How to Chop an Onion
Author: Naufal - Friday, 23 Sept 2016
Chopping onion is one of the knife skills you might want to learn. Why? Because there are a lot of dishes who has onion as their main ingredients. Here, we will tell you how to chop an onion. But before that, we will talk about the kinds of onion cuts and the common mistake in chopping onion. Lets start now.
Knowing the onion cuts is as important as knowing how to chop an onion. That is because different dish requires different cuts. There are six kinds of cuts, large dice, medium dice, small dice or mince, brunoise, along the equator slices and pole to pole slices. Dont know what they are? Dont worry, we will explain each one to you.
- The first is the large dice. Large dice is a chunk 3/4 of an inch or larger. Used as/in: bouquets garnis, flavoring stock, grilling, skewering and sometimes for stir fries.
- The second is the medium dice. It is an onion piece about 1/2 an inch in size. Used in: sauces, braises, soups and stews.
- The third is the small dice. It is 1/4 inch in size. Used in: salads, salsas, meatloaf, meatballs or used in smoother, more refined sauces, braises, curries and stews.
- Fourth, is the brunoise. It is an extremely fine dice, about 1/8th inch or less in size. Used in: pates or tartars or in exceptionally refined dishes
- Fifth, is the along the equator slice. Think of the onion as a globe, the root end is the south pole and the stem end is the north pole. Now slice it along the equator. This kind of cuts is rarely used in cooked applications. Used in: dishes that specifically require a round shape or raw applications like sandwiches or salads.
- The last kind of cut is the pole to pole slice. If a recipe requires sliced onions, this is the kind of cut the recipe meant. Onion sliced this way break down more evenly while cooking. In turn, this produces a more even flavor and texture. Sliced thin and cooked long enough, onion slices will almost completely break down. Used in: braises, stews and soups.
3 Common Mistakes
There are 3 common mistakes in chopping onion, they are:
- Using a dull knife, solution: buy the best knife at your budget.
- Cutting horizontal cuts, solution: dont do it, there is no reason to do so unless you are making salad. It will make the onion cook unevenly.
- Getting off the root end first, solution: cut from the other side first. The root end is the one holding the onion together.
How to chop an onion: the right way
Now you know the cuts and the common mistakes in chopping an onion. So, how to chop an onion, then? Chop it from pole to pole, not across equator. First, trim the both ends of the onion and cut out a notch at the top. Next, start making thin slices by following the curve of the onion. Flip the onion onto this side and finish the rest, when you get to the top.
If you follow our how to chop an onion guide, your half moons slice will be mostly at the same length. What does it mean? It means when you cook or caramelize it, each piece will cook at the same rate. If the recipe requires you to chop it into dice, remember the key: chop them so they all have the same size. Because this way, they will cook evenly.
Thats how to chop an onion. It will feel awkward the first time you try it, but you will be used to it in time.