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Wow that's boring soup -- help please

The heat finally broke enough today for me to make carrot ginger curry soup to eat chilled over the next few days. Used my regular old Joy of Cooking recipe which calls for just a bit of butter for sweating the aromatics, simmering the carrots in chix broth and pureeing with the stick blender. You can add cream or milk but I just swirl in some greek yogurt.

Well, I tasted it for seasoning and it's just plain boring. Not enough curry flavor, although it's better with a hit of cilantro, but I'm wondering what else I can do? I don't want to add more raw curry. Lemon juice? Balsamic? OJ? Can I toast some coriander and toss it in?

Any advice from you great cooks?

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  1. Lemon juice makes a huge difference in carrot soup. I like to sprinkle a little garam masala in too.

    1. The only thing I know is that things served cold need extra seasoning. Have you made this recipe before and it was okay? If so, maybe your spices are tired out. Or did you serve it hot before and now you're serving it chilled? Different beast.

      Don't know if it would work, so try on maybe one cup of soup before you contaminate the entire batch. Toast more of your curry in a little butter, ghee, or even oil (noting what amounts you used in case it tastes good and you want to doctor up the rest of the pot). Add to the single serving, see if that helps. Maybe a squirt of ginger juice as well.

      I always add extra cumin to any curry. It's my favorite flavor. So, maybe just a little extra toasted cumin, or whatever your favorite spice is in the curry mix you buy or make. No need to add fairly neutral turmeric if another spice works for you.

      Also, sometimes letting a soup meditate with itself for a day develops the flavors. Before you add anything, maybe let it chill in the fridge.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nemo

        "...sometimes letting a soup meditate with itself ..."

        I LOVE this phrase! I may have to appropriate it!

      2. My response disappeared! So I will try again....

        sweating ginger and curry doesn't seem like quite enough. If you want more of that flavor, put a little oil in a medium-hot pan and add more shredded ginger and curry and toast [think Indian food] before adding it back into the soup when the smell fills your kitchen.

        Does the soup need more salt? Very often, boring soup equals under seasoned. Test with a little bit of soup in its own bowl before adding more to the whole soup container.

        And, finally, if you still have some of the carrots left, taste one. Your soup will taste like this carrot, so if it doesn't have much flavor, neither will the soup.

        1. How much ginger did you use? I typically grate 1-2 tbsp of ginger. If you have parsnips available, that will give it a nice sweet flavor. Can you roast or grill the carrots (and parsnips) to enhance the flavor? Also, my former roommate used to add dill to her carrot soups (but then she doesn't use curry or ginger), and that was a nice flavor combo.

          As someone said, for colder soups, you need a bit more flavor, so if I were making this soup, I'd double the spices/seasonings.

          Serve it with nuts toasted in curry leaves.

          1. I find that a bit of tarragon spices up many boring things and it goes well with ginger.

            1. Although I use salt sparingly, chilled soup may need a bit more salt (as others have mentioned above). Bit more cumin can't hurt as well (as nemo says).

              1. I would probably try a little salt before adding anything else. Otherwise, the addition of ginger or more curry powder might do it.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I agree! A squirt of Sriracha and maybe a splash or 2 of Fish Sauce. There was a thread recently about how Fish Sauce can very sneakily give a level of complexity to a recipe. I've been trying it and I think it's spot on. Makes something more interesting in an unrecognizable and "Huh?...Huh!" kind of way.

                  2. saute up more aromatics and add curry and cook out the raw flavor and then add back to the original soup and blend

                    1. The Moosewood Cookbook, in their original Carrot Soup recipe, which is probably the only thing I cook from that cookbook, suggests three seasoning combinations..
                      1) 2 pinches nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon dried mint and a dash of cinnamon
                      2) 1/2-1 teaspoon each thyme, basil and marjoram
                      or my favorite
                      3)1 tsp. fresh-grated ginger, sauteed in butter plus a dash of sherry, added just before serving...You are adding creme fraiche, or fromage blanc, n'est-ce pas?

                      1. Definitely add more salt. Also, favorite trick is to stir in a few drops of vinegar to each bowl just before serving to soups that do not seem to have enough flavor.

                        1. The soup is much better today. It did, indeed, need to meditate on itself overnight. I added salt and a little lemon juice and I think I'll continue to experiment bowl by bowl -- a little garam masala in this one, a little splash of sherry in that one.

                          Thanks for your tips on aggressively seasoning chilled soups. I had made this recipe before but had never chilled it down. Next time I'm going to double the curry powder and ginger in the first sweat.