Introduction: How to Dispatch a Tear Jerking Root Vegetable Into a Legion of Tinsy Pieces in Less Time Than It Takes a Hamster to Go to Sleep (or How to Dice an Onion in Less Than a Minute)
Ok, so you have some friends around for dinner and your taste in music isn't that great, your furniture is dated and you're offering Vol au Vents and pineapple pieces with cheddar cheese on skewers as a starter. But yet you still want to impress your compadres? How do you do this you ask. Get into the kitchen and impress the heck outta them with your newly learned knife skills.
Step 1: Needed Items
Consituents you will require;
An onion - or several, depends on the recipe, it's yours not mine, use your common sense.
A chopping board - if you have a fancy looking glass chopping board, lift it up, take it over to the bin and close your eyes as you cast it free from it's disecting duties and banish it to whence it came. No really.... get rid of it. Worst thing for a good knife.
A good knife - hopefully not too punished on the fancy looking glass chopping board, a sharp knife is a safe knife, ask Monica Sellars.
A Blue Cloth - Not sure what you call them elsewhere but we call them Chux down here in Oz, maybe Jay cloth? or even a dish rag?
Anyhoo, a damp cloth under your non-glass chopping board will stop everything from slipping around and fingers being lost like the 6 hours of my memory from our last staff party.
Step 2: Topping, Splitting and Peeling
Although it sounds like a film I saw once, believe me, this is a crucial step in the onion dicing production line.
Cut the top off the onion. You can keep it, I like to use them as eye refreshers - beats cucumber slices.
Place onion onto with cut side down and slice in half.
Once cut, peel the brown skin off, making sure you leave the root in place.
Maybe you can use the skin to die a hard boiled egg or, as I like to do, throw at people's head during the night so they think a bat's wing has fallen off mid flight.
Imagine if a bat's wing did fall off! I reckon it would be like a mouse in mid air, on an invisible spiral rollercoster, falling to it's certain doom....
Poor bat / mouse...
Step 3: The Turn and Grip...
I once heard this phrase in Boy Scouts, I think I was 13 and it came from the tent next to me on the third day into a four day hike. Can't for the life of me work out why it was said but it is applicable now.
Lay your onion, cut side down on the chopping board and give it a turn so that the root is away from you - Roots have been getting away from me all my life... (Just thought, that may only be funny in Australia)
Now, the secret is all in the fingering - I'm not even going to stoop to that level before you think about it.
With your finger tips tucked under your knuckles, hold the onion firmly with your thumb at the opposite side. In this position the knife will be in contact with the bits of your fingers between the knuckles, not your knuckles and not your fingertips. See the first photo
Start to cut into the onion, without cutting into the root, this will be your hero when it comes to holding the onion together.
Slowly, work your way along the onion, cutting every few millimetres or as close as you can.
Step 4: The Under Finger Technique...
Ok, so don't type that into google, but it is very important in the next step of the onion.
Turn the onion around so the root is on the left (for right handers that is) and turn your knife so it is parallel with the chopping board.
With a firm but gentle grip from above the onion - see photo - carefully cut towards the root with your knife - again don't go all the way through with the root, pull out before it is too late.
This makes cuts to the sides of the onion, ensuring a neat, uniform job.
I like uniforms...
Step 5: The Last Cuts
Keeping the root to your left, we will now be working our way back along the onion, cutting down with our fingertips tucked under our knuckles again.
Take your time and try to get the cuts all the same size.
When you get to the root you can flip it over and continue cutting - see photo.
Step 6: Diced Onion
And there you have it, a wonderfully diced onion.
You can do whatever you want with the root in your hands.
Personally, If ever I get a root in my hands I count my blessing and leave the pub early.
I hope you enjoyed my very first instructable - please feel free to leave any nasty comments about my spelling or poor unprofessional photographs. I'd even appreciate some good feedback too.
Thanks heaps and happy chopping,