Chopping Onions and Garlic

Yes, I know.  Pretty basic.  Its amazing how often I come across people who can’t do this.  I’ve come across proper foodies who spend ages faffing around peeling garlic.  I see chefs on TV risking their silly hands by making unnecessary cuts.  I have a few clients who don’t cook very much at all and don’t feel confident in the kitchen, so I hope they read this.

Here’s what I was taught in grade 8 home ec.  We’re going to be pretty pic heavy this time.


Sharp knife, onion.


Cut off the top


Stand it flat on that cut you just made and it won’t slip away on you.


Cut it in half lengthways.


Peel it.


Slice lengthways starting from a centimetre above the root to the top, leave the root intact because you’re going to be hanging on to this bit shortly.  Hold the knife at an angle.  You’re going to be cutting the onion into “segments”.  Think of oranges and lemons.  My home ec teacher told us to avoid tears you cut along the lines of the onion.  I personally think you could have the whole thing in the pot before you get done with that, so you do whatever works best for you.


It will look like this at the end of the step.  Often I see on cooking TV shows this is when the chef will cut lengthways towards your fingers across the middle of the onion.  This is dumb.  Don’t do this.  It’s a waste of time and you’re cutting towards your fingers.  Do not ever cut towards your fingers.


Top view so you can see that the root is still attached.


Start dicing by cutting crossways and holding the onion together and stable with your fingers.  Keep your fingers away from the blade.  Keep dicing until you get close to the root.  Throw the root away/into your compost/into the bag in the freezer that holds all your vege scraps for when you make stock.


Ta da!  Diced onions in the rice cooker.


Now.  Garlic.  If anything, this is easier.


Start with an unpeeled garlic clove.  Chop off the root.


Lay the blade of your knife horizontally across the top of the garlic clove and give it a good hard smack with your hand.


Like that.  Pick off the skin.  It will quite often come away in one piece.




Start dicing.

Feel better about cooking now?  What other knife skills do you want to know about?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s