Monday, June 28, 2010

How to dice an onion video

I can always tell who is wearing contacts in the Knife Skills class -- the people who don't cry even though we are cutting 18 onions.  There are 9 of us (8 students plus an instructor) and we each get one onion to slice and one to dice.  If you do the math, that's a lot of tears.  I really wish I had some good solution to the crying problem.  Sharp knife helps a lot, so is good technique.  If you learn to do it correctly, you can eventually do it quickly.  But when there are 18 onions involved, it's tough unless you are wearing contacts, or swimming goggles, or have at some point in your life worked in a restaurant (a daily dose of 25Lb of onions builds immunity in just a few weeks).

Here is what always bothered me about this part of the class.  By the time it's students turn to dice the onions, some of them are so teary and disoriented that it's hard for them to see the board, let alone remember all the steps of this somewhat complicated technique.

But thanks to YouTube, Flip Camera, and Janet's help, I now have a video of how to dice an onion.  If you were too teary to remember all the steps from class, you can always watch this as a reminder.


Cyn said...

I'm really enjoying your videos. I wish I could take one of your classes, but I live only about a 20 hour drive away. Oh, well.

Laura T. said...

Very helpful. I'll certainly be sharing this with our users.

Irina said...

Thank you for the helpful video, Helen! One thing I can't figure out, though, is why the horizontal cuts are necessary. Are the results very different than simply cutting the onion in half and then dicing each half crosswise and lengthwise?

Helen said...

Hi Irina,

Dice means cubes. If you want pieces that are the same in 3 dimensions, you need a cut in each one of 3 dimensions. Try it for yourself sometimes and see the difference.


baby cribs said...

That video is great! I had fun watching it. I learn a lot of things. It is very helpful and useful for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Helen.
The Mother Nature was so kind, when she did 1/3 of work for us cutting onion bulb in one direction. Irina is absolutely right that you don’t need horizontal cut. If you crave for very even dices, make the first and the last cuts angled inside. Otherwise, nice video.

Helen said...

That's true -- if you fan your cuts by angling them into the center of the onion (not just the first and the last, but all of them), you can get even dice without horizontal cuts, but that kind of careful fanning is slower than just going straight down. It all depends on how even of a cut you want. I find that most home cooks are much more accepting of lack of uniformity than are professionals, so if you are happy with your cuts without the horizontal cut, that's fine.