Hot Polka Dot
24May/11

How To Tuesday: Chopped.

I gave myself a much needed manicure and set about showing you the easiest, fastest and most efficient way to chop an onion.

First let's talk about knives. I would suggest using a chef's knife or santoku. It's very important to use a knife that you're comfortable with. Not too big, not too small, not too heavy and not too light. Consider yourself the Goldilocks of knives. It's dangerous to use a knife that isn't comfortable in your hand because you can easily cut yourself. I enjoy my set of KitchenAid knives because they are light and solid with an ergonomic handle that fits perfectly in my small hands. Lee prefers his set of Henckels knives because of their heft and large wooden handles that are perfect for his large hands.






































Now, there's a sweet spot at the base of the handle that's meant to grip with your thumb and first finger. This is the natural point of balance between the blade and the handle that makes it easy to rock the knife back and forth.

Lop off the end of the onion then turn it on it's end and slice straight through the root leaving you with two equal halves. Peal the skin off the one half and set aside other other.






































Make three to four horizontal slices toward the root but not through it. Place it face down and make a few vertical cuts perpendicular to the horizontal ones, making sure to leave the root intact once again.






































Pivot the cutting board and, with your fingers curled in for protection from the sharp blade, chop the onion across the vertical cuts. Discard the chunk of root and marvel at your perfectly chopped bits of onion.








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  1. I think I’m between the last people that still use a small knife to chop vegetables.
    Somehow I’m afraid of the big knife :(
    Thanks for the tutorial Lindsey, very useful.
    Lovely manicure ;)

    • Thank you Roxana! I’m pretty proud of my shiny nails.

      I used to cut everything with a paring knife, but I was so surprisingly comfortable to switch to my lovely santoku. It’s soooooo much faster and once you get the hang of it you just can’t go back to tiny knives.

  2. Nice tutorial! I’m excited to see what else you come with for this series. It’s a great idea and so useful!

  3. Great post….it’s great to see a tutorial! I don’t think there are enough of them!

  4. Very nice tutorial. I love chef’s knives, too, and I just cannot work with a small knife… Your how-to posts are brilliant! :)

  5. I have always wondered/wanted to learn how to properly cut an onion, so thank you for posting this! One question: do you have any tips on how to keep from tearing up when cutting an onion?

    • I do actually! If you scroll down a bit on the home page you’ll find a Tuesday tip about how to avoid the tears when chopping an onion. The only surefire way to have a tear-free experience is to get yourself some goggles. :)

  6. It there a reason for chopping the top off the onion first. I always chop the root side off because I learnt that the top should be left on to hold on to while doing the chopping.


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