If you had to chop dozens and dozens of onions every day, you wouldn’t want to waste any time, would you? You’d need to do it efficiently. And, if you are a restaurant cook, you need to not only be quick and efficient, but you need to keep your dices as uniform as possible.
Whether you are planning to cook in a restaurant or other food service business, or you just want to have better knife skills as a home cook, you can learn to cut up onions like a pro. You’re going to find onions in more recipes than any other vegetable. Here, you’ll learn how to cut one into a uniform dice using as few knife strokes as possible.
The first thing you’ll need is a very sharp chef’s knife. Forget about chopping onions quickly and uniformly if you have a dull knife. Learn more about kitchen knives, including the chef’s knife, here.
Before you begin dicing an onion, you need to be able to identify the root end and the blossom end. The root end, of course, is the part that grows down into the soil. The blossom end is the part the stem of the onion grows out. In fact, if you leave an onion long enough, it may grow a green stem out of its blossom end. The picture below will help identify the two parts. Then, you can follow along in the video using the steps listed here.
Now, follow along with the video below. You can read the steps to dicing an onion underneath the vid.
1. Cut the onion in half from the blossom end to the root end, leaving part of the root intact on both halves of the onion. This will give you a flat surface to work with.
2. Cut off the blossom end.
3. Remove the skin from the onion, starting from the cut edge. It may help to use your knife edge to get up under the skin.
4. Working with one onion half at a time, make two to three (or even four) horizontal cuts through the onion, from the edge you cut the blossom off, toward the root, being careful to leave the root intact and not cut all the way through.
5. Make two to three vertical cuts through the onion half, in the same manner you used above. You are making a sort of checker-board pattern of cuts through the onion. The more cuts you make, the smaller the resulting dice. The root stays intact and this holds all the layers and cuts together.
6. Lay the onion half flat side down on the edge of your cutting board, and slice the onion into uniform slices. As you do so, since you’ve already made vertical and horizontal slices through the onion, the slices will fall apart into fairly uniform pieces.