Joy Of Spanish Cooking

How to chop an onion

Hola everyone!

Brown and red onion

I love cooking with onions! I guess it is something from my culture (or not!). In Spain, we cook a lot with onions. Onion for el sofrito, onion for a nice sauce… so far you can see that I used onion for the Spanish omelette and for the croquettes. My grandma always tells me that the secret of any recipe is to cook the onion perfectly. Don’t rush in the kitchen. Let the onion get cooked on a low to medium heat for a while until it turns brown. So whatever you are cooking, it has a good chance to be super yummy!

As I said, I love onions, and I love them even more when they are cooked or caramelized … mmmm.    But like a lot of others, when I cut them, they make me cry.  Sometimes I’ll look like the world is ending, with mascara all over my face. I remember a few years ago when I was chopping some onions at  home when my mom and sister  arrived. Oh my! The poor girls didn’t see  that I was chopping onions. They thought I had failed an exam since I was in college. I was actually cooking something to celebrate that I was done with all the exams and I knew that I had passed all of them!

I tried a lot of tips not to cry while chopping onions. I tried a candle while I was chopping an onion and hey! it worked pretty good. I also tried to breathe from my mouth while I am chopping, and it worked pretty good too! What I haven’t tried is chewing gum… it might work. 🙂 If nothing works for you, you can always put a goggles on and voilà! You will not cry, that’s for sure… but you might look a little silly 🙂 What will also help is having a very sharp knife. The sharper the better. And the less you’ll cry…

And do you know the funny part about crying while chopping an onion? What makes you tear up is not the whole onion, it is just  the area around the root!! This will sound crazy, but read carefully because you will not believe it. What makes you cry is that the onion releases a gas, that upon coming into contact with the natural tears in your eyes, forms sulphuric acid. But the onions themselves don’t contain sulphuric acid. Read what Alton Brown says;

“When an onion is cut, the ruptured onion cells release enzymes which break down nearby sulfur compounds into oxides and acids. These re-form to make a gas. This gas moves into your eyes and then mixes with your tears to form sulphuric acid.”                 –from Alton Brown in a Good Eats Moment

I thought it would be interesting to show you how to chop an onion… I love this method so much because I don’t cry!!. I think the best way to show you how to chop an onion is by watching it. Hope you enjoy the video :):)






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