Dicing onions..

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by rdm magic, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. rdm magic

    rdm magic

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    When dicing onions, I've always been told to slice down, then across, then across (firstly down, '|', then across '-', then across the other way to get your dice). I've never been able to see the reason for the second step. It just seems dangerous to do slice towards myself like that, the onion is already cross cut by mother nature. 
    Can someone explain to me if it is needed, and why please?
     
  2. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    Let's say you're dicing half an onion. You've already knocked the top off and split it in half but left the root end on right? Good. So what you have now is a half a circle. If you were just going to slice it vertically then try to dice it you will end up with long strands on the sides and a nice dice only in the middle. If you slice it vertically and horizontally you will end up with an ok dice throughout. What you need to do is slice it vertically and horizontally aka on an angle. Instead of 'l' and '-' you need to slice it in a way that makes sense for a circular object. _\l/_ like that. if you do it evenly spaced and slice to the center you'll get a perfect dice everytime.  
     
  3. chef bilby

    chef bilby

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    Both of the cuts in the procedure give and even dice . 

    Using a sharp knife will lessen the chance on cutting yourself when using cross slice - less pressure required and if you do cut your self it will be a cleaner cut and you'll heal up quicker .

    As we say in Australia - Harden up princess,  do it as your trainer shows you.
     
  4. tjsbeer

    tjsbeer

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    Without the cross cut you don't have a dice. You wind up with a very sloppy chop instead.

    When I interview new cooks or chefs, one of tests I give is to dice an onion. If they don't do the cross cut they don't get the job. It's just sloppy and lazy work.
     
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  5. adamburgerdavis

    adamburgerdavis

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    That's unfair to say if you haven't seen someone do it perfectly on an angle as I described. you cant cut a round object into a perfect dice with a cross cut. You can get a nice dice that way but it could be better. 
     
  6. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    I cut through the stem, score and peel, flat side down, vertical cuts to the stem, following the contour of the onion surface,

    then 3 horizontal cuts (or 4 depending on onion and dice size). If done correctly, ending with the vertical crosscuts

    will harvest perfectly uniform die. Finish to the stem, then dump or dice that part too depending on your pickiness.

    Takes practice though, especially up to speed with smaller onions. (which I slice up whole)

    BTW leaving the stem on till complete makes it cry less, as does using a sharp knife. (less cells smashed while slicing)
     
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  7. tjsbeer

    tjsbeer

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    And that's the way to do it folks
     
  8. michaelga

    michaelga

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    I've done both - the perpendicular cuts are faster, the radial cut gives a better dice (especially if you pull out the middles first).

    It really depends on what the chef needs/

    Iv'e even seen people slice into half rings and then dice to exact size based on the ring.. way to OCD for even me.
     
  9. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Well that's oooookay...if you only need like 1 onion, but if you need 6 or 10...way too time consuming.

    And btw, there's a trick to that horizontal cut so you don't cut yourself, here it is....
    I pull the onion close to the edge of the table, use chef knife to make the cut....
    So the handle and my hand are off the tables edge. This way you get a nice flat cut
    -close to the bottom, and safely.
     
  10. michaelga

    michaelga

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    yes it is time consuming doing the ring-thing....

    but when the chef specifically states he 'needs' 1cm x 1cm diced onion layers that is what you give the chef.  

    No other way to do it that I have seen.

    Great tip by the way.

    Also don't forget that you don't need a horizontal slice near the top... that part is flat already and is easily diced with the vertical cuts.
     
  11. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Thats true Michael, when you need very uniform dicing, that method is

    the only way you can truly SEE what youre doing.

    And if Chef is demanding it.....ya-gots-ta-do-what-ya-gots-ta-do.

    Hey, next we should cover how to uniformly cut up shallots....

    another challenge that can take some practice.
     
  12. just jim

    just jim

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    I had an owner watch me and say "I thought you weren't supposed to cut towards yourself?"

    I said " No, YOU aren't supposed to cut towards yourself. I know hat I'm doing"
     
  13. duckfat

    duckfat

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

    Just toss the shallots in the Robot Coupe! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012