Thursday, August 27, 2009

There's no crying in cookering!

Oh man you look terrible. What did you get in a knife fight or something? Seriously? Who gets in knife fights? Okay who did you get in a knife fight with? A vegetable!? I am not listening anymore, it is time for you to get educated in the craft of the kitchen knife cuz damn. Having good knife skills is one of the greatest attributes you can have in a kitchen or while cooking. If you have honed (!) your skills you will take less time in preparation and more importantly your items will cook evenly and predictably. Oh and your hands will not look like you hand feed bears little smokies.

There are as many ways to cut an onion as there are stars in the sky (10). This post is going to focus on two of the handiest to have available in your tool box as it were. The first is good for when you want the onion in relatively big even slices. So things like stir frys and caramelized onions. The second is just a dice which is good for things that either will only be sweated or not cooked at all. So sauce and salsas.

Remember, a sharp knife is your friend especially in the case of onions. A dull knife will jack up your situation. The first thing to do in either situation is to get the onion ready. In this case you should cut the top and the bottom off the onion maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 an inch from each end. Then cut the whole operation in half latitudely.

Then get in there with your fingers, well what you have left of them, and peel of the papery skin of the onion. Depending on the onion this might require removing the first layer. Just try to leave some of the onion on there.Next put the onion cut side down on your board. Then starting from whichever side you are more comfortable with, slice along the curved edge of the onion towards where the center of the onion touches the board. Then move a little higher and repeat all the while keeping your fingers clear and aiming for where the center of the onion meets the board.

Continue this way until you make it all the way around. The slices should look something like this.

So there you have slices. Look for the side by side comparison at the end. Now on to the dice. Start with the same halved deskinned onion. Put it cut side down and make a slice parallel to the board through the top or bottom about a third of the way towards the top from the bottom. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. SERIOUSLY. Cut until you are just shy of the other side. This will keep the onion held together and make your life much easier later. Then move up another third and make another slice and then do the last third.

Next slice along the curved side of the onion perpendicular to your previous cuts and the board. AGAIN, DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Leave the side you left connected earlier still connected. Once again this will make your life easier and make you look like a pimp/pimptress when the time comes.

Now make cuts the last direction perpendicular to the last cut leaving you with a beautiful dice. CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH NOW. When you get close to the still connected side flip that part over and cut it up separately. Notice the fingers curled under as to avoid getting cut. When you get more comfortable you can actually have the flat side of the knife rest against your knuckles while you cut.

There you have it. Both styles ready to roll. Hey, look whose not bleeding anymore! Now go and practice.

What was that? No. This is not some exercise that prepares you for fighting like in the karate kid. This shows you how to cut an onion. So that you can cut an onion.

Now use these to make something tasty and make it happen in your tum tum.


  1. These are all great methods. It is true that using a sharp knife is better because it doesn't bounce back and kill you like a dull knife will. Also, after your hands stink- rub them on stainless steel. They sell special bars of steel for this, or you can use the sink if you have a stainless steel one.

  2. I'm still scared of knives but if forced to cut something at least now I know how to correctly do it. Thanks!

  3. Onions seem to take great pride in being able thwart my every attempt to dice them. But now, with this knowledge I will be able to defeat them!!!!!