for your soup.

  • When I use dehydrated onion in soup they are never crunchy after rehydrating. I wonder what is different. – Sobachatina Nov 18 '16 at 16:45
  • @Sobachatina - I would think maybe they'd be crunchy of they were just, just added (no time to fully rehydrate). Or in the linked answer, something about being sauteed first, though I don't know the exact mechanism. But really it's speculation on my part. – Megha Nov 18 '16 at 19:12
  • Makes sense. That is true that still-dehydrated onions are crisp but they aren't mistaken for raw as the OP is describing. – Sobachatina Nov 18 '16 at 19:15

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