How to Mince an Onion

Indian food uses a lot of onions.  Learning to mince an onion is a pretty key skill and something worth mastering – not only so you can control the size of the onion pieces more effectively than a blender, but it also helps improve knife skills overall.  Here’s how I do it.

Start by cutting the top off your onion with a sharp knife

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Then, slice down the middle

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Peel off the outer layer of skin and any soft layers of white. Keep the root intact

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Start by making horizontal slices from the head towards the root. Don’t go all the way through the onion.

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The more horizontal slices you make, the thinner the mince – 2 slices (to make 3 segments) is usually plenty.

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Next, make vertical slices from the root towards the head. Try to hold the onion together as best you can. Again, the thinner the slices, the finer the mince.

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Finally, slice down the onion (while holding the onion together). Once again, The finer the slices, the thinner the mince.

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Point your fingers straight down and slide the blade down your knuckles – this ensures the onion stays together and you don’t lose a finger.

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Some people ask me how you can avoid crying whilst chopping onions – my answer: You Don’t! You suck it up, like a man – that onion died for your gastronomic pleasure, so the least you can do is shed a tear or two. In seriousness, much of the juice is in the root, so avoid cutting that bit – you can use goggles (if you’re that worried) or cook in a well ventilated room, which will help disperse the onion juice. Other tips include chewing a peppermint (not sure about this one) or having a pot of steaming water in the room that can help absorb the juices.  Cooling the onions is also said to help, so stick them in the fridge for a bit before cutting them. Unfortunately, you don’t get used to it – I was my mum’s onion cutter when I was a kid and I still cry.

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Finally, make any chops you want to make the mince finer.

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Ta da, minced onion. Practice, practice, practice – the better your knife skills, the finer your onion will get. Start by doing 1 horizontal cut, 3 vertical cuts and then slicing the onion. Then add more slices into the mix to get finer and finer.

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